Wasting Good Egg Yolks
Photo courtesy of SXC.ht
A friend recently told me about watching his roommate meticulously peel some hard-boiled eggs and then throw the yolks away. It’s a common thing for people to talk about eating an egg white omelet or having 3 egg whites and a whole egg. In my less educated days, I’ve committed the same transgression with hard-boiled eggs. Oh, the things our misguided nutrition advice has done to modern eaters.
The yolk is without a doubt the most nutritious part of the egg
Not only is all of the flavor in the yolk, but so are the grand majority of the vitamins, including all of the fat-soluble ones (A, D, E, and K). It is one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Half of the protein is in the yolk. All of the choline, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is in the yolk.
But the fat and cholesterol are also in the yolk, which is why our fat-phobic society throws them away. Now, we all know that dietary cholesterol intake doesn’t mean much for lipid cholesterol levels and that, in reality, lipid cholesterol levels aren’t harmful.
Cholesterol is the building block of many structures in the body and its presence in the blood usually means that it is trying to repair some damage done to the artery walls, not by cholesterol itself, but probably by a high carb (and therefore high sugar and high insulin) diet. That cholesterol is present in the lesions on the walls is correlation without causation. Ambulances are at the scene of car accidents, but they didn’t cause the damage.
Since the yolk is the part of the egg that nourishes the developing embryo, it makes sense that it would be the most nutritious part. In The Body Ecology Diet, the authors actually recommend throwing away the egg white and eating only the yolk.
So which eggs to eat anyway?
I opt for the pastured eggs at my local farmer’s market, but on rare weeks that I am unable to get there, I’ll pick up the omega-3 eggs from the grocery. The yolks of the pastured eggs are much more yellow-orange than the grocery omega-3 eggs and the whites have much more structural integrity. I noticed the difference one day when I was finishing a dozen of the omega-3 eggs. I cracked two omega-3 eggs into the skillet and the whites immediately spread to cover the entire bottom. It typically takes four pastured eggs to cover the bottom of the skillet.
And how to cook them?
The best way to cook an egg is to not break the yolk. That means hard- or soft-boiled, sunny side up, over easy, over medium, or over hard. I like my yolk runny, so when I’m cooking them, I go for over easy or sunny side up. I use hard-boiled eggs in my salads.
The reason for not breaking the yolk is to not expose the fats and cholesterol to heat, light, and oxygen and hence raise the possibility of oxidation of the fat and cholesterol. Although sometimes a plate of scrambled eggs and onions topped with salsa is just what the doctor ordered.
So there you have it. Don’t waste the nutrition in your eggs by throwing the most important half of it away.