THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON DR. AXE.
From meringues to souffles, omelets and facial masks, egg whites jam a lot of nutrition in such a small package and may be the perfect food for skin care. They’re quite popular in the ketogenic diet as part of a combination with a healthy fat, such as avocado, and they can make a great facial mask for a healthy collagen boost. That’s not all when it comes to egg white nutrition.
But do you know what egg whites actually are? Yes, they’re the clear liquid of the inside of the egg. That liquid is also called albumen or the glair/glaire. The most common egg we experience is the chicken egg, and the egg white is formed around both fertilized and unfertilized egg yolks and has an important job of protecting the yolk. Of equal importance is the job of providing proper nutrition for the growth of the embryo once fertilized.
Much like the human body, egg yolks contain mostly water with about 10 percent being proteins, specifically albumins, mucoproteins and globulins. While the egg yolk is high in healthy fats, the egg white is practically free of fat, and much like the health benefits of eggs, egg white nutrition can do a lot for your health.
Are Egg Whites Healthy? Egg White Nutrition Benefits
It’s not uncommon for someone to order an egg white omelet. Historically, egg yolks have gotten a bad rap for causing problems with cholesterol. Because of this concern, the American Heart Association suggests keeping your egg cholesterol consumption to no more than 300 milligrams per day. To put that in perspective, a large egg contains about 213 milligrams. What happens if you just eat the egg white?
Egg whites are very low in calories, have pretty much zero cholesterol, are high in protein and provide amino acids that our bodies cannot produce, making them a great choice for most anyone. At a glance, one large egg white has about 16 calories, 3.6 grams of protein, zero fat and a good bit of selenium. (1)
So we have identified that egg whites are awesome, but what makes them so good? Not only can they taste delicious if properly prepared, but egg white nutrition is loaded with goodness. Let’s dive in and learn why.
1. Reduces Risk of Arteriosclerotic Diseases
If cholesterol is something your doctor has asked you to keep in check, then the egg white is for you. It contains no cholesterol but is still loaded with benefits. To put that in perspective, a whole eggs contains the full amount of cholesterol that’s recommended for one day. So, as delicious as it may sound, having that three-egg omelet may not be the best choice. If you’re battling health conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, it’s recommended that you keep your daily cholesterol consumption at 200 milligrams or less — one egg yolk contains 213.
A study including 88 adult men consumed egg whites for a period of eight weeks. By collecting blood samples, it was determined that there was a significant decrease in cholesterol levels; therefore, consuming egg whites as opposed to whole eggs may be a great way to decrease the risks of arteriosclerotic diseases. (2)
2. Aids Healthy Pregnancy
One egg white provides close to four grams of protein. Like the nutrition of the egg itself and how it nourishes a baby chick, human embryos also need the best nutrition in order to thrive during development and well after.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews shared its evaluation of a study that was conducted in order to understand the importance of proper nutrition for pregnant women. The study found that of those women who consumed more protein while pregnant, there were fewer babies born prematurely and with low birthweight and the women had more energy. Ultimately, a balanced diet, including egg white protein, may help provide this result. (3)
3. Promotes Satiety
Studies were conducted to determine if having protein at breakfast time would help reduce obesity by reducing hunger and snacking. The goal of this particular study was to evaluate the effects of skipping breakfast — something common among adolescent girls. The study revealed that by having a high-protein breakfast, the teens felt far more satiated, resulting in less snacking and far better diet choices. (4)