Six reasons not to ditch the egg yolk

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Do you ditch the egg yolk? Well, it turns out that this may be counterproductive when trying to follow a healthy diet.

Let’s crack open six reasons why it’s time to put egg yolks back on your menu to help maximise the health benefits of eggs.

1. A lot of nutrients in the yolk

Many people eat eggs for their protein, but did you know that, per 100g, egg yolks contain more protein than the whites.

If you avoid eating the egg yolk, you are missing out on vitamin D and iron, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. 

2. It’s a myth that egg yolks raise cholesterol

Yes, it is true that eggs yolks contain dietary cholesterol. However, scientists are now starting to understand that the body has mechanisms to deal with the cholesterol in egg yolks.

In 2018, researchers found that the cholesterol in whole egg is not well absorbed by the body, helping us to understand why dietary cholesterol has little to no effect on blood cholesterol.

3. Egg yolk for healthy eyes

Eggs are rich in carotenoids, the nutrients that give eggs yolks their golden colour. The two main carotenoids in egg yolk are lutein and zeaxanthin, found in high amounts in our retinas.

For this reason, these nutrients are linked to better sight and a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (an age-related eye disease).

4. Eating the whole egg is better for muscle building

Published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a new study has given whole eggs the thumbs up. They proved that eating whole eggs helps weight trainers to build muscle, reduce body fat and increase muscle strength.

Canadian researchers report similar benefits. They found that consuming whole eggs immediately after resistance training resulted in better muscle building than eating only the whites. 

The muscle-building potential of eggs is linked to the protein as one large egg contains seven grams of protein. When combined with resistance training, protein provides the building blocks for muscle building. 

5. The choline in egg yolk is good for the brain

Because it forms part of our cell membranes, our bodies cannot function without choline, an essential vitamin-like nutrient.

Choline is also a building block for acetylcholine, an important brain chemical, meaning that this nutrient is important for memory, mood, muscle control and other brain and nervous system functions.

Scientists, therefore, think that choline may improve mental health and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

While our livers can produce some choline, it is too little to meet our daily needs. Eggs contain an impressive 147mg per (large) egg. This equals 27% and 35% of an adult man and woman’s daily needs, respectively. Eating just the egg white, therefore, means you'll be missing out on choline.

6. Vitamin D in egg yolk

A deficiency in vitamin D may increase our risk of autoimmune diseases, heart disease and some cancers. New research indicates that vitamin D may reduce the risk of Covid-19 and influenza. 

One large egg contains almost a third of our daily vitamin D requirement. Interestingly, most of the vitamin D of an egg is in the yolk – even more reason we should eat the whole egg. 

READ | Are eggs really good for curbing hunger? 

READ | Study confirms that one egg per day is heart-healthy after all

READ | Should you really be eating raw eggs?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.