Are Egg Yolks Unhealthy?

Should you or should you not be eating the yolk along with the whites of your egg? The debate has been going on for ages.

There’s a lot to like about egg yolks. Compared to egg whites, the yolk contains most of an egg’s good stuff, including the bulk of its iron, folate, vitamins and other minerals. The yolks also contains two important nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, that support eye and brain health. They’re also the most delicious part of an egg.

But egg yolks are also a source of dietary cholesterol, which is why egg-whites alone have dominated the breakfast plates of bodybuilders and other fitness-focused people for some time now. For a very long time the message was direct and clear, any and all dietary cholesterol is bad. But some of that science has changed.

Similar to the way dietary fat has recently received a pardon by the latest medical research, dietary cholesterol seems to have been unfairly treated by the health community. It shouldn’t really be all that surprising to us, statins, the drug of choice for reducing cholesterol, work not on blocking dietary cholesterol, but by inhibiting your own bodies synthesis of it. We’ve in fact known for some time that most all circulating cholesterol comes from internal manufacture rather than the diet.

“Dietary cholesterol does not translate into high levels of blood cholesterol,” says Dr. Luc Djoussé, an associate professor and heart disease researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in a piece published by Time.

Djoussé has conducted a good amount of  research on eggs and heart disease. “Current scientific data do not justify worries about egg consumption, including egg yolk, when it comes to heart health,” he says.

National health officials seem to agree, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans set no cap on dietary cholesterol intake.

There may be some populations that need to stray from the yolk though, the Mayo Clinic spoke with Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez. “Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease,” he says. “Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.” However, Dr. Lopez-Jimenez continues “the story is different for people who have diabetes. In this ever-growing population, eating seven eggs a week significantly increases the risk of heart disease.”

So what is it? Do we eat the whole egg, or stick to the whites?

If you’re not part of a special population, those with diabetes or an otherwise increased risk of heart disease, there’s no good reason I can see to skip the yolk. My perception is, if you’re not going to eat the whole egg, why eat the egg at all? Moderation is king, should you eat 10 whole eggs for breakfast everyday? Probably not. Can you get away with 3 or 4 as an otherwise healthy individual looking to stay lean or gain muscle? Almost definitely yes, in fact their biological value is about as perfect a protein as you can get.

After all, your focus should be on healthy dietary patterns in whole, not fretting over individual foods or nutrients. Personally, I’m more concerned about people getting a good portion of fruits and veggies along side their protein.

For me the decision is simple, I have four chickens that provide me with delicious eggs and I’d never forgive myself for tossing out the delicious orange yolk.

So, eat that yolk and grab some fruit and something green to go along with it.  If you throw out that delicious, healthy, perfectly good yolk, I will find you, and I will make it my personal goal to goblin all the gainz you’ve ever made.