Y is for Yolk


By Megan Barnes, Dietetic Intern

There is a large misconception that the yolk of an egg is bad for your health when in reality, eggs are a great source of protein and contain multiple vitamins and minerals. The egg yolk often gets a bad rep for containing a high amount of cholesterol; one yolk contains about 186 milligrams when the recommended limit is 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. However, multiple studies have shown that the dietary cholesterol from eggs has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels. In fact, these studies have found that saturated fat is the main culprit for increasing the bad cholesterol in the blood, not necessarily the consumption of cholesterol itself. 

Saturated fat is found in red meat, butter, lard, cheese and other animal products. High cholesterol will not cause any noticeable (physical) symptoms so it is recommended to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly to reduce the risk of heart attack and other heart related conditions.

Nutrition Facts for one large whole egg:
Calories: 72
Protein: 6 grams
Total fat: 5 grams
Cholesterol: 186 milligrams 

Nutrition Facts for one egg yolk:
Calories: 55
Protein: 3 grams
Total fat: 5 grams
Cholesterol: 184 milligrams

One egg contains 13 vitamins and minerals plus all 9 essential amino acids. Eggs are also a great source of choline (infant and fetal brain development during pregnancy), lutein and zeaxanthin (eye health), vitamin D (bone health and calcium absorption), and protein. 

Cooking tip: When making hard boiled eggs, does the yolk ever turn green? This is caused by sulfur and iron combining when overcooked. The green yolk is still safe to eat but to avoid this from happening, place the eggs into an ice bath after removing them from the boiling water. 

Resources: USDA National Nutrition Database