Eggs are recognized and revered as a staple of breakfasts mainly due to the fact that they contain so many key nutrients. In addition to Vitamin A, Vitamin B (B2, B5, B6, B12), Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K, eggs are also made up of healthy amounts of Folate, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc, and even Calcium—all of which benefit the human body. Most importantly, however, eggs are also very high in protein, as each single large egg (50g) contains between 6-7 grams of protein.
Do different sizes of eggs have different amounts of protein?
Grocery stores will often stock and maintain a wide variety of egg sizes. These eggs can range in order from: small, medium, large, extra large, jumbo, and each of the different size of egg will have more protein as it gets larger.
Small Eggs contain approximately 5 grams of protein per egg and are relatively rare in some stores.
Medium Eggs will have 5.5 grams of protein per egg.
Large Eggs have 6.3 grams of protein, and are considered the default in most recipes containing eggs
Extra Large Eggs contain 7 grams of protein per egg.
Jumbo Eggs obviously contain the most protein of the five possible sizes, as they weigh in with 8 grams of protein or more in each one.
Considering the fact that the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommends 56 grams of protein per day for what they consider to be the average male (compared to 46 grams of protein per day for the everyday woman), one standard, large egg would represent approximately 11% of a man’s necessary protein intake every day (and nearly 15% for women).
(The Dietary Reference Intake is aligned with the recommended dietary allowances necessary for healthy people to meet their nutritional needs, and is a very valuable tool to keep in mind.)
Does anybody eat just one egg though?
Perhaps the best part of learning about the nutritional value of the egg comes when you consider that most recipes and hungers call for more than just a single egg. A one-egg omelet seems rather light, eating just one hard-boiled egg at times is just a tease, and using just a single egg on a fried egg sandwich would probably not even be enough to cover the entire area of the bread.
Using the numbers and daily percentages introduced above, that means that the protein present in two eggs would represent 22% of a man’s DRI, and that three eggs is equal to one-third (or 33%) of a man’s necessary protein intake. Conversely, three eggs would provide nearly 44% of protein that the DRI recommends for the average woman.
Do egg whites or yolks have more protein?
Depending on personal preference, some people eat only the egg whites, some people eat only the egg yolks, while the majority eat the whole thing. Normally, 42% of the protein present in an egg is in the egg yolk, while the remaining 58% is found in the egg white. This means that in a large egg there are approximately 3.6 grams of protein found in the egg whites and 2.7 grams of protein in the yolk.
Some people are afraid of the addition cholesterol and fat in egg yolk, but when you consider that you’re throwing away 42 percent of the protein present in the egg when you eat only the whites, it might cause hesitation moving forward. It would be necessary to eat almost twice as many eggs to consume the same amount of protein if yolks are being discarded. It comes across as counterproductive to welcome the great protein benefits that eggs offer, but then toss away a good portion of those exact some nutritional benefits.
What are the best ways to cook eggs to get the most protein benefits?
The discussion has continued for years as to what the most efficient and effective ways to cook eggs are. In fact, the topic comes up just as often in the worlds of bodybuilding and nutrition as it does in the food world among culinary experts. What is known is that cooking your eggs is the right way to ensure that the majority of protein in the egg is absorbed by your body and used correctly.
Despite the steadily-rising popularity of chugging raw eggs —thanks in part to Rocky Balboa’s iconic chug in the film named after him—studies have shown that up to have of the protein in an egg is wasted if it is not cooked. This means that hard boiled, soft boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, deviled, and any other way you can think of will be more beneficial than eating them raw. Plus, this way, you won’t have to worry about the risk associated with contracting salmonella from one of the 1-20,000 eggs infected with it.
While most forms of cooking will preserve the protein content within the egg, that isn’t to say that different techniques won’t add more fat and/or cholesterol your egg dish. Hardboiled eggs are perhaps the healthiest and most inoffensive way to cook eggs, and you will end up with around 5.3 grams of fat per hardboiled egg—compared to the 6.3 grams of complete protein. Luckily for those who love eggs, the protein present in eggs provides an ideal balance of amino acids necessary for the human body.
Is the 6.3 grams of protein in an egg a lot?
It is not always easy to keep track of how much protein your body needs throughout the day, and it is even more difficult trying to keep track of how much protein is in each food item that you intake. So, don’t worry, there is no reason to feel bad if you are sitting there and wondering “is 6.3 grams of protein a fair amount?”, or if you like eating three eggs at a time, “is 18.9 grams of protein mean I’m eating healthy?” Well, why don’t we just compare eggs to a few other foods to see how the protein values stack up.
