Many people wonder how many calories an egg contains and some people are worried about egg’s cholesterol and fat content. But according to research, eggs are a versatile food that are high in good quality protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, eggs are healthier than most people imagine and don’t have as many calories as you might think. Therefore, eggs should be an important part of a well-balanced, healthy diet.
The number of calories in an egg depends on the size of the egg and the way it is cooked. Boiled and poached eggs contain fewer calories and fat than fried and scrambled eggs that are fried in oil or have milk added. Even though they are high in cholesterol, eggs contain mostly unsaturated fat, which is essential in a healthy diet. In fact, as you will see in this article, most people can eat up to 6 eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease.
In order to make wise choices when it comes to your diet, it’s important to know the calorie content of eggs. In this article, you will learn about the best way to incorporate eggs into a healthy diet and what kind of health benefits eggs provide.
How Many Calories in One Egg
The number of calories in a hen egg depends greatly on the size of the egg. Chicken eggs can range in size from small eggs weighing about 40 grams to jumbo size ones weighing about 70 grams. The average sized egg (about 50 grams) contains around 70 calories.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number of calories in the different sizes of raw, uncooked eggs are as follows:
- Medium egg (44 grams) has 63 calories.
- Large egg (50 grams) has 72 calories.
- Extra-large egg (56 grams) has 80 calories.
- Jumbo egg (63 grams) has 90 calories.
Depending on how you cook eggs and what you serve them with, the calorie count may rise significantly.
Calories in a hard-boiled egg
According to the Heart Foundation, boiling or poaching eggs are the healthiest ways to eat cooked eggs.
A hard-boiled egg contains about 78 calories and a poached egg contains 72 calories.
Remember, if you are serving hard-boiled eggs as part of a salad, ingredients like salad dressing, mayonnaise, or other sauces will increase the overall calorie count of the meal.
Calories in scrambled eggs
The calorie count in scrambled eggs can raise significantly depending on how you prepare them. On average, if you use semi-skimmed milk, the number of calories in one scrambled egg will be between 90 and 100 calories.
Remember, if you add butter, other fats, or cheese to the cooking process, the number of calories in scrambled eggs will increase even more.
Calories in fried eggs
When frying eggs, you may be surprised that there aren’t much more calories in fried eggs than in scrambled eggs. The USDA says that there are about 90 calories in a large fried egg.
Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez from the Mayo Clinic says that the risk of heart disease is usually associated with the food accompanying fried eggs, not the fried eggs themselves. For example, bacon, sausages, and ham all contain high levels of sodium, saturated fats or oils with trans fats. One interesting point to note is that bacon, sausages, and ham are also some of the top 5 cancer causing foods.
Calories in egg yolk vs egg white
Most of the calories in eggs, as well as all of the fat content, is in the yolk. The yolk from a large egg contains about 55 calories and just over 180 mg of cholesterol. An egg white contains 17 calories and no fat content at all.
Nutritionally, egg whites contain fewer minerals and vitamins when compared to an egg yolk. However, most of the protein comes from the egg white.
Nutritional Content of Eggs – Why Eating Eggs is Good for You
Eggs are a cheap and rich source of many vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Let’s look more closely at why eating eggs can be good for you.
Eggs are good source of dietary protein
Eggs are high protein foods and they contain about 12 grams of protein for every 100 grams, most of which is in the egg white. In fact, according to the website NutritionData.self.com, eggs contain all the amino acids that a healthy body needs.
Amino acids are needed by the body for proper cell regrowth and affect the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and hemoglobin. Because your body can’t store amino acids, you need to have a daily supply of these to help keep your overall health in good shape.
Eggs contain healthy fats
Eggs are also an important source of healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Brunilda Nazario on WebMD says that omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Having the recommended daily intake of omega-3 can help the body fight inflammatory conditions like heart disease and arthritis.
