Eggs... i love you
When looking for "healthy baking" recipes, I often come across ones calling for egg whites - rather than whole eggs. While egg whites are definitely healthy and high in protein - the whole egg offers more nutrition - not to mention flavour. Some recipes do call for egg whites because of their special physical properties. Other "healthy" recipes eliminate the yolk because of its high fat and cholesterol content.
Yes, the yolk contains all the fat and cholesterol in the egg. Luckily, new findings suggest that the cholesterol in eggs isn't all that bad - and the "fat" is mostly unsaturated. The yolks also contain most of the egg's vitamins and minerals (including fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K) and about 1/3 of the egg's protein.
A recent study at Harvard states: "While it's true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol--and, therefore may slightly affect blood cholesterol levels--eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate."
Eggs are one of the few foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. They also contain the "Vision-Protecting Carotenoids" Lutein & Zeaxanthin - as well as the vital nutrient choline.
When it comes to baked goods, eggs are indispensable for certain types of recipes. The whites provide elastic form, and structure for air to help lighten a good. The fatty lecithin-rich yolk lends a lovely texture, as well has exquisite emulsifying and moisture-retaining properties. Healthy carotenoids in the yolk imbue a lovely golden hue.