Counting Calories In Eggs
Cooking method changes the calorie value in eggs. The 72 cals in a raw egg rises to 94 in an omelet, 91 when scrambled, and 90 when fried. If you're watching your calories, your best bet is a hard-boiled egg, which stays low at 78 cals, or a veggie-stuffed omelet. Have a whole egg to reap all its benefits unless you have a medical condition like diabetes or high cholesterol. If you do have these, avoid the yolk.
For many Americans, eggs are a staple. They’re inexpensive, versatile, and easy to cook. From frittatas to sandwiches, they’re quick and easy solutions for a sudden hunger pang. But when you’re counting calories or trying to lose weight, should eggs be off the menu?
What’s In An Egg?
According to the Egg Nutrition Center, an egg contains at least 13 essential vitamins and minerals. It’s a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, zinc, choline, and folate. It even includes the elusive vitamin D that is hard to find in dietary sources. Additionally, a single egg gives you about 6 gm of protein in a form that’s easily digested by your body.1
Calorie Cost: How Expensive Is Egg On Your Daily Limit?
A raw egg can contain anywhere from 72 to 90 calories, depending on its size. Specifically, it comes from 4.8–6 gm of fat and 6–8 gm of protein. On average, 55 of these calories (and 4.5 gm of fat) come from the yolk. So if you’re trying to watch your caloric count, skipping the yolk may be an option.2
Boiled Or Fried? Cooking Method Matters
Now that you know what a basic raw egg contains, here’s the catch. The number of calories that you consume from an egg depends on the method of cooking. It also depends on the trimmings that you eat with them. If an egg is poached or boiled, you’d be able to keep a moderately low caloric intake. But if you add oil, cream, or cheese, the calorie count significantly increases. The same goes for the bread, baked beans, and hash browns you might have alongside the egg.
If there are 72 calories in a regular-sized egg, that can increase to 94 when whisked into an omelet, 90 calories if fried, and 91 if scrambled. However, it will stick to 78 calories if it’s hard boiled.3
Your healthiest move is to keep it simple. If you don’t like the thought of a plain boiled egg, make an omelet with plenty of fresh veggies. Limit the oil by using a spray. You can also swap cream for skimmed milk to make scrambled eggs.
Dieter’s Friend Or Foe?
You’ll often see eggs headlining many diets that rely on calorie counting or balanced nutrient intake. This is due to their diverse range of nutrients and moderate calories. However, there is a caveat for those with high cholesterol. Since eggs do contain cholesterol, you may not want to make them a regular part of your diet. Instead, make eggs an occasional addition, without ruling them out completely. Some experts second that by recommending that you focus on reducing saturated fat intake from foods like fatty meat or dairy instead of ditching eggs.4 As the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health explains, if you have high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol or high total cholesterol, it’s a good idea to just cut down your intake of egg yolks.5
Diabetics may want to avoid eating more than one egg a day. Ideally, consider having it even less often – say, a couple of times a week. A study confirmed that regular egg intake actually increased heart risk among diabetics. And while further studies are needed to corroborate this, it may be wise to limit intake and practice an “egg-whites only” rule.6
Of course, keep in mind that you’ll still need to supplement with other dietary sources to make up for the nutrients that you aren’t getting from the yolk. For instance, vitamin D and some antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein (both good for the eyes) are mainly in the yolk. You will, however, still fuel up on protein, selenium, and riboflavin by having the whites.7
The Eggy Bottomline
If you’re in good health and want to have an egg a day, you should be able to so without any problems. It will not increase your heart disease risk. Instead, the antioxidants can benefit other parts of the body, like your eyes, by fighting free radical damage.8 When part of a diverse and well-rounded diet, eggs can do you a world of good.
References [ + ]
|1, 7.||↑||Nutrients In Eggs. Egg Nutrition Center.|
|2, 3.||↑||Egg, whole, cooked, omelet, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. USDA.|
|4.||↑||Can I eat eggs?. Heart UK, The Cholesterol Charity.|
|5.||↑||Eggs and Heart Disease. Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.|
|6.||↑||Hu, Frank B., Meir J. Stampfer, Eric B. Rimm, JoAnn E. Manson, Alberto Ascherio, Graham A. Colditz, Bernard A. Rosner et al. “A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women.” Jama 281, no. 15 (1999): 1387-1394.|
|8.||↑||Fernandez, Maria Luz. “Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 9, no. 1 (2006): 8-12.|