Do you eat raw eggs believing they give you an advantage in your workout efforts? Unfortunately it’s a myth providing zero benefit and you might as well stop this slightly disgusting practice.
The Italian Stallion
I believe that the entire thing about raw eggs for strength, muscles and bodybuilding in general started with Rocky, the 1976 boxing movie. In it, the main character at one point goes for his early morning run, comes back home, breaks four or five raw eggs into a glass, stirs and gulps the whole shebang down in one go.
We can only assume that for some people “oh, I saw it in the movie and the guy was huge and cool” is a good enough reason to do the same in reality. But metabolically, raw eggs work worse for you than cooked:
The bit about the cooked egg protein being easier to digest you can read up on in this nifty piece of research. For some background info on salmonella and eggs, check the CDC’s in-depth article about the subject, and the Mayo Clinic for a recommendation about eggs and cholesterol.
Just The Egg Whites, Ma’am!
Now what about throwing away the yolk and just using the egg whites? Doesn’t that have fewer calories while also saying bye-bye to all that freaking cholesterol?
Yes, both are true. But you’ll also be throwing away 1/3 of the six grams of protein coming in an egg, as 2 g are in the yolk. Therefore, to get 30 g of protein, you’d need the whites of about 7 eggs. In the long run that is an expensive hobby when compared to other protein sources (beans, milk, protein powders etc.).
What About The “Biological Value”?
What you’ll often hear thrown around about egg protein being superior is that it has a high “biological value”. The BV is a number that shows how much of a protein you eat your body can use for its own purposes – in working out that is of course the process of building muscle mass.
For eggs that number is often stated as “100″, which sounds good. However, BV numbers are calculated under strict laboratory conditions that have little to do with real life. Depending on the rest of what you eat, your age, health and weight, your “personal” BV for eggs can be much lower than for, say, the protein in lentils.
Me Tarzan, You Egg!
Let’s recap: seeing something in a movie doesn’t mean it has any basis in reality. You don’t believe in 300 ft. gorillas abducting luscious blondes onto skyscrapers either, do you? Please say no.
Eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they come with all essential amino acids, and also have vitamins and minerals, but making them your main protein source in your workout nutrition provides little to no advantage while being quite expensive.
Picture courtesy of Daniel Novta.