Eating Egg Yolks is Not Bad. But How Many is Too Many?

Give egg yolks a second chance. You won't regret it.

eating egg yolks is not bad

Have you ever wondered if eating egg yolks are bad for you? You’re not alone.

Eggs are a versatile and cheap protein source that you can consume in different ways. 

Eggs are a staple breakfast item in any country around the world.

And whether you’re making cakes, baked goods or salad, eggs are a great addition.

Some people love whole eggs. Some prefer eating only the egg white while some refuse to eat the yolk. 

Egg yolks can be undesirable to some. Others aren’t so sure about its nutritional properties.

What is the difference between the egg yolk and the egg white?

A whole egg has two main components: the egg white and the egg yolk. These are two components that are inside the shell. 

The yolk is smaller than the egg white.

The egg white mostly contains protein. And the yellow part of the egg, the egg yolk, contains various nutrients.

The egg yolk is a primary food source for the developing embryo while the egg white serves as a protective layer for the yolk.

What kind of nutrients do egg yolks have?

Eggs as a whole is an excellent source of high biological value protein. 

It also contains many vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A, E, and D
  • Folate
  • Selenium

It also includes nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which are healthy for the eyes

And they also contain choline, which is helpful for the brain and nervous system.

recent review reported that egg yolks have higher nutritional value than the egg white.

This is because the yolks contain more than half of the egg’s proteins. 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a raw yolk of a large egg contains:

  • 55 calories
  • 2.70 grams of protein
  • 4.51 grams of fat
  • 184 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
  • 0.61 g of carbohydrate
  • 0.10 g of sugar, and
  • 0 g of dietary fiber

In comparison, the egg yolk has more of the vitamins’ thiamin, B6, B12, and pantothenic acid.

But that’s not all.

Yolks are also richer that egg whites in minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate. 

Furthermore, the egg yolk shares more copper than the egg white. And the yolks are also a source of dietary cholesterol.

According to lab studies, some compounds in egg yolk can help:

So, if you’re after for the most nutritious part of the egg, get it from the egg yolk (also see: Should You Eat Brown Eggs or White Eggs?).

How many egg yolks should you eat a week?

Like what experts say: “An egg a day is ok!”. It is officially correct. 

Between 2 and 6 yolks per week is a common recommendation. 

However, scientific support for this claim is still limited. 

Does egg yolk have bad cholesterol?

The reason people stay away from egg yolks is that it was once considered as unhealthy in the past decades. 

Egg yolks have gained a bad reputation for some consumers because it is indeed high in cholesterol. 

But, there is a misunderstanding on this matter. 

Consuming egg yolks is not that bad at all. Here is why.

A large-sized egg has 185 mg of cholesterol. This covers 62 percent of a person’s recommended daily value. 

Let’s understand the idea of cholesterol first. 

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that our liver produces when we eat foods like eggs. 

It’s a structural molecule that has a vital role in the production of steroid hormones. 

Examples of these hormones include estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. 

Your liver can supply enough cholesterol needed for your body. 

Physiologically, your liver controls the production when you eat foods that are high in cholesterol.

This helps to keep the body’s cholesterol at normal levels. 

Consuming excess cholesterol beyond what your body requires is not good. It increases your cholesterol levels.

One study looked into the effects of egg intake on lipids levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). 

Researchers found that 70 percent of participants did not experience a rise in their LDL cholesterol levels. 

The rest of the participants had a slight increase. 

The American Heart Association recommends that dietary cholesterol should be less than 300 mg per day. 

Hence, eating an egg a day is healthy. 

If you’re healthy, you can enjoy an egg every day with minimal risk of getting heart diseases. 

Moreover, the American Heart Association pointed out that the lutein in egg yolks also protects you from the early onset of heart disease symptoms.

Can you eat egg yolks raw?

Yes, you can eat raw egg yolks. 

A lot of people are even consuming it for years! Sometimes, people like their eggs raw or cooked rare to medium-well. 

Raw egg yolks are still nutritious as cooked eggs yolks. 

But, there are several health concerns that you should take note of when eating raw egg yolks.

One study compared the protein absorption from both cooked and raw eggs in 5 people. 

Results showed that 90 percent of the protein in cooked eggs was absorbed while only 50 percent in raw eggs. 

The research concluded that the protein in cooked eggs was 80 percent more digestible. 

The process of cooking may also reduce nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B5, phosphorus, and potassium.

The consumption of raw eggs may be risky for Salmonella food poisoning

The bacteria Salmonella is commonly found in poultry products, especially in eggs. 

Children, older people, and immunocompromised individuals are prone to this infection. 

To prevent this, take necessary safety precautions when you purchase, store, and cook eggs.

Takeaway

Eggs are highly nutritious since it contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

These nutrients help boost the immune system. They also prevent gastrointestinal distress and high blood pressure. 

There’s not much to worry about the cholesterol found in egg yolks which does not significantly increase the LDL levels in the long run.

If you’re healthy, eating whole eggs and egg yolks a day is not bad – it’s safe. 

You can eat raw egg yolks as long as it is prepared and stored under safe conditions. 

Practicing proper hygiene while making eggs is the key to prevent food poisoning.

(Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian)

Dorothy is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian and a candidate for a master's degree in Public Health (MPH) major in Public Health Nutrition. She has a passion for teaching to her university students about food, nutrition, and health. Dorothy is a coffee lover and she enjoys traveling, writing, cycling, running, cooking, baking, and cooking.