Poultry eggs, which are a rich source of protein, are a favored food by bodybuilders. Generally considered one of the best foods for weight loss, eggs from all poultry are popular the world over. Although the most widely commonly consumed eggs are those from chickens, eggs from gulls, quails, ostriches, geese, and ducks are also consumed to varying degrees. However, wildlife protection statutes in the U.S., and many other countries, prohibit disturbing wildlife nests. By virtue of their domestication, this has led to chicken eggs being the most widely consumed eggs around the globe.
Lauded for their high protein content, eggs are also high in choline and cholesterol, which explains why they are classified as meats in the U.S. Food Pyramid. Integral to many recipes, eggs are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, as well as delivering all the essential amino acids, many B-vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A and E . For someone trying to eat healthier or lose weight, proper incorporation of eggs into your diet can help you achieve your goals, whether they’re consumed in the form of egg protein powder, cooked scrambled, or even as powdered eggs. But we need to understand that how many calories are in an egg can vary greatly, depending on its source, handling and preparation.
How Many Calories Are In An Egg?
The average large chicken egg, which is what most recipes call for, has about 78 calories. A jumbo egg has about 98 calories, with medium and small eggs coming in at fewer calories and fat, as described in the following table.
We can see from the above that an average of 60% of the calories in a raw egg comes from fat, with the balance being protein. Of this, the vast majority of fat is contained within the yolk, and so separating the yolk from the whites yields a near-zero fat source of protein. However, it should be noted that since egg whites are approximately 87% water, substituting egg white for whole eggs in recipes rarely yield satisfactory results; particularly in the case of baked goods.
Concerns about fat and cholesterol in eggs is a matter of some debate, since only about 27% of the fat in eggs is saturated. Several studies have suggested that the consumption of eggs, and the cholesterol that comes with it, poses little if any increased risk of heart disease. If cholesterol is still a worry, it’s worth stating that there is no cholesterol in egg whites, so you can avoid the entire debate by limiting yourself to the whites.
Method of preparation can have a dramatic effect on how many calories are in an egg. Although all of the ways of serving eggs shown below are still low calorie foods, caloric content can vary by as much as 20% just based on method of preparation. Choosing to eliminate the yolk can reduce calories by as much as 75-80%. The following table highlights some of the more common (and perhaps uncommon) ways eggs are served, as well as the expected calorie content.
The consumption of eggs can play a valuable role in nutrition and health. The high protein content, and even the valuable fats, can play a solid role in weight loss by contributing to satiety, regulating blood sugar, and helping build valuable muscle mass.
Originally published February 2011, updated November 2011.
- “Egg Nutrition and Heart Disease: Eggs Aren’t The Dietary Lemons They’re Cracked Up To Be” Health.Harvard.Edu. Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School. Accessed November 2011.
- “A Review Of Scientific And Recommendations Regarding Eggs” J Am Coll Nutr December 2004vol. 23 no. suppl 6 596S-600S. Accessed November 2011.
- Photo Credit