It's less than a Pumpkin Spice Latte... theoretically
EC: How Much Protein Is in an Egg?
Credit: Photo by munandme via Getty Images

Eggs are a breakfast staple, and one that's regularly described as "protein-packed." Why else would Rocky down five raw eggs in a single gulp? But how much protein is in an egg, really? Well, if you do a little bit of research, you'll quickly realize there's less protein in an egg than you might think. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are only 6.29 grams of protein in a large, hard-boiled egg. Most of the protein in an egg comes from the white, which, according to the USDA, has 3.6 grams of protein when fresh and raw. The egg yolk has only 2.7 grams of protein. The egg white is also much leaner than the yolk—at 0.06 grams of fat compared to 4.51 grams—which is why bodybuilders love them.

6.29 grams of protein for a single, hard-boiled egg might not sound like a lot of protein, especially for a food that's constantly lauded as great for high-protein diets. And in many ways, you're right. 6.29 grams of protein is not a lot of protein per serving. There's actually more protein in a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks than a single hard-boiled egg (14 grams of protein, including whipped cream). Even a cup of cooked spaghetti has more protein than an egg, with 7.19 grams, according to the USDA.

But unlike a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a cup of spaghetti, an egg is a complete protein. That means it contains the nine amino acids that the human body can't produce on its own, also known as essential amino acids. These essential amino acids are, well, essential to any healthy diet, as they are used by the body to break down food, repair body tissue, and generally serve as a source of energy. An egg is one of the cheapest, most efficient ways to get these nutrients.

Plus, the average human needs to consume less protein everyday than you might think. According to guidelines set out by the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), "The daily recommended intake of protein for healthy adults is 10% to 35% of your total calorie needs." That means the average adult woman should be eating 46 grams of protein per day, while the average adult man needs 56 grams of protein daily, according to dietary guidelines published by HHS in 2010.

So if you're looking for more sources of protein, starting your morning with a couple of eggs is a pretty healthy way to do it. I would just strongly recommend cooking them first. No need to go all Rocky with this one, you know?

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder