Are eggs healthy? Nutrition experts answer your most asked questions

How many calories are in an egg, you ask? Finding out how many calories are in an egg doesn't have to be a case of finding a hen and asking some tough questions. In fact, it's far more simple. The key is not to get caught up in the marketing jargon that says eggs are either a) the best things ever or, b) to be avoided at all costs.

Surprisingly, the humble nutrient-dense egg has been a long point of controversy (similar to fasted cardio) with a study from US-based Northwestern Medicine linking eggs and dietary cholesterol with cardiovascular disease and early death. Yeesh.

Now, before you swear off the white and yellow gems entirely (seriously, don't) let's look into all the claims about eggs, how many calories are in an egg and all the benefits of keeping them in your diet.

Read on for answers to your most frequently asked egg-based questions, including how many calories are there in an egg, what nutritional benefits eggs have to offer and should you be packing two a day to snack on from your desk...

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s peel off the shell and find out exactly what an egg has to offer. Promise, it's going to be cracking (sorry).

How many calories are in an egg?

This question is more nuanced than it might seem from the outset. Not only are there different sizes of eggs, but how you cook them will have a direct impact on how many calories they have. Let's break it down.

According to registered nutrition and founder of Surrey Dietitian Harriet Smith, there’s as much as a 25-calorie difference between

  • small egg calories: 54 calories,

  • medium egg calories: 63 calories,

  • large egg calories: 79 calories.

And yes, as those egg white-loving readers amongst you will know, most of the calories are hidden in the yolk. But, as Smith says, it’s really how you cook the egg that gives it more, or less, nutritional credit. For example, a:

  • Hard-boiled large egg = 79 calories

  • Poached egg (large) = 79 calories

  • Omelette (1 egg, plain) = 96 calories

  • Fried egg = 115 calories

  • Scrambled egg (1 egg with milk) = 125 calories

  • Eggs Florentine (1 egg) = 267 calories

  • Eggs Benedict (1 egg) = 287 calories

  • Scotch egg = 289 calories

If you're wondering how many calories are in two eggs, we trust you to do the maths – it's just a case of doubling the calories in one.

5 health benefits of eggs

Now we've established how many calories are in an egg, let's be clear: there are tonnes of nutritional benefits to eating eggs. A plentiful amount, you might even say. Smith sums up the pros of eating eggs below.

1. Eggs are a good source of protein

The type of protein found in eggs is high quality. It is called complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids required by the body (they are ‘essential’ because your body can’t make them, so you need to get them from your diet).

A large hardboiled egg contains around 8g of protein (in comparison, an 85g chicken breast contains 27g, a 170g pot of Greek yoghurt has 17g, and a serving of 23 almonds, 6g). A woman’s recommended daily intake is 45g of protein per day.

If you want to know how many calories are in an egg of this size, refer back to the beginning of this article.

2. Eggs are a source of vitamin D (aka the sunshine vitamin)

You’d need to eat about nine eggs a day to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D (10 mcg or 400 IU). And now you know how many calories are in an egg, you can how understand how that's probably not the smartest shout.

We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure or supplements, but since most people in the UK are low on vitamin D, eating eggs could help to boost your intake. Just don't rely on eggs to get your vitamin D.

3. Egg yolk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids

The egg yolks are responsible for the majority of the calories in an egg and also most of the nutritional good stuff. Take Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for brain, heart and joint health.

The amount in the egg depends on what the hen has been fed; you can buy omega-3 or DHA (a type of omega-3) versions of eggs from most supermarkets.

As for how many calories are in an egg when it's enhanced with omega 3? The calorie content will be much the same.

4. Eggs provide the antioxidant mineral selenium

Antioxidants help to slow the ageing of our cells. One large egg contains about 22% of the recommended daily intake for selenium. So, never mind asking how many calories are in an egg, remember that there is so much more to food than calories.

And while we’re on the topic of ageing – remember that our muscle mass naturally declines with age and research has shown that consuming more protein can help to limit this loss. And, as mentioned, eggs = great source of protein.

5. Eggs keep you feeling full for longer

Studies have shown that overweight and obese women who ate eggs – full eggs, not just the whites – for breakfast felt fuller and ate fewer calories for the next 36 hours compared to the women who ate bagels (carbs) for breakfast.

Again, don't stress about how many calories are in an egg - they can be a legit helpful weight loss food.

OK, but what about the link between eggs and higher cholesterol?

After wanting to know how many calories are in an egg, getting to the bottom of eggs' link to developing high cholesterol is another of your top questions about eggs.

Research linking dietary cholesterol in eggs with a heightened risk of early death is pretty punchy stuff. The study, from Northwestern Medicine in the US, looked at nearly 30,000 US adults, with an average age of 51.

For every additional half of an egg eaten per day (around three extra eggs per week), the risk of cardiovascular disease rose by 6%.

Another study from China, however, showed the opposite. That people who ate an egg a day had lower rates of heart disease, and other papers have concluded that eggs don’t make any strong impact on coronary artery disease risk.

Researchers have demonstrated repeatedly that dietary cholesterol has little influence over levels of cholesterol in your blood.

So, what to believe?

‘It’s widely accepted by scientists that dietary cholesterol has very little effect, if any, on blood cholesterol in most healthy people,’ says Smith.

‘Reducing your total fat intake and saturated fat intake (from processed foods, red meats, pastries, cakes etc.) is more important when it comes to reducing dietary cholesterol than simply eating fewer eggs.’

What’s the best way to eat an egg?

So now you've learned how many calories are in an egg, the health benefits of eating eggs and got to the bottom of the link between eggs and high cholesterol - let's talk cooking them!

‘It depends on what you’re trying to achieve,’ says Smith. ‘If you need to lose weight or you’re watching your calorie intake, opt for poached, boiled or scrambled. If you need to gain weight, fried eggs, omelettes or Eggs Benedict would have more calories.

But, as intrigued as many of you are to know how many calories are in an egg, Smith recommends not placing too much emphasis on one foodstuff. Healthy eating - remember - is about choosing a diet that's varied and rich in a range of nutrients.

'I prefer to focus on what you’re adding to the eggs. Pair the eggs with some complex carbohydrates (such as wholemeal toast) and vegetables (think spinach, grilled tomatoes or mushrooms) for a balanced and filling dish.'

'You could even add some avocado or smoked salmon for additional heart-healthy fats. One of my favourite recipes is shakshuka (baked eggs with tomatoes and peppers).’

Try this: Salmon & Egg Breakfast Muffin Recipe

Protein 45g | Carbs 26g | Fat 28g

how many calories in an egg

An Insta-ready brunch needn’t be a blowout. Try this recipe designed by Fresh Fitness Food.


  • 2 eggs

  • 30g smoked salmon

  • 1⁄2 tsp chives, chopped

  • 6 cherry tomatoes

  • 1⁄2 tsp oregano

  • Handful watercress


1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk, add the salmon and chives and season with salt and pepper.

2. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper and oregano, then roast at 180°C for 20 minutes.

3. Pour the egg mix into greased muffin tins.

4. Bake at 180°C for 10 minutes or until the muffins are set.

5. Serve the hot breakfast muffins and roasted tomatoes with a handful of watercress. Yum.

I'm bored of eggs, where else can I get protein from?

Fortunately, eggs aren't the only place to find protein. Whether you're a veggie or a meat-eater, switching up your go-to diet staples can be a way to keep your nutrition fun (and functional) without becoming boring and staid.

These foods all contain protein and work well as part of your weekly nutrition:

But remember, protein is only one part of the puzzle.

Healthy fats and carbohydrates are important macronutrients too (as well as much-needed micronutrients from fruits and veggies) so don't go protein-mad and forget about everything else, 'kay?

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