One slice of medium cut bacon has three (3) grams of protein—meaning that it would be necessary to eat two slices of bacon for every egg.
One single chicken wing comes in slightly under the protein in eggs as it contains six (6) grams. Though, if you direct your attention to the nutritional value of a chicken breast, it has a jaw-dropping 30 grams of protein.
Not surprisingly, a cup of milk contains slightly more protein than a single egg does, as a recommended 12-ounce serving of milk contains eight (8) grams of protein.
Now, let’s just assume that you’re making yourself breakfast and you cannot decide what you want: three eggs, or a plate with a slice of bacon, a chicken wing, and a cold glass of milk to wash it down. The three eggs would provide you 18.9 grams of complete protein, while the bacon, chicken and milk would provide just 17 grams of protein—and probably a stomach ache in addition.
Why is the type of protein found in eggs so good for you?
As was mentioned earlier, eggs maintain high quality proteins that possess the perfect ratio of amino acids essential for the human body. This means that even though some other food might contain more protein or a greater ratio of protein versus fat, that other food might not has complete protein like you would find in eggs. For those individuals looking to find the greatest level of nutrients with their eggs, keep an eye out for Omega-3 eggs or pastured eggs, as many consumers are adamant that they provide the most beneficial source of protein among all eggs.
As it stands, protein is extremely valuable to your body. Not only does protein account for energy within you, but a lack of protein intake can lead to low blood sugar, an inability to build or maintain necessary body mass, mood swings, and a lack of concentration, as well as more serious problems further along down the line. While the 6.3 grams present in a large egg (or the 8+ grams present in a jumbo egg) might not seem integral to your diet, their perfect composition magnifies that protein content without a doubt.
Do brown eggs contain more protein than white eggs, or vice versa?
In addition to the different sizes in eggs, there are also different colored eggs available in the majority of markets. The most common color of egg besides the whitish color most consumers are used to, is brown. These brown eggs are produced by chickens with red earlobes, while white eggs come from chickens with lighter lobe colors.
Despite the obvious aesthetic differences between the two types, there is no discernible nutritional difference. While some individuals do argue that the two types of eggs taste slightly different, that could also be attributed to the manner in which some of the chickens laying these eggs were raised. While the flavor differences remain up for debate and the nutritional argument becomes null and void, supermarkets and grocery stores still manage to find a way to charge more for brown eggs in almost every occasion. That added price won’t add any protein though, unfortunately.
Do different grades of eggs have different levels of protein?
In addition to differences in size and color, eggs are often also labeled by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grade. These grades range from U.S. Grade AA, to U.S. Grade A, to U.S. Grade B. While AA eggs are defect-free, have clean shells and thick whites. Grade A eggs aren’t too far off from that top tier, and also represent the majority of what you encounter while shopping at the store. Grade B eggs are usually slightly flawed and are subsequently used in egg-related products like egg whip and egg beater.
Despite the difference in quality (which is noted by a USDA grader at a particular facility), there is not a difference in nutritional value between the three levels. This means that despite grade AA eggs appearing superior aesthetically, grade B eggs provide the same amount of protein as their highly-graded egg counterparts—approximately 6.3 grams per egg.
Scrambling to a conclusion
When it comes to protein, eggs really are the holy grail. Not only are eggs a complete protein with a perfect ratio of essential amino acids, but the wide variety of cooking options when preparing them allows you to craft a diet around them easily to maintain those ideal nutritional levels.
While the average egg, size large, contains a whopping 6.3 grams of protein, as we now know, eggs come in a variety of sizes which impact how much protein each egg has. While small eggs contain around 5 grams of protein, a jumbo egg contains 8 grams—nearly 60% more protein.
One egg at 6.3 grams of protein accounts for 11% of the average male’s daily requirement, and nearly 15% of the average females. While it isn’t recommended for a man to eat nine eggs in an attempt to satisfy his daily protein needs, it sure would make sense.
In comparison to other foods, eggs remain a quality source of protein. In fact, one egg contains more than twice as much protein as a slice of bacon and almost as much as an entire cup of milk. While you are boxed in with regards to how you can enjoy a cup of milk—warm or cold—the options are endless for cooking an egg and getting your necessary protein that way.
Regardless of whether you settle for a carton of Grade AA jumbo white eggs or a carton of Grade B jumbo brown eggs, you now know that you’ll be enjoying a complete 8 grams of protein regardless. Protein that will help to create energy in your body, keep you from irritable and cranky, and also allow your metabolism and body mass to maintain healthy equilibrium.
There are 6.3 grams of protein in each egg, but way more than 6.3 reasons why you should be eating eggs and taking advantage of an ideal available protein source.
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