You were probably raised to believe in a seemingly unshakable law of nutrition: egg yolks lead to a spare tire, soaring cholesterol, and a nest of hellfire. We weren’t just told that egg yolks were unhealthy for us, but the health benefits of its partner in crime—the white—were actually talked up. “All the protein’s in the white,” they would say, so we figured the yolk was just its evil twin, right? Wrong.
We know better now. And if you’d like to know better, too, we’ve broken down the argument for including egg yolks in your diet below. And if you’re convinced to add the simple protein to your daily routine once you’re done, don’t miss out on discovering How Many Eggs You Should Eat a Day for Weight Loss next.
Yolks Have Choline
Egg yolks contain a micronutrient called choline, which actually burns fat by keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Yolk is also rich in B-vitamins and amino acids that help build and preserve lean muscle mass, which is key in keeping flab at bay. All those nutrients are also essential for brain development.
Yolks Contain Satiating Healthy Fats
If you’ve ever felt hungry 30 minutes after eating an egg-white omelet, it’s not your fault. An egg-white dish is a pale imitation indeed when it comes to squelching hunger. That’s because the yolk is packed with satiating healthy fats. It’s no wonder that studies have shown that people who eat eggs as a morning meal consume less throughout the rest of the day. (And just FYI, the yolk and the white each contain the same amount of protein.)
Yolks’ Cholesterol Likely Won’t Play a Role in Your Blood Cholesterol
As for cholesterol: The truth is, dietary cholesterol intake has a minimal effect on your blood cholesterol level. The limit on daily cholesterol was even removed from the Dietary Guidelines in its 2015 update. And a large body of evidence shows that cholesterol-rich eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile by raising your HDL, a.k.a. the “good” cholesterol. It takes excess cholesterol to the liver, where it’s passed from the body, removing cholesterol from arterial plaque, slowing its growth and lowering the risk of heart attack. If you want to cut out foods from you diet when you’re watching your cholesterol levels, you really want to focus on processed foods with added sugar, warns WebMD.
Yolks Are a Rare Source of Dietary Vitamin D
Another reason to eat whole eggs: They’re one of the few dietary sources of Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” that improves immunity, boosts your mood and is linked to a lower risk of several cancers. Pro tip: To get the most D, don’t bake your eggs. According to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry, when eggs were scrambled and then baked, only 39 to 45 percent of their vitamin D remained. But fried or boiled eggs will retain 82 to 88 percent.
Eat This! for Eggs
As for what kind of yolks to choose, are you confused by a seeming barnyard of options in the dairy aisle? Are free-range eggs worth shelling out for instead of the old-fashioned kind? Relax. You can basically close your eyes and point. A 2011 Poultry Science study found that free-range eggs aren’t that nutritionally different than the eggs of cage-raised. (It’s a myth that you’ll consume stress hormones secreted from stressed-out caged chickens—that’s not supported by scientific research.) In fact, the only appreciable difference Poultry Science researchers found was higher beta-carotene levels in free-range eggs, which contributes to their darker-colored yolks.
The biggest different in these eggs is the treatment of the hen herself. So if you’re concerned with animal welfare (and tastier eggs), we recommend splurging on the organic, pasture-raised eggs. Find out which brands we like in our round-up: 26 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Carton of Eggs.
As for choosing a variety that’s “hormone free”—don’t bother. The USDA has banned the use of hormones in chicken eggs and meat since the 1950s, so brands that include that humblebrag are literally wasting space.
To cue up for a full day of weight loss, try one of these 25 Delicious Egg Recipes to Stay Skinny!