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How much protein is in an egg?

Whether you like them poached, hard-boiled or scrambled — eggs are a fantastic protein source.

How Much Protein Is in an Egg? | Juniper

The humble egg has been a staple of breakfast tables around the world for generations. It's easy to see why, when you consider all the important nutrients and high-quality protein in a serve of eggs.

But maybe, you've never stopped to think about how much protein is actually in your eggs. Don't worry — we have it covered.

We're diving deep into egg nutrition to let you know just how much protein you can expect from each whole egg, plus how adding eggs to other high-protein foods can boost both dietary protein and flavour.

Do eggs have protein?

Whether you like them poached, hard-boiled, scrambled or sunny side up — eggs are a fantastic protein source.

It's estimated that a single large egg has just over 6 grams of protein. It’s also fairly low in calories, sitting somewhere between 60-72 calories per egg [4][5].

Keep in mind that these numbers are most accurate for large eggs (and yes, there is a system to rank that). If your carton classifies them as small or extra large eggs, the protein content and nutrient profile will be different.

Most eggs are also a very high-quality source of protein. They are considered a complete protein, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs to function properly [2].

The World Health Organization also reports that eggs are one of the easiest protein sources to digest, which means your body can absorb more of the protein compared to other sources [4].

Finally, eggs are one of the most cost-effective complete sources of protein, compared to others such as meat, dairy and soy [4].

Why is protein important?

Most health experts recommend eating 2-3 meals per day with a serve of protein.

That's because protein is an important building block for your body. It helps fight infections and prevent disease, it is key to setting your metabolism and it helps build muscle mass.

There's also plenty of good evidence that a diet rich in protein can help maintain a healthy weight since it keeps you feeling fuller for longer [1].

What other nutrients do eggs have?

Protein is great, but it’s far from the only nutrient your body needs to perform at its best. Luckily, eggs are an excellent source of many other vitamins and minerals, such as [1][5]:

  • Vitamins A, B12, D and E
  • Selenium
  • Choline
  • Iron
  • Folate

All of this is to say that your regular dish of eggs has the potential to protect against disease, support your immune system and help you feel your best.

Do eggs lose protein when you cook them?

In good news, cooking your eggs doesn’t destroy all the protein. Research shows it may actually make the protein easier to digest, which means your body can take in more of it [6].

Cooking your eggs does seem to remove some of the nutrition though, especially when it comes to a hard yolk.

It seems the best way to preserve the nutrient-dense yolk is going for soft-boiled or poached eggs, where the white is fully cooked and the yolk remains soft.

Fitness enthusiasts may swear by raw eggs, but not everyone is so keen on the idea. There are also so many better-tasting, low-calorie options for ramping up your protein intake.

Protein content in egg yolks vs egg whites

A lot of weight loss diets will tell you that egg whites are the healthiest part — full of protein, but low in fat and carbs. While that is true, it’s not the whole story.

You may be surprised to know that you’re cutting out at least 40% of the protein when you ditch the yolks.

To give you some numbers, for 1 large egg with 6.3 grams of protein, the split is around 3.6 grams of protein in the egg white and 2.7 grams in the egg yolk [4].

While you can double up on egg whites to get more protein, you’ll also risk cutting out a lot of the nutrition and flavour that come from the yolk [7].

Why do people avoid egg yolks?

Egg yolks were given a bad rap many years ago when it was discovered that they contain almost 200mg of cholesterol [3]. The early advice was to cut out the yolk for a healthier meal.

However, new research has shown that it’s the fat content of a meal, not the cholesterol content, that increases your heart disease risk.

Most health bodies have since removed the recommendation to cut back on dietary cholesterol, bringing an egg yolk back on the table.

Keeping up with all the different health advice can be so tiring, especially when more research comes out every year. Remember, you don't have to do it all alone.

If you’re confused by ever-evolving weight loss and healthy eating advice, you might like to seek support from a registered dietitian. They can guide you on the right foods for your lifestyle and help you design a diet full of delicious and nutritious food sources.

One of the benefits of joining Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme is personalised dietitian support. It combines clinically proven treatments with lifestyle changes to help you reach your goal weight (and stay there).

How much protein do you need per day?

We’ve been hyping up eggs a lot so far because they are a great source of protein.

But, how do they contribute to your daily protein needs? First, let’s get to the bottom of what those are.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the recommended daily protein intake for an adult is 0.75 grams of protein per kg/body weight [2].

In an interesting twist, research has shown that in order to lose weight and maintain muscle mass, you might need more protein than this. One study found 1.6 grams of protein per kg/body weight was effective [4].

In fact, eggs have been studied a lot in terms of weight loss and most research finds them to be effective. There are a few reasons for this, including:

  • Protein helps you feel fuller for longer
  • Eating eggs can suppress the appetite hormone, ghrelin
  • They are fairly low in calories 

It's important for us to mention here that everyone's protein needs are unique.

For example, a person who does weekly resistance training will have slightly higher protein needs. We recommend talking to your doctor or another health professional before making any major changes to your diet.

Is 2 eggs a day enough protein?

Bear with us, we’re going to do a tiny bit of math here. But it’s easy to follow and just an example.

If we assume that 1 egg has 6.3 grams of protein, then a serve of 2 eggs is giving you 12.6 grams.

Using the recommended protein intake (0.75g), we can estimate that an 80kg adult woman needs 60 grams of protein per day.

If we double this like some researchers have done (1.6g), we reach a much larger figure of 128 grams of protein per day.

That means a serve of 2 eggs will make up just under 1/5 of her daily protein needs on the recommended intake and only 1/10 on the increased intake.

Of course, you’ll need to do a bit of number-crunching yourself to get the right intake for your body. You could also check in with your doctor or a registered dietitian for personalised advice.

For the sake of this example though, 2 eggs on their own doesn't come close to enough protein, but it's not a bad start.

There are also other health benefits to eating 2 eggs per day, like the fact it can cover around 10-30% of your daily vitamin needs [6].

Ways to add more protein to your eggs 

Maybe you think there's nothing tastier than eggs — but for those who could use some convincing, we recommend adding other foods.

Not only does combining many protein sources into one meal help reach your recommended dietary allowance, but it also helps add flavour.

Lots of foods are high in protein — from eggs to milk, cheese, lean meats and poultry, fish, nuts and seeds [1].

Here are a few ideas for adding extra protein to your eggs:

  • Whisk cottage cheese or Greek yogurt into your scrambled eggs
  • Combine 2 whole eggs with extra egg whites
  • Add a serve of grated cheese to your omelette
  • Have your eggs with a side of protein-rich fish, like tuna or salmon
  • Slide a simple poached egg on top of a chicken salad
  • Try a breakfast burrito that includes high-protein ingredients like eggs and black beans

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