An interesting study was published in the journal Food Chemistry which compared the omega-3 fatty acid content of organic eggs, “barn-laid” eggs, “free-range” eggs, and eggs laid by hens in a cage. They found that “cage” eggs had a lower percentage of fatty acids, however, not enough to “have any significant metabolic effect on the consumer.”
Cholesterol in eggs
One of the reasons that eggs have received a bad rap is because of their cholesterol content. While one egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol, the question is: should you be concerned about the cholesterol in eggs? Actually, there are many myths surrounding cholesterol and “good” cholesterol is actually necessary for many functions in the body.
The Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a report on the effect of egg consumption on cholesterol levels. They found that people who ate 4 or more eggs a week had significantly lower levels of cholesterol than people who consumed one or no eggs a week. The study also found that eggs contributed to a large part of a person’s daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that eggs didn’t contribute to higher cardiovascular risks in people with type 2 diabetes. The study group on the “high-egg” diet found that they felt less hungry after eating eggs for breakfast, and they also obtained more healthy fatty acids. The researchers said that eggs “can be included safely as part of the dietary management of type 2 diabetes and it may provide greater satiety.”
Many studies have shown that increasing egg consumption in healthy individuals actually helps to lower “bad” cholesterol levels and doesn’t have a significant effect on overall cholesterol levels.
Of course, to look after your general health you should limit foods in your diet that are high in “bad” cholesterol and saturated fats and at the same time increase your fiber intake. Making wise dietary changes in your daily life is an effective way to lower your cholesterol naturally.
Important source of vitamins and minerals
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, each chicken egg contains 18 different vitamins and minerals. For example, eggs contain vitamin A, B-group vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Eggs also contain important minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Many of these vitamins and minerals have antioxidant properties and, according to the above mentioned journal, can help protect against many degenerative processes.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also reports that eggs contain properties that have been reported to have antimicrobial activity, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and have anti-cancer properties. Added to this is the fact that eggs are one of the few foods that contain high concentrations of choline – a compound necessary for liver and brain health.
Health Benefits of Eating Eggs
It is clear that eating eggs has many health benefits. Eggs are good for your general health because they provide lots of good protein, vitamins, and minerals and can actually lower levels of “bad” cholesterol. Many studies have shown how by consuming eggs you can help to prevent certain diseases and actually improve some health conditions.
In fact, the protein, vitamin, and mineral content of eggs don’t just have many health benefits. You can also use egg yolks and egg whites to help keep your hair shiny and healthy.
Improves brain function
Eggs contain high concentrations of choline, a compound which has been linked to improved brain function. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher dietary intake of choline helped to boost cognitive performance.
Choline is also an important compound in the brain development of unborn children and children while being breastfed. The journal Nutritional Reviews reported that in general, adults and pregnant mothers don’t get enough choline in their diet and they encourage a greater intake of choline-rich foods.
Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds play a role in keeping eyesight healthy and preventing cataracts forming.
Helps prevent gout
The high protein content of eggs can be a helpful addition to your diet if you suffer from bouts of gout. Eggs are one of the best sources of protein that have a very low purine content. Purines get broken down in the body and form uric acid which can lead to gout. Therefore, eggs are the perfect food to help reduce flare-ups of gout and prevent the condition. They provide plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep your body healthy and prevent hunger pangs.
For more helpful advice on how to get rid of the painful symptoms of gout, please read my article on the best natural treatments for gout.
Helps muscles to grow
The fact that eggs contain all the amino acids that a body needs means that they help boost muscle strength. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that egg proteins have a “profound effect on training results”, mostly due to the fact that they help skeletal muscles repair themselves quicker.
Lowers risk of stroke
The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) reported on a study that eggs could help to lower the risk of stroke. The study found that by eating one egg a day as part of a healthy diet, the risk of stroke is lowered by 12%.
Although other factors in the study to do with diet and lifestyle may also play a role in reducing stroke, the NLM reported that eating an egg for breakfast is a healthy way to start the day. However, eating a healthy balanced diet, not just focusing on one food is the best way to avoid cardiovascular diseases.