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What Is the Nutritional Value of Egg Whites?

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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
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The nutritional value of egg whites lies largely in their high protein count. Other nutrients contained in egg whites include magnesium, potassium, sodium, and choline. Egg whites, unlike the egg yolk, are low in fat, calories, and cholesterol.

Eggs are rich in protein, and the majority of that protein is found in the egg white. With about 3.6 grams of protein, an egg white has about 7% of the recommended daily amount. Protein is used to build and repair tissues, required for strong and healthy hair and nails, and needed for bone health.

Sodium is another major component of the nutritional value of egg whites. The white of the egg contains 55 milligrams of sodium, significantly more than the egg yolk, which contains only about 8 milligrams. Too much sodium in the diet can cause high blood pressure and lead to a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. The recommended daily amount of sodium is 1,500 milligrams, and amounts greater than this may put one at risk.

Another mineral found in egg whites is potassium. Egg whites contain 54 milligrams of potassium, which is essential to human life and is involved in heart function, muscle contraction, and digestion. Adults should consume about 2,000 milligrams of potassium per day.

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Although only present in a small amount, magnesium is also part of the nutritional value of egg whites. It is essential for bone formation, nerve and muscle health, and many essential chemical reactions in the body. Egg whites contain 4 milligrams of magnesium. The daily intake of magnesium should not exceed 350 milligrams.

Choline is also included in the nutritional value of egg whites, usually in amounts of under 1 milligram. On the other hand, an egg yolk contains about 116 milligrams of choline, which is an essential nutrient that is involved in cell signaling, the structural integrity of cell membranes, and fat transport and metabolism. It is also required for the functioning of the brain and liver. The daily recommended amount of choline is 425 to 550 milligrams daily.

People on a strict diet tend to avoid eggs because they can be high in cholesterol and fat. Yet the majority of the fat and cholesterol in the egg are contained in the yolk. If one is trying to eat a healthier diet, replacing whole eggs with egg whites can help to cut down on fat and cholesterol, although cutting out the yolk will mean that some of the nutrients of the whole egg are lost.

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croydon
Post 3

@MrsPramm - Well, I do like egg white omelet. I think it holds flavors better and lets them through. I'd rather just use the egg whites for cooking with mushrooms, for example.

And people often separate eggs for other reasons. A lot of baking requires you to whip up the egg whites separately, for example, and if I recall correctly, you can use egg yolks for pastry.

I like to know the nutrition facts for all my food, even if it's going to be something like a pie.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@pastanaga - It depends on the diet. Sometimes they really want you to get your fats from somewhere else, like olive oil or maybe from chicken or something and they need to cut out the fat from other places to make up for it.

I'm not all that fond of strict diets in general though and I really don't like egg whites by themselves. They are extremely bland, where a whole egg is one of the finest ingredients in the world, particularly when it's fresh from the bird.

My grandmother used to keep hens and eating breakfast at her place is one of my happiest memories as a child. I don't think she would have been particularly happy for me to demand that she keep the yolks from my omelet.

pastanaga
Post 1

Honestly it always makes me a bit suspicious of a diet when it says that you need to cut out egg yolks and stick to the whites. Even when you eat the entire egg the whole thing is only about 75 calories. That's not even one 20th of all the calories an average person needs in a day.

And it's true that egg white has protein but that's about it, while the yolk has all kinds of nutrients and good fats.

Of all the sources for fat, you probably won't find one much better and nutritious than egg yolk and you need to eat some fat in order to survive (it's essential to brain function) so why not get that fat from egg yolk?

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