Eggs are a popular breakfast food that is an amazing addition to other meals. Did you know we have been eating eggs for the last 6 million years, according to food historians? However, this human love for eggs raises the question of how many calories are in an egg.
The calories in an egg depend on the size, type of egg, and how you cook it. A larger egg contains more calories than a smaller one. Generally, indigenous eggs have higher nutritional content than exotic eggs. Color isn’t much of a factor since brown and white eggs have similar amounts of nutrients.
In the rest of the article, I will explain the variance in egg calorie content depending on size and nature. My discussion will also touch on the benefits of eating eggs and some risks associated with their consumption.
Calories in an Egg
The answer to this is that it depends on size and nature. According to Healthline, jumbo eggs weigh about 2.3 ounces/63 grams, offering about 90 calories of energy. Extra-large eggs weighing about 2 ounces/56 grams pack about 80 calories. Similarly, large eggs weigh 1.8 ounces and deliver 72 calories, while medium-sized eggs weigh 1.7 oz./50 g and provide 63 calories. You will then get about 54 calories from a small-sized egg weighing about 1.34 ounces/ 38 grams.
It is important to note that most of the eggs available in the market are medium-sized. Also, smaller eggs will be more common than eggs considered bigger than medium. This implies that most of the eggs you will easily get will give you approximately 60 calories of energy. These figures are for whole plain eggs with no added ingredients.
The Significance of Egg Color
Then there is the interesting debate about nutritional differences between brown and white eggs. Some people will swear that brown eggs taste better than white eggs. To others, it is vice-versa, with white eggs tasting better than brown eggs. However, the truth of this matter is that there is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs.
Egg shell color is influenced mainly by bird type, breed, and the quality of an egg. Some birds are known to have eggs of a specific color. Pigeon eggs will always be white, while duck or chicken eggs will vary in color. Some chicken and duck breeds lay white eggs, while others lay brown eggs. There are other egg colors, including blue, which is common in robins, but these are not common in poultry.
The color of an egg will then change as the egg ages. It is common to find an egg that is white when fresh changes to pale and brownish as it ages. However, the bottom line is that brown eggs are similar to white eggs in terms of nutrition.
Indigenous vs. Exotic Eggs
An interesting research fact is that indigenous eggs contain more calories than exotic eggs. This applies to both wild birds and poultry. Wild bird eggs will offer more nutrients than poultry eggs. Indigenous poultry eggs will also offer more nutrients than exotic poultry eggs. The research associated this variance with feeding, health, and genetic factors.
Indigenous birds are more genetically stable and stronger than exotic birds. This explains the better quality of eggs in indigenous birds. Indigenous birds, including poultry, also tend to feed better due to their scavenging abilities than exotic birds.
In current research on egg content comparison, cage-raised commercial chicken layers showed the least concentrations of proteins and fatty acids. This points to lower calorie content. However, the calorie differences between indigenous and exotic birds are marginal. This leaves egg size as the main determinant of calorie content in eggs.
Unleashing the Calorie Potential in Eggs
While eggs are nutrient powerhouses, their value is influenced greatly by how they are consumed. The calorie-releasing fats in an egg mainly constitute the egg yolk. However, the membrane in the egg white also contains a significant amount of these fats.
The number of these released calories depends on how the egg is consumed. Raw eggs release the highest amount of calories since heating processes bind or deteriorate some nutrients. Heating binds fats lowering the calorie release. So, to optimize calorie release, it is good to man up and consume it raw. However, this raw consumption comes with risks of salmonella, which can cause deadly poisoning.
The other ways of egg preparation ranked according to the effectiveness of calorie release are poaching, boiling, scrambling, and frying. A boiled egg will release up to 70% of its calories, while a fried egg releases only 40% of these calories. The less heat involved in the preparation, the better.
Health Benefits and Risks of Egg Consumption
Eggs are one of the most nutritious, affordable single foods in the world. Eggs contain more proteins, vitamins, and amino acids per calorie than most other foods. The egg yolk carries most of the proteins, including healthy calorie fats. On the other hand, egg white is almost exclusively protein, although some protein is also found in the egg yolk.
An egg is one of the few foods that contain all the nine essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce. Once you have an egg, you get high-quality protein, multiple anti-oxidants, selenium, phosphorous, and vitamin D and B12.
Eggs also help improve good cholesterol for the heart, brain, and eyes. This high nutritional content in an egg makes it a whole food that can comfortably drive the body. The only known risk comes with the overconsumption of eggs, which can lead to obesity.
The average egg will offer about 50 calories considering that some form of heat will be involved in preparation. However, if consumed raw, this egg average egg will release up to 65 calories. Despite how it is consumed, though, the egg stands out to be a readily available good source of calories.
- Business Insider: This Is the Most Nutritious Way to Prepare an Egg
- Healthline: Hard-Boiled Egg Nutrition Facts: Calories, Protein, and More
- WebMD: Health Benefits of Eggs
- ResearchGate: A Comparison Between the Quality of Eggs From Indigenous Chicken Breeds and That From Commercial Layers
- Healthline: Brown vs. White Eggs — Is There a Difference?
- Healthline: How Many Calories Are in an Egg?
- Medical News Today: Everything you need to know about eggs