Eggs have long been touted as a near perfect food source, and a go-to source of protein for building and repairing muscle.
But whole eggs contain a lot of fat (approx 5 grams per egg), which has seen more bodybuilders turn to eating just the egg white, which contain zero fat.
For the rest of us who may not be obsessed with bodybuilding, but want to achieve a more muscular physique, there appears to be good news on the egg white v whole egg debate.
A study from the University of Illinois and reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2017 has discovered the following:
Our muscles build protein differently after consuming whole eggs from just egg whites.
The study involved ten, 21 year old males, each performing a single bout of resistance exercise and then eating 18 grams of protein in the form of egg whites or whole eggs. (One large egg contain approx 6 grams of protein)
The study team took repeated blood and muscle biopsy samples to assess how the egg-derived amino acids were appearing in the blood and in protein synthesis in muscles before and after the resistance exercise and eating.
“By using those labeled eggs, we saw that if you ate the whole egg or the egg whites, the same amount of dietary amino acids became available in your blood,” said professor Nicholas Burd, lead researcher at the University of Illinois.
“In each case, about 60 to 70 percent of the amino acids were available in the blood to build new muscle protein.
That would suggest that getting one’s protein from whole eggs or just from the whites makes no difference, as the amount of dietary amino acids in the blood after eating generally gives us an indication of how potent a food source is for the muscle-building response.”
But when the researchers directly measured protein synthesis in the muscle, they found a very different response.
“We saw that the ingestion of whole eggs immediately after resistance exercise resulted in greater muscle-protein synthesis than the ingestion of egg whites,” Burd said.
“This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting one’s protein from isolated protein sources,” he said.
Not only are whole eggs more beneficial for muscle building than just egg whites, we also benefit from a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
Journal reference: dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.117.159855