Eggs, Protein Usage, And You.

Who am I and what have I done with Skyler?

In addition to being insanely busy with grad school and doing things like hiking out to Los Angeles to check in on our studio-in-a-skyscraper, I’ve just not been as motivated to write as I’ve been in the past. I figured out why: I took myself too seriously. By that I mean that, when I said I was going to do a research review, I got all Alan Aragon about the whole thing. Alan is a great guy but I don’t think, write, or talk like Alan so why should my research reviews sound like his?

If you wanted dry science you can go to other blogs for that. I like to inform in the context of stories and metaphors. I don’t even talk in words and sentences in real life but rather in stories and parables. Really, ask my wife.

Does that mean you’re not getting a research review? Not at all; in fact I have to write a damn 10 page research review for a research methods class. I’ll just post the thing up here when I’m done. It might not cover all 10 topics of the biomarkers of fitness through aging but it will cover a whole lot of them. Anything left will get a couple blog posts because I find it all so very fascinating, if only for selfish, selfish reasons.

So what does this all have to do with eggs?

Keith and I were having a discussion the other day about a workout day shake that I’ve been making, “Food in a Blender, “ which comes from the dirty wino Dallas of the Whole9 fame. The recipe calls for raw eggs and Keith cited the fact that raw egg protein is not as bio-available on the whole compared to just the yolk, likely because of a nasty little inhibitor of the digestive enzyme trypsin. He clearly got this from Chris Masterjohn, which I know because he told me.

Masterjohn is right that in the particular study shows a drastic decrease in protein utilization of raw eggs versus cooked eggs. A ~49% decrease in protein absorbed versus ingested is a huge number. Here’s the thing about studies: they can be repeated and refined and that’s what the same researchers did the following year. The second time around the researchers found only a 35% of the protein escaped digestion when raw compared to 5% cooked. Still a lot of protein lost but here’s the thing: a yolk averages 2.7g of protein while the white averages 3.6g of protein.

To put it another way, would you rather have 65% of the possible available protein or 95% of only 46% of the available protein? Even if the white does inhibit some of the protein absorption it is not enough of a problem using the figures from either study (e.g. 90% of 46% of the protein vs. 51% of 100% of the protein) to go through the hassle of separating the white from the yolk. As an aside, I get a load of biotin in my diet; I’m not worried about 2 meals a week being negatively affected by avidin to try to avoid egg whites raw for this reason either.

In short: get good eggs from a great source and if you decide to knock them back raw know you’re still getting more complete protein than you would be ditching the white.

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9 thoughts on “Eggs, Protein Usage, And You.

  1. Augh! Foiled by math *again*. This is the bane of every liberal arts major, I suppose ;) This makes total sense, so you’ll be happy to know that I’m back to chugging the the thing, whites and all (ala Rocky). And this makes *me* happy because I don’t have to f&*% with separating the damn yokes anymore. Oh happy day!

    And yes, folks — he’s does really speak in parables. Very profound…almost Jesus-like, I must say ;) In fact, he might one day be canonized as the “messiah of swole”.

    Good post, bro. Thanks for clearing up the egg white issue for me. And saving me precious time in the kitchen.

  2. I saw this studies referenced in several blogs already and I always wonder why never anybody points out that their test-meal wasn’t just 2-3 whole eggs but “100g of egg white with one(!) yolk”.
    Who knows what percentage of protein will be really lost for the real deal (one whole egg, white and yellow in the ratio nature inteded), if any?

    • Great points Franco! I wanted to deal strictly with the useability of the white vs. the yolk but I did see the ridiculous white:yolk ratio.

  3. That study was done on only 5 “ileostomy patients”, people who’ve had their colons surgically removed. This may or may not be a factor in their ability to absorb proven from raw eggs.

  4. The lipid hypothesis is completely valid. Once something reaches the statud of a theory it has enormous evidence. Cholesterol is a major contributor to cornary artery disease. The studies are clear on PubMed.

    You should never have anymore than about seven eggs per week, if that. Harvard says up to seven eggs a week is harmonious with health. Seven eggs in a single day is terrible for your heart and vasuclar system. Chris M. is a crank. He knows very little about cholesterol, and chooses to cherry pick studies.

    You don’t want to be the smartest man in the cemetery. The American Heart Association. Did you ever hear of it? You Weston A. Price cranks will be sorry you did not listen to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. If he is a good enough doctor to advise coronary heart disease patient , former president Bill Clinton, than he is a good enough doctor for anybody.

    • Off the soapbox, Michael. Nowhere in my post do I mention anything about egg consumption and heart disease but since you flew in here half-cocked that’s the next post I’ll be writing. Thanks for being my muse.

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