Eggs are one of nature’s best gifts to us: not only are they delicious, but they’re also cheap, versatile, and a healthy option for breakfast and beyond. Most people turn to eggs as a good source of protein and with some sautéed veggies and maybe a side of whole-wheat toast — a hearty breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunchtime.
And while people are becoming more comfortable with eating more fat as diets such as Whole30 and keto have grown in popularity, there is still some controversy over whether or not you should eat the yolk in an egg. Sure, egg whites have less fat and cholesterol, but alone they offer less protein and fewer essential vitamins (A, D, and folate).
But are eggs as protein-packed as we’ve always been told? Yes, but there’s one caveat: you have to eat more than one egg.
How Much Protein Is in an Egg?
One large egg has six grams of protein, and one jumbo egg has nearly eight grams of the macronutrient, according to the USDA food database. Compare that with egg whites, which have a little less than four grams of protein per egg white. The yolk itself has a little more than two grams of protein per yolk.
Protein is an essential macronutrient to help you lose weight and build muscle. But to make sure you get enough in a day, you have to load up at each meal. Registered dietitian and ACSM-certified personal trainer Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, told POPSUGAR that people should aim for 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. So if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you should eat between 68 and 82 grams of protein a day. That comes out to a little more than 20 grams at each meal, plus some protein-packed snacks in between.
If you’re relying on eggs as your main source of protein for a meal, you’ll have to eat two or three whole eggs to bump up that protein content to 12 to 18 grams. If you’re just eating the whites, you would have to eat even more: three to four egg whites to get 12 to 16 grams of protein. To make your breakfast even more protein-packed, try eating it with quinoa (four grams per half-cup), black beans (four grams per one-fourth cup), or cheese (two tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has four grams of protein).
Need some inspo to get started? Check out these 10 egg recipes that make for a healthy breakfast or breakfast-for-dinner option.