Favoured alike by young, old and bodybuilders eggs are an inexpensive alternative to meat, a versatile food and a high quality source of protein. Low in calories they are a complete meal by itself and can raise the nutritional quotient of recipes several notches higher. Yet, eating eggs come with a caveat. The perfect makeup of amino-acids in egg whites and the body’s ability to utilize them makes egg whites a must-have source of protein for gym newbies and pros, whereas egg yolks have to withstand the negative reputation of high cholesterol content.
NUTRITION FACTS FOR EGGS
An average large, whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6g protein, 5g of fat, about 200mg of cholesterol and no carbs.
As compared to whole eggs, egg whites contain more than half (four of the six grams) of an egg’s protein in mere 17 calories, fulfilling 5 percent of your daily protein needs. Egg whites function as a shock absorber. It keeps the albumen in place and provides nutrients to the growing embryo. Around 40 proteins constitute egg white. The high-quality proteins found in egg whites keeps people full for a longer duration.
Egg white proteins are rich in branched-chain-amino-acids (BCAAs) and arginine and sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids help maintain the structure of many proteins in the body and are critical for optimum joint health and certain hormones.
According to the National Institute of Health, egg whites are a good source of riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2. This vitamin improves metabolism and enhances energy production. Egg whites also contain micronutrient selenium. It is required for the proper activity of a group of enzymes, responsible for detoxifying the body, called glutathione peroxidases. Additionally, each egg white contains 54mg of potassium and 55mg sodium. A moderate amount of sodium is essential for body functioning.
Though it has become more of a norm to avoid egg yolks, it makes sense to reevaluate facts, rather than follow the trend. Other than the deviled cholesterol, egg yolk is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin required for healthy eyes. They also contain more than 90 percent of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol—and so may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels—eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.
Moreover, several research studies go on to prove that having a whole egg in breakfast provides you high-quality protein, keeps you full for longer and helps you lose weight in the long run. In one study, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast made people feel fuller so that they ended up eating fewer calories for the next 36 hours. Another study showed that a breakfast of eggs caused 65 percent greater weight loss than a breakfast of bagels, even though both meals contained the same number of calories.
The saturated and monounsaturated fat, also in egg yolks, are important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. Anyone who is focused towards building muscles knows that testosterone, the quintessential male hormone is critical for building muscle mass. Moreover, cholesterol found in the egg yolks also helps maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes, which helps them function properly and avoid breakdown. Before you shun the goodness of yolk due to cholesterol, you need to keep in mind that a solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol.
Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption—up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals and can be part of a healthy diet. (Make sure to store eggs in the fridge and cook them until the whites and yolks are firm, to prevent food-borne illness.
However, if you are into serious fitness and have more than normal protein needs, you can safely have two whole eggs to amp your performance. To be on a safe side you can add egg whites to the whole eggs to multiply the nutritional quotient.