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Boiled egg stages (source: wikipedia)

Is there any difference between nutritional content or digestibility of half-boiled eggs (the white is still runny), soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs? Please explain

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closed as off topic by Ivo Flipse Feb 22 '12 at 18:05

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This question has been closed as it is nutrition unrelated to exercise as stated in the faq. –  Matt Chan Feb 22 '12 at 18:48

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The primary benefit of hard boiled over soft boiled is less chance of salmonella, since getting sick would impact your ability to digest food in general, I'd say long term cooking the eggs more thoroughly is nutritionally better.

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According to this study you do want to cook your eggs for better bioavailability. As for soft vs hard, I think you should just go with whatever you prefer.

"The true ileal digestibility of cooked and raw egg protein amounted to 90.9 ± 0.8 and 51.3 ± 9.8%, respectively. A significant negative correlation (r = −0.92, P < 0.001) was found between the 13C-recovery in breath and the recovery of exogenous N in the ileal effluents.

In summary, using the 15N-dilution technique we demonstrated that the assimilation of cooked egg protein is efficient, albeit incomplete, and that the true ileal digestibility of egg protein is significantly enhanced by heat-pretreatment."

** That study measures "bioavailability" by looking at nitrogen content in the breath. Consider the following quote from that same study:"These studies, however, do not take into account the intense intraluminal bacterial metabolism, and absorption and secretion of nitrogen taking place in the colon (Moran and Jackson 1990). The results thus obtained are therefore devoid of any physiologic significance. "**

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The largest nutritional difference between something that's raw and cooked is going to be the structure of the fats, proteins, amino acids, and the like inside the food. In extreme cases, such as hyper-pasteurized milk, these products may be 'destroyed', or put into a state where your body can't reasonably use them. This doesn't mean that one or the other is always better; a raw chicken breast will be extremely hard to digest and will give you a fraction of the nutrition of a properly cooked chicken breast. The same could be said for a chicken breast that is so overcooked it's carbonized. Particulars will always vary from food to food.

As far as eggs themselves go, I'm not familiar with any major changes that happen with normal cooking. Like Berin said, there'll be slight differences because of the cooking process, but nothing to really write home about as long as you don't scorch your egg.

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You might have some Ferrous Sulfide if cooked too long and kept in the hot water to cool slowly. You also might have some increased risk of salmonella poisoning for the soft boiled eggs.

Other than that, I believe the nutritional content is essentially same. See the nutrition of 1oz raw egg and 1oz hard boiled egg. You'll see minor differences in the distribution of fats and cholesterol, but the protein is untouched.

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You should say whether or not ferrous sulfide is good for you –  bobobobo Aug 20 '11 at 1:18
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The compound is neither poisonous nor beneficial. It's a recombining of the elements already in the egg. Ferrous sulfide pills are sometimes given to postpartem mothers to replenish Iron. Having too much iron (like having too much of anything) is not good for you: emedicine.medscape.com/article/1011689-overview. But, you are having no more iron in an egg that is boiled too much than an egg not cooked enough. The compound just makes the yolk green and can impart a funny smell. –  Berin Loritsch Aug 20 '11 at 11:38

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