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Egg Whites vs Whole Eggs: Why Whole Eggs are the Healthier Choice

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

The egg whites vs. whole eggs debate has been raging for years. Much of the discourse has been driven by an outdated fear of dietary cholesterol found in egg yolks. Yet egg whites are still touted as a low-calorie, high-protein option. But in reality, choosing egg whites deprives you of the remarkable nutritional benefits only found in whole eggs. 

Whole eggs provide a complete package of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and high-quality protein, making them a superior choice for overall health. 

In this article, we will explore the reasons why whole eggs are a more nutritious and beneficial option compared to egg whites alone.

Table of Contents

Cholesterol in Whole Eggs vs Egg White?

The debate over egg whites vs whole eggs began in the 1970s when nutritionists falsely feared that the cholesterol in egg yolks would raise blood cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.[1]

The yolk of two eggs contains about 185mg of cholesterol, whereas egg whites contain none.

However, recent scientific findings indicate that dietary cholesterol does impact blood cholesterol levels for most people as significantly as once thought. The effect of eggs on cholesterol is mainly seen in individuals with specific genetic conditions that cause increased cholesterol absorption in the intestines. [2]

A comprehensive meta-analysis conducted in 2020 concluded that consuming one whole egg per day is not linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the study suggested that egg consumption might even reduce heart disease risk in Asian populations.3

Studies comparing breakfasts that include eggs with those that do not have observed a modest increase in cholesterol levels in the groups consuming eggs. Despite this rise in cholesterol, the ratio of LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol — an important indicator of heart disease risk — did not show any significant changes. This suggests that while cholesterol levels might increase, the overall risk profile for heart disease remains unaffected.19 20

These findings are consistent with various studies showing that healthy individuals can consume 1-2 eggs daily without adverse effects on cholesterol levels or heart disease risk. [3] [4] [5] [6]

In populations with metabolic disorders, research indicates that consuming whole eggs can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels while having little to no impact on LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.[7] [8] 

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Health Benefits of Whole Eggs vs Egg Whites

Let’s explore the science behind the health benefits promoted by whole eggs.

Eye Health 

Whole eggs are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds play a critical role in eye health.2

A study in the Journal of Nutrition highlights that these compounds can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, two leading causes of vision impairment and blindness.5

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Brain Health 

Choline, found in the yolk of whole eggs, is essential for brain health. 

The choline in whole eggs has been found to 

  • promote the production of dopamine and serotonin.[18] 
  • improve memory and cognitive function.[19] 
  • support fetal brain development when consumed during pregnancy. [20]

Muscle Building and Weight Management 

Research has found that consuming whole eggs is superior to egg whites in promoting muscle protein synthesis and muscle building.5

Additionally, whole eggs contribute to greater satiety, which can aid in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake.4

Thyroid Health and Immune Function 

Whole eggs are a good source of selenium, providing 50% of your RDV in just 2 whole eggs. 

The selenium in whole eggs supports numerous bodily functions, including [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]:

  • thyroid health
  • immune function
  • provides antioxidant protection
  • supports lung health. 

Egg White vs Whole Egg Nutrition

Whole eggs provide all the nutrients that an entire animal needs to form. The majority of these highly beneficial nutrients are stored in the yolk. 

NutrientWhole Eggs (Per 50 grams)%RDVEgg Whites (Per 50 grams)%RDV
Saturated Fat1.9g0g
Vitamin A87.5mcg10%00%
Thiamin (B1)0.04mg3%00%
Riboflavin (B2)0.13mg10%0.21mg16%
Vitamin B5 (PA)0.75mg15%0.09mg2%
Vitamin B60.08mg4%00%
Folate (B9)37.5mcg9%1.9mcg0%
Vitamin B120.475mcg20%0.045mg2%
Lutein & Zeaxanthin265mcg0
Vitamin E0.6mg4%0
Vitamin D1.35mcg (Conventional) / 37.5mcg (Enriched feed)6.75%-187.5%00%
Iron, Fe0.68mg4%0.045mg0%
Phosphorus, P97.5mg8%7.5mg0%
Zinc, Zn0.57mg5%0.015mg0%
Copper, Cu0.0225mg2%0.015mg1%
Selenium, Se14mcg25%9.7mcg18%
Potassium, K27.5mg0.5%79mg2%


Whole eggs are a nutrient-dense food that offers a wide range of health benefits. From supporting eye health to enhancing brain function and aiding in muscle building, whole eggs are a valuable addition to any diet. By understanding the scientific evidence, we can appreciate the comprehensive nutritional profile of whole eggs and their role in promoting overall health.

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