Are raw eggs good for bodybuilding? Well, you’ve probably heard it once, twice, or even ten times before, but you’re in luck because here’s another article about the incredible nutritional source that is the egg.
If you are looking for dietary suggestions on bodybuilding, few foods can be recommended more wholeheartedly than eggs. With 5 grams of fat versus 6 grams of protein per egg (large) and complete micro-nutrients (vitamins A, B12, D), eggs comprise nearly all of your body’s requirements without having to ingest anything else.
Raw eggs have always had my respect since they came into vogue decades ago as a dieting aide due to their high amount of leucine, as well as their convenience: just crack and go!
However, eggs fell out of favor in the ‘late 60’s when the American Heart Association announced a dietary recommendation that all individuals consume less than three whole eggs per week.
As it turns out, this was based on flawed science but the damage had been done and the humble egg faced reputational ruin!
But as you’re going to find out in this article… eggs are back with a vengeance!
We’ll take a closer look at raw eggs and find out that while they are the food of choice for those wanting to be seen as hardcore bodybuilders, in reality there are few reasons to justify raw eggs over their cooked counterparts.
Why Are Eggs Considered to Be Muscle Building Miracles?
Eggs are among the best foods for building muscle and strength because they contain all nine essential amino acids, including leucine, stimulating protein synthesis. Eggs also have high nutritional value and a favorable fatty acid profile (high levels of omega-3s) compared with most meat products.
In particular, eggs are rich in sulfur-containing amino acids that help your body detoxify itself naturally by producing glutathione within your liver cells. An antioxidant that boosts your immune system and reduces oxidative stress from exercise plus exposure to the sun, air, and pollutants.
This is why eggs are one of the best foods for building muscle and strength, whether they’re consumed raw or cooked.
It’s important to note that egg whites contain fewer micronutrients than whole eggs, so be aware of this and don’t neglect the yolk.
If you have food safety concerns but really want to consume raw eggs, then you may consider switching to pasteurized egg whites instead.
The health benefits of pasteurized egg white products are impressive, including immune system support and cancer protection due to high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin – antioxidants that fight free radical damage within your eyes.
However, you take them – raw, boiled, fried or scrambled – eggs will always pack a nutritional punch. And if you’re looking to build muscle and strength, then you owe it to yourself (and your wallet) to consider eggs as a primary source of protein.
Raw Eggs: The Good and the Bad
Raw eggs are undoubtedly nutritional powerhouses.
Many people believe that consuming eggs raw instead of cooked preserves their nutritional content so that they are even more beneficial. We’ll see whether this is true a little later on.
The salmonella scare of 1988 that effected eggs in the UK has meant that for a long time people have been petrified of eating raw eggs!
However, in Britain eggs have been declared safe, with the UK Food Standard Agency saying that “the risk of salmonella is now so low you needn’t worry. And that’s true whether you’re a fit healthy adult, or whether you’re pregnant or elderly or young.”
So let’s look briefly at the key factors in deciphering whether raw eggs are good or bad.
Speed of Digestion
Even though raw eggs are considered to be slower digesting than cooked eggs, the speed at which raw eggs are digested is still very fast. This makes eggs – raw or cooked – a great way to spike amino acid levels throughout your body quickly, ideal for post-workout recovery
Food Safety Issues with Raw Eggs
Food safety issues with raw eggs center around two main risk factors: salmonella (which we covered earlier) and cholesterol oxidization.
The first one is especially prevalent in factory-farmed chickens that live in crowded conditions that encourage bacterial growth on their skin and inside their bodies. This bacteria can get into the egg if the outer shell is cracked or compromised during processing.
If you’re buying local, organic eggs in the shell, this reduces your risk but for extra protection, consider treating them like raw meat when handling. When transporting or storing, keep them cold and away from sunlight- especially if you’re taking them with you to a cookout or picnic.
As for cholesterol oxidization, this simply means that during the cooking process, the high heat alters the cholestoral to an oxidized form of cholesterol which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Not something you need to worry about when quaffing raw eggs!
Raw vs. Cooked Eggs: Which One Is Better?
Whether whole eggs are better raw or cooked depends on the time of day and your goals. Given that a cooked egg will deliver more nutrients than a raw egg, I’d certainly always recommend your breakfast eggs are cooked.
However, in the evening after a hard workout, rather than reach for a pan to fry or boil some eggs, it may be far more convenient to chuck a couple of raw eggs into your blender and whizz up a smoothie.
What’s The Best Time Of Day To Eat Eggs?
The best time to eat eggs is first thing in the morning when the body is craving protein, or post-workout. Both of these times will ensure that your body takes advantage of their amino acid profile for maximum muscle-building purposes.
Pairing your eggs with some carbs, such as a peice of toast, will also help to slow down digestion. This is why many people choose to have their eggs first thing in the morning before they are active during the day.
Having an egg with breakfast consisting of fruit or veggies will also help to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the morning, and in so doing, combatting a common cause of fat gain.
If you prefer to skip breakfast, but can’t hold on to lunch, then eggs can also be an ideal snack to keep hunger pangs at bay before your next main meal.
Any way you choose to have them, you can be confident that eggs first thing in the morning is a great way to give your body a protein boost as well as a nutritional kickstart before your digestive fire revs up for the day.
But don’t just think of eggs as a breakfast item because they also make a perfect nighttime snack given that they are rich in tryptophan which may help you sleep!
Are Raw Eggs Good for Bodybuilding?
There’s no doubt that whole eggs are probably your best choice when it comes to building muscle. Eggs provide amino acids over a more extended time and as we’ve seen, they can be eaten at any time throughout the day, depending on your activity levels and overall goal.
Eggs are cheap and easy to prepare, so they’re worth trying whether you’re new to bodybuilding or have been at it for years. If possible, make sure the eggs come from organic free-range chickens who roam outdoors, getting their nutrients from grass instead of cheap processed feeds, that may be full of hormones and antibiotics.
However, as you may have gathered by now there isn’t really an advantage to consuming eggs raw over cooked.
On balance the nutrient availability is superior in cooked eggs, but there are certain nutrients that are higher in raw eggs.
If you haven’t tried eating raw eggs before, I’d recommend starting withwith just one mixed into a smoothie. Give it a couple of days before trying again – just to make sure your body is happy with them.
And, as I keep saying, make sure they come from organic free-range chickens.
Would I Recommend Them?
So we’ve looked at whether raw eggs are superior to cooked eggs and the overall answer is that they are not.
Cooked eggs are nutritionally more bioavailable and there is less chance of becoming ill with salmonella poisoning than if you were to consume raw eggs – even though that risk is very low anyway.
Sure, if you’re short on time and are looking for a nutritionally dense snack to build some muscle then whiz up a raw egg smoothie.
But for most of the time, for most people, a boiled or scrambled egg is the superior option – just don’t cook them for too long!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this egg-cellent answer to the question of whether raw eggs are good for bodybuilding and I nearly made it to the end without an awful egg pun! Sorry!