If you think you're doing your body a favor by going egg-whites only at brunch, think again.
Lower in calories and fat, egg whites seem like a dieters delight, but in truth, the flavorless fried putty is hardly worth cooking into an omelette.
When it comes to nutrition, egg yolks trump egg whites.
A whole egg contains about 66 calories, 52 of which are in the yolk and 14 of which are in the white, so might understand why the low-cal option became popular in the health crowd. An egg's nutrients, however, can be found almost completely in the egg yolk, which has almost all of the calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins that make the food a superstar to begin with.
"Bourgeoning science tells us that there is really no benefit to just eating the egg white," Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health said in email. "All the B-vitamins and healthy fats are in the yolk."
If you've only been eating the white, not only have you been missing out on vitamins, but other nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye and brain health, as well. Hunnes said that eating a whole egg or two even on a daily basis is not dangerous to your health.
Another reason not to eat only the egg white? The environment.
"When you just eat whites, you need twice as many of them to get the same sense of fullness, and it utilizes more resources," said Hunnes. "It is better to eat the whole egg. Now that we know yolks are not particularly bad for us, I would say there is no point to eating an egg white omelet instead of a whole egg omelet." The laying hens will also thank you.
However, the exception would be for those who need to limit their fat and cholesterol intake, as all the fat and cholesterol are also in the yolk. "An egg white omelet is a nutritious option for the person who chooses not to consume the whole egg," Janet Fegan, nutritionist and assistant professor at Touro College's School of Health Sciences said.
Cholesterol in egg yolks isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The newly issued Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 removed the 300 mg per day limit on dietary cholesterol — an egg yolk has about 200 mg. "Dietary cholesterol does not translate into high levels of blood cholesterol," Dr. Luc Djoussé, an associate professor and heart disease researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital told TIME in February. "Current scientific data do not justify worries about egg consumption, including egg yolk, when it comes to heart health."
So unless you have serious health concerns or suffer from high cholesterol, in which case, consult a doctor, you're in the clear with a whole egg omelette. Happy brunching!