In Defense of Egg Yolks

Would you like to make That Nice Boy I Married very sad? Then you're a horrible, evil person, and I hate you. No, wait, sorry. That's just a knee-jerk reaction to the very notion, because I adore him, and seeing him sad breaks my heart. I meant to say, "throw away an egg yolk." To make him really, really sad, throw away all your egg yolks.

If there is one perfect food, eggs are it, and the yolk is a major part of that wonderfulness. Let's take a look at the nutritional value of eggs, shall we?

One egg -- just your standard, grocery store chicken egg, not some super-great pasture-raised eggs like the ones from our very own back yard -- has the following:

66 calories
4 grams fat -- 1 gram saturated, 1 gram unsaturated, 2 grams monounsaturated
187 mgs cholesterol
.39 gram carbohydrate
6 grams protein
2% of your sodium
2% of your potassium
2% of your calcium
1% of your iron (in the most available form)
3% of your zinc
8% of your vitamin A (again, in the most available form)
3% of your B6
7% of your B12
1% of your thiamin
13% of your riboflavin
5% of your folacin
6% of your vitamin E
6% of your vitamin D (uncommon in foods)
Just a teeny bit of vitamin K
166 mgs of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin

That's a broad array of nutrients, no?

But what about that cholesterol? What about that fat? Maybe we'd better have an egg white omelet instead, huh? In that white you'll get:

17 calories
no fat
no cholesterol
2% of your sodium
1% of your potassium (notice the sudden imbalance between sodium and potassium)
A trace of carbohydrate
4 grams of protein
a trace of iron
0 zinc
0 vitamin A
0 vitamin C
0 B6
1% of your B12
0 thiamin
9% of your riboflavin
0 folacin
0 niacin
0 lutein and zeaxanthin

In other words, throw away the egg yolk and you throw away the vitamins.

You'll also throw away the choline, an essential nutrient usually grouped with the B vitamins. Choline is an essential nutrient that forms a vital part of your cell membranes, not to mention being part of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the main chemical means of sending messages between nerves and muscles. In the brain, acetylcholine is necessary for focus, and lack of acetylcholine is associated with Alzheimer's disease. Choline is a vital part of major compounds of brain tissue as well.

Choline also reduces inflammatory responses in the body. Since inflammation is suspected to be the main cause of heart disease, this means egg yolks are actually good for your heart. Choline is also good for your liver, reducing the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The choline in egg yolks is in the form of a substance called lecithin (LESS-i-thin). Lecithin has the interesting property of binding with water at one end of the molecule, and with fats at the other end. This makes it an emulsifier, and this is why egg yolk can be used to bind together vinegar and oil into mayonnaise. Ironically, lecithin has the property of lowering blood cholesterol.

The kicker is that dietary cholesterol has very little effect on blood cholesterol levels. (We won't even go into the question here of whether high total cholesterol is a cause of heart disease, though I will state that I doubt it.) Cholesterol is so important, your liver will make it if you don't eat it. Eat less, your liver will make more. Eat more, your liver will make less. So throwing away your egg yolks won't even lower your cholesterol.

How about Egg Beaters? Will they give you the nutrition of egg yolks without the fat and cholesterol? Egg Beaters are made with egg whites, some xanthan and guar, some onion powder and other flavorings. They have vitamins added to them, but they lack the fat needed for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins. They also lack the lutein and zeaxanthin of the real thing, and also are missing the very valuable lecithin, with its choline.

In short, the yolk is the most valuable part of the egg by far. I simply will not throw them away. When I make a recipe that calls only for egg white -- a meringue, for instance -- I put a small pan of water on the stove and bring it to a simmer before I start separating my eggs. I drop the yolks, one by one, into the hot water, and let them cook till set. I then mash them with mayonnaise, mustard, some minced scallion, and other seasonings, into something very like deviled egg filling. This makes a wonderful spread on toasted, buttered low carb bread.

If this sounds like too much trouble, you could just scramble an extra yolk or two into your next breakfast. Or you could make custard; extra yolks do great things for the texture.

Just don't, for the love of all that is nutritious, throw your yolks away. You wouldn't want to make That Nice Boy I Married cry, would you?

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speaking of eggs

I have been Low Carbing for a very long time & have eaten my share of eggs, love 'em! My problem is now I have developed some sort of stomach "issue" after consuming an egg! I get a stomach ache soon after consuming it. Does anyone know what would cause this after so many years? I am devastated !!! Any help would be appreciated.

The yolk is definitely the best part

Your egg yolk salad sounds great! I love to put extra yolks in my omelets or scrambles. I like extra yolks in almost any egg dish or drink. I like to put a yolk into some cream and add a dash of vanilla syrup for a quick nog.

dha and eggs

Please don't forget to mention the dha eggs contain! I am pretty sure they do have dha- necessary for eye and brain developement.
I feed eggs as frequently as I can to my child . He calls them butter eggs and he prefers the ones with the darker yolks from the Amish who live up the road. I know the chickens are free range I see them running around and the eggs are big brown and yummy.

My problem is almost the

My problem is almost the exact opposite. I make lots of luscious Hollandaise Sauce, the original kind, with butter and egg yolks and lemon, to go on broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower....whatever sounds good at the time. Which leaves me with a bunch of egg whites left over. Bummer. I pay too much for my eggs (pastured) to throw any part of them away (BTW, my brief time raising chickens ended with a stern rebuke from the police and a warning to have the chickens gone "before the sun goes down today." So much for living in town.) So even though I prefer a "real" omelet...sometimes I have an egg white omelet just because the whites are what I have.

But that brings forth a great idea.....egg white omelet with various goodies inside (mushrooms, broccoli, bits of chicken?), and Hollandaise Sauce on top! Now why didn't I think of that before?

Suggestion for using leftover egg whites

May I suggest that you save the egg whites and add them to your next batch of scrambled eggs or next omelet. I am not sure how long egg whites keep or if you can freeze them. If they can be frozen, that would make them even easier to save and use later.

Extra Whites

You could make sugar-free meringues...

That is an idea. I am not

That is an idea. I am not much of a meringue person, but I could try. I like my food to have more substance than mostly air. BTW I meant to mention earlier, TNBYM would have been really happy with the egg I got the other day. Hubby and I "fight" to get the eggs that are most likely to have double yolks, but this one - had a **triple** yolk!

I would never throw them away!

Here is the pastured egg nutritional comparison posted on the (buying club site for the Polyface farm - seen in Food Inc. and The Omnivore's Dilemma) website. These eggs have brilliant orange yokes and are the best eggs I have ever eaten!

"The below study from Mother Earth News compares Polyface Eggs with the USDA standard egg:
•Polyface Farm vitamin E: 7.37 mg
USDA vitamin E: 0.97 mg
•Vitamin A: 763 IU
USDA vitamin A: 487 IU
•Beta carotene: 76.2 mcg
USDA beta carotene: 10 mcg
•Folate: 10200 mcg
USDA folate: 47 mcg
•Omega-3s: 0.71 g
USDA omega-3s: 0.033g
•Cholesterol: 292 mg
USDA cholesterol: 423 mg
•Saturated Fat: 2.31 g
USDA saturated fat: 3.1 g"