Eating Whole Eggs Better For Your Muscles Than Egg Whites

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Eating Whole Eggs Better For Your Muscles Than Egg Whites

In order to lose weight and get in shape, many people eliminate egg yolks and eat whites instead. The accepted belief is that egg whites are healthy while the yolks are unhealthy and potentially harmful.

Many nutritional habits and beliefs today are shaped up by so-called experts who don’t promote balanced nutrition but advocate for the complete elimination of certain food sources and nutrients.

Whole eggs aren’t a threat to your health. In fact, they’re better for your muscles than egg whites only, the latest study confirms.

Whole Eggs And Muscle Building

Egg whites are an excellent source of protein that our body needs to stay healthy. Weight management and muscle building depend on adequate protein intake which intensifies the need for consumption of foods that are rich in this nutrient.

In the diet, protein is ingested from whole foods that contain many other macro- and micronutrients. Little was known about the difference in protein metabolism when a food source isn’t consumed in its entirety.

Professor Nicholas Burd and a team of scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign carried out a study to find more answers on this subject. The main objective was to compare the whole-body and muscle protein metabolic responses after the intake of egg whites and whole eggs during exercise recovery.

The study enrolled 10 resistance-trained men who were 21 years old on average. Participants were asked to perform a single bout of resistance exercise. After their workout, men ate either egg white or whole egg both of which contained 18 grams of protein.

Scientists administered to participants infusions of two important amino acids called leucine and phenylalanine. These amino acids enabled scientists to measure precisely the level of proteins in men’s blood.

Findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[1] and they reveal that a common practice of throwing away the yolks to maximize dietary protein intake from egg whites is counterproductive.

Consumption of 18 grams of protein from egg whites and whole eggs was associated with major differences in how muscles build protein in exercise recovery. Scientists discovered that whole egg was fat better and more effective for muscle building and recovery than egg whites only.

Why Are Whole Eggs Better Than Egg Whites?

Egg Whites

The practice of eliminating the yolks came after realizing they contain cholesterol, so people automatically assumed it’s bad.

Egg yolk has been demonized for many years without a good reason because it’s a wonderful source of nutrients. What’s more, the restriction on dietary cholesterol has been removed and it is largely misunderstood.

The body needs a certain level of cholesterol to function[2] properly and when you consume it through foods such as whole eggs the liver decreases the production of cholesterol thus allowing you to maintain healthy levels of this waxy substance.

You’re probably wondering why are whole eggs better than egg whites if men consumed the same amount of protein. Ingestion of whole eggs resulted in greater stimulation[3] of myofibrillar protein synthesis than consumption of egg whites only.

More beneficial effects of whole eggs on muscle building and repair has nothing to do with the differences in energy content. The practice of adding an isolated protein source in the diet (such as egg whites) after exercise doesn’t contribute to protein synthesis.

Basically, the body is more able to utilize protein and boost protein synthesis if you eat yolk too rather than limiting yourself to egg whites.


The study revealed that consumption of the same amount of protein from whole eggs and egg whites doesn’t have the same impact on the body, in this case, muscle building and repair. Men who consumed whole eggs experienced greater benefits than their counterpart.

Whole eggs proved to be more effective because the body improved protein synthesis. Adding an isolated source of this nutrient into the diet doesn’t enhance protein synthesis as it is commonly believed.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on December 26, 2017 and Last Modified on December 12, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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