A bodybuilding diet that packs lean muscle draws bodybuilders and those who train for weightlifting competitions. And one of the most popular foods they include in their diet is the egg.
While there’s no question that eggs are a nutritious slam dunk, some bodybuilders prefer to consume eggs raw rather than cooked. Meanwhile, some bodybuilders add raw eggs to their smoothies and protein shakes.
But why do bodybuilders eat raw eggs, anyway? Is it even safe to consume raw eggs? Read on to find out.
7 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Eat Raw Eggs
1. Raw Eggs Are High in Protein
Eggs are one of the best protein sources, and they contain all the amino acids that a bodybuilder needs to gain strength and size. Moreover, some protein powders use protein from eggs.
Additionally, protein is essential in bodybuilding because it contains nitrogen and sulfur required by every cell in the body. Research suggests that taking protein about 30 minutes before a workout may prime your body with the nutrients you need for recovery and growth.
Raw vs. cooked eggs – Protein content
Whether you consume the egg raw or cooked, it still contains the same amount of protein (6.24 g.) and fats.
However, cooked eggs are even easier to digest, safer for health, and taste better than raw. A small study in the Journal of Nutrition disproves the belief that raw eggs deliver protein to the muscles faster than the traditional cooked egg.
The same study revealed that only 50% of the protein was absorbed in raw eggs than 90% in cooked eggs.
2. Raw Eggs Contain Muscle Building Compounds
One large chicken egg already contains many nutrients that a bodybuilder needs. The US Department of Agriculture shares that each egg contains 4.35 grams of total fat, 72 calories, and 6.24 grams of protein.
In addition, the protein minimizes damage to the muscle after an exercise and increases muscle size. A single large egg likewise contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids control cellular growth and hormone regulation in the body.
Furthermore, eggs themselves contain several nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, whether they are consumed cooked or raw.
3. Simply for Ease
Diet is so important in bodybuilding. Eating the right foods in the right amount provides your muscles with enough nutrients to grow stronger and bigger and recover from workouts.
However, the amount of time spent on food preparation can be extensive. Eating out can also be tricky. Therefore, some bodybuilders sometimes crack a raw egg into their protein shake for ease.
Most protein shake recipes you’ll find even often say, add two cups of liquid egg whites. That’s why stores sell liquid egg whites because of the belief that they’re safer for consumption.
Nevertheless, professional bodybuilders often leave nothing to chance. This means planning their meals for the week and keeping things as simple as possible.
4. Misconception That Cooking Destroys Nutrients
Some fans of the raw foods diet believe that cooking breaks apart cellular walls and fibers to release nutrients that would have been otherwise available in raw foods.
This belief applies to some bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. They also claim that cooking destroys the natural enzymes in foods, reducing the “life force” and the nutritional content in “living” and raw foods.
Therefore, raw food diet supporters eat mostly or all raw food. However, on their road to good health and muscle-building, eating raw eggs or a raw vegan diet may be a U-turn. It’s because these dieters could reduce the type of food they consume.
5. Some Bodybuilders Are Just “Following the Crowd”
As ridiculous as it may seem, some bodybuilders eat raw eggs because they’re just following the pack. They are just following what others are doing without fully realizing the benefits and risks of their decisions or actions.
6. Raw Eggs Contain Vitamins and Minerals
I mentioned this topic earlier when highlighting the muscle-building benefits of raw eggs, but I’ll focus on it now for better appreciation.
Raw eggs are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. They contain essential amino acids and fatty acids that increase your metabolism. They’re also a great source of Vitamin D, A, Potassium, Phosphorous, and Calcium.
Moreover, eggs contain “good” cholesterol, or HDL, which protects your heart from bad cholesterol (LDL). Keep in mind, however, that eggs have both types of cholesterol, so you should still limit taking it.
7. Raw Eggs Boost Energy
Eating raw eggs boosts your energy. In addition to containing high-quality protein, eggs are rich in oxygen-storing iron.
Raw egg yolk and white protein contribute to power, energy, and strength. It does not cause surges in insulin and blood sugar, so it’s a sustained and steady energy source. The eggs’ B vitamins, folate, riboflavin, and thiamin content are also important for energy production.
Meanwhile, iron plays a significant role in energy production. Low iron levels in the body may result in reduced stamina, increased irritability, and lack of focus. All these give a good reason for raw egg consumption.
In short, raw eggs are better than egg whites. So, if you want to take full advantage of the food’s energizing effects, include yolks in your diet.
Risk of Eating Raw Eggs
Proper egg preparation is necessary to prevent illness. Eating raw eggs and other live poultry exposes you to risk of getting sick because of the Salmonella bacteria. It’s rare – one in 20,000 eggs.
However, you don’t want to be that person who eats that raw egg with salmonella. You can prevent this danger by cooking the eggs by steaming, baking, frying, boiling, or scrambling.
Who should avoid eating raw eggs
Anyone with a weak immune system should avoid eating eggs raw. Additionally, we do not recommend that children, pregnant, and older people eat or drink raw eggs, especially if the eggs have not been pasteurized.
Pasteurized eggs have undergone pasteurization (treated with mild heat) to the point that it kills the dangerous bacteria without cooking the eggs themselves.
Tips For Handling Raw Eggs
The FDA has put regulations to prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during storage and shipping. However, consumers play a crucial role in preventing the foodborne illness linked to eggs.
