Taking That Second Look at Eggs

       by  Seethalakshmi Seshabhushan Nagaraja MS BS BE RDN                                                                            Published on November 25, 2019 | Updated on November 25, 2019

The unassuming egg – inexpensive, easy to cook, a good source of high-quality protein, and low in calories. A large hard boiled chicken egg is approximately 78 kilocalories and it provides 6.3 g of high-quality protein. High-quality protein has all the essential amino acids necessary for good health.

Although, a large hard boiled chicken egg contains only 1.6 g of saturated fat it has about 212 mg of cholesterol. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is important to limit daily dietary cholesterol to 300 mg for maintaining good cardiovascular health. The Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern contains approximately 100 to 300 mg of cholesterol per day. In comparison, egg whites have only a trace of saturated fat and zero cholesterol. The white of a large chicken egg provides about 3.6 g of protein for 16 kilocalories. To maintain good cardiovascular health, choose egg whites more frequently than whole eggs.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily amount of nutrient needed for most healthy people.

RDA for Protein

Age in yrsRDA for Protein g per day
Children1 to 313
Children4 to 819
9 to 1334
14 to 1852
19 and above56
14 and above46
Pregnant Females
46 to 71
Lactating Females71

Egg yolk has health benefits too, it is a concentrated source of choline an essential nutrient. Choline is also needed for the normal healthy development of the growing baby during pregnancy. A large hard boiled egg has about 147 mg of choline. While eggs are one of the richest sources of choline, it is also found in a variety of foods like seafood, meat, wheat germ, soy, dairy, vegetables, fruits and healthy grains. Whey powder that is used in protein supplements is also a rich source of choline. Whey is a protein that occurs naturally in milk.

Adequate Intake of Choline per day

Age in yrsCholine mg per day
Children1 to 3200
Children4 to 8 250
Males9 to 13375
Males14 and above550
Females9 to 13375
Females14 to 18400
Females19 and above425
Pregnant Females< 18 to 50450
Lactating Females< 18 to 50550

Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin. Avidin has a tendency to bind to biotin. Eating more than 24 raw egg whites every day for several months may affect normal biotin absorption and functions. Biotin is necessary for normal energy metabolism. Biotin is found in many foods like fish, soybeans and whole grains. We also naturally produce biotin. To ensure normal absorption of biotin, eat cooked egg whites. Cooking egg whites supports normal absorption of biotin as heat denatures avidin. The Adequate Intake recommendation for adults is 30 µg of biotin per day.

There are many varieties of eggs available in American grocery stores based on how chickens are fed and raised …. conventional, cage-free, free-range, organic, pasture-raised, vegetarian, pasteurized, brown, or omega-3-fortified eggs. Vegetarian egg replacements are also available in specialty stores.


1. Pennington, Jean A. Thompson., and Judith Spungen. Bowes & Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. 19th ed., LWW, 2010.
2. ODPHP. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans website. . Accessed November 22, 2019.
3. Whitney, Eleanor Noss, and Sharon Rady Rolfes. Understanding Nutrition. Cengage, 2019.
4. Zeisel, Steven H, and Kerry-Ann Da Costa. “Choline: an Essential Nutrient for Public Health.” Nutrition Reviews. 2009.
5. United States Department of Agriculture. Food and Nutrition Information Center website. Nutrient Lists from Standard Reference Legacy (2018). . Accessed November 22, 2019.
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. . Accessed November 22, 2019.
7. Food & Nutrition. What Type of Eggs Should You Buy? . Accessed November 25, 2019.

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