Food Writer's Diary

In defense of egg yolks

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This was the display McDonald’s marketing people set up earlier this week as they promoted the introduction, announced several weeks ago, of the Egg White Delight McMuffin.

It’s like any other egg McMuffin, minus 50 calories, a couple grams of protein and significant amounts of vitamins A, D, B5 and B12, riboflavin and folate. 

That’s right, I said it: Egg yolks are good for you. Yes, they contain some fat and cholesterol, but the latest science (not even that late, actually: this is old news) indicates that the cholesterol that you eat doesn't translate into cholesterol in your blood; that's caused mostly by heredity and certain types of saturated fat. And with the 1.6 grams or so of saturated fat that an egg yolk has, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrient database, come all of those great micronutrients I just mentioned. Oh, and 2 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and a little bit of polyunsaturated fat, which is also good for you. You’d be better off skipping the egg white, which has 3.6 grams of protein and basically nothing else. It’s just 17 calories, but if you think 33 calories are going to make a difference in your diet then I suggest you eat one fewer cracker (or two ounces less of soda, or fruit juice). 

Also, egg yolks are delicious.

But hey, some people want to eat egg white sandwiches, and McDonald’s is not wrong to give them that option. The Egg White Delight McMuffin is also on a whole grain bread, and that’s nice: Most Americans could use more fiber in their diet.

And the marketing message at this press event was “choice.” 

You want an Egg McMuffin without the yolk? Sure, McDonald’s can do that. Pull off the Canadian-style bacon? Absolutely! Want another breakfast item with just egg whites? Why not? Have it your way.

Above is a picture of my Egg White Delight McMuffin. It tasted like an Egg McMuffin without the yolk on slightly heartier bread, and maybe a little fresher, because the great thing about these promotional events is you get McDonald’s food at its very best: The promotional team makes sure of it. 

They were unable to make sure that Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas was there on time, though. They said she was stuck in traffic, which could happen. The event was held at McDonald’s Times Square location, and traffic can happen in Manhattan.

I’d like to think that if I were the star attraction of a media event that I’d make sure I got there on time, but maybe Ms. Douglas has a more hectic schedule than I do. She probably does.

Anyway, here she is, with chef Jessica Foust, the manager of nutrition and culinary for McDonald’s USA.

Gabby Douglas was on message: She spoke about variety and choice and that she enjoyed eating McDonald’s healthy options when she was traveling.

That evening, at a press dinner at Café Serai at the Rubin Museum, which was introducing the food of its new chef, Buddakan and Tabla almnus Ali Loukzada, I met Gina Pace, a reporter for the New York Daily News, who also was at the Egg White Delight McMuffin launch who wrote this story.

As we ate butter-poached lobster, semolina with black cumin and fiddlehead ferns, and an Indian-spiced beef trio, Gina also told me she got Ms. Douglas to admit that she also has a weakness for McFlurries.

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Food Writer's Diary is a blog written by Bret Thorn, senior food editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, which covers culinary trends and his adventures.

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Bret Thorn

Bret Thorn is responsible for reporting on culinary trends in foodservice for Nation's Restaurant News. He joined NRN in 1999, after spending about five years as a journalist in Thailand, where...
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