Here are ways to protect yourself and your family when buying, preparing, storing, and serving eggs:
– Buying – As much as possible, buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerated case or refrigerator. If the raw eggs are in an egg crate, ensure the shells are not cracked and clean.
– Storing – Store eggs promptly at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Use these eggs for the best quality within three weeks, and only keep raw egg dishes for a day.
– Preparing – Wash hands, equipment, utensils, and work surfaces with soapy, hot water before and after they come in contact with raw egg-containing foods or the raw eggs. Also, cook eggs until both the white and yolk are firm. If possible, scrambled eggs should not be runny.
Other Recommended High-Protein Sources For Bodybuilding
Here are other high-protein sources to reach your body composition and fitness goals:
- Chicken breast (leanest part of the chicken) – It has a high protein-to-fat ratio (19:1) and is an excellent source of lean protein. Additionally, its protein quality ranks with other protein heavyweights, like beef and eggs.
- Red meat provides high-quality protein, supports muscle growth, and curbs hunger. It likewise contains conjugated acid, which helps lose your belly fat.
- Greek yogurt – This protein source is suitable for bodybuilding because it improves muscle growth and keeps you full longer. Yogurt is also high in calcium and low in fat, making it a viable post-workout food.
- Tuna – The Omega-3 fatty acids in tuna reduce inflammation in the body, which increases muscle recovery and eventually leads to muscle growth.
- Swiss cheese – Swiss cheese is exceptionally high in calcium and protein. In addition, it offers minerals like phosphorus and zinc and vitamins like A and B12. When our bones are healthy, it contributes to healthy muscles and blood flow to the body.
- Salmon – This fish species is a tremendous protein source loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Protein and omega-3 fatty acids repair muscle tissue and keep your hunger in check. Plus, you can cook it in several ways.
- Quinoa – This great post-workout food is high in fiber, protein, iron, and magnesium. In addition, quinoa contains nine amino acids necessary for building muscle. Not to mention, it is also easy to digest because it’s gluten-free.
- Protein powder – Using protein powder tones muscle, makes hormones and enzymes, and repairs tissue. Research also supports that protein supplementation increases strength training workout (weight and resistance training) gains in terms of strength and muscle size.
- Lentils, chickpeas, beans – One cup of lentils already contains 18 grams of protein, making it effective for bodybuilders, especially vegetarians. Additionally, lentils contain micronutrients, including zinc, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B.
Meanwhile, chickpeas have high levels of fiber, which is good for digestion. Lastly, beans fuel and refuel muscles from a hard workout.
- Tilapia – Tilapia is good for bodybuilders as it adds protein without too much fat, unlike red meat or chicken thighs. This freshwater fish contains minerals and vitamins, like phosphorus, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin B12, choline, and niacin.
FAQs About Raw Eggs in BodyBuilding
Is eating raw eggs good for building muscle?
Yes, consuming raw eggs is good for building muscle. Raw egg yolks and the white part of the egg stimulate muscle repair and growth. However, you would still get the same benefits when eating cooked eggs.
What are the benefits of drinking raw eggs?
The main benefit of drinking raw eggs is that they’re high in protein, vital for muscle repair and growth. Eating protein-rich foods is essential for bodybuilders.
Raw eggs also contain other vitamins and nutrients, like choline and zinc, that are beneficial for muscles. Another benefit of drinking raw eggs is that they’re low in carbohydrates.
Keeping your carb intake low is essential in muscle building, allowing your body to use protein for muscle building rather than turning it into glucose.
Is it healthy to eat raw eggs?
Raw eggs are generally harmless, without the presence of Salmonella bacteria. It can be slightly disgusting to some people because of the flavor, but raw eggs are just protein.
Still, it’s better to avoid the risk since both raw and cooked eggs contain the same amount of protein. The digestibility of protein in eggs is enhanced when cooked. Digestibility of raw egg protein amounted to 51.3 +/- 9.8%, while for cooked egg protein, 90.9 +/- 0.8, according to a clinical trial.
However, if you still prefer to consume raw eggs, go for the pasteurized ones. These eggs are gently heated to lessen the risk of foodborne illness.
Is it good to eat raw eggs after a workout?
Yes, eating raw eggs is good after a workout because they can be difficult to digest. If you have trouble digesting food, you may feel bloated or nauseated – neither are conducive during your workout.
Moreover, the protein and carbohydrates from eggs are also good for post-workout refueling. The protein repairs and builds muscle, while the carbohydrates replenish the lost glycogen. Glycogen is a stored form of glucose used during an intense workout.
Still, there’s a risk of Salmonella bacteria being present in raw eggs, especially on the eggshell exterior.
How many eggs can you safely consume in a day?
For most healthy adults, you can safely eat one to two eggs per day, depending on how much other cholesterol is in your diet. Healthy and active people may also consume three eggs a day.
Your tolerance, medical history, and lifestyle determine the right amount of eggs you can eat in a day. That’s why determining the number of eggs you can safely consume isn’t simple.
The Final Word
Eggs are a good source of nutrients for muscle gains, but there’s no need to eat them raw.
It may not be harmful in the short term, but you can experience negative effects if you do it in the long term. Furthermore, the risk of getting sick from eating raw eggs outweighs the benefits.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.