In our first lesson, we described the benefits of whey protein concentrate (WPC) and the ways you can tell if your protein powder contains a quality source of WPC, with WPC80 being the highest grade whey protein for your buck. This time around, we’re going to tackle another form of protein consumed in many diets: egg protein.
Before we delve into the specifics, let’s talk about why some people turn to egg protein. Certainly, if one has a dairy allergy, egg protein may provide a viable alternative to whey. Like whey, egg protein is relatively fast absorbing and could thus be viewed as a suitable alternative for those who cannot tolerate whey.
However, what we’re seeing more and more is that egg protein is being consumed by people without any special needs, simply because marketing has led them to believe that egg protein is a superior protein source. And even worse, people are trying to be like Rocky and drink raw eggs or egg whites for a quick protein solution. NOT GOOD!
Egg white protein has been known to have poor bioavailability prior to cooking. In a human study comparing cooked and uncooked eggs, it was shown that raw eggs only have around 50% bioavailability! . So if you want to continue to drink raw eggs for protein, either double up the eggs or start counting half the protein. And please do that “hardcore raw egg drinking” guy at the gym a favor and tell him to start cooking his eggs. It’s not hardcore…it’s inefficient.
One big concern here is many diets today are based on macros or at the very least, hitting a certain number of grams of protein per day. If you have been drinking your eggs and assuming you are getting 100% of the protein on the label…then you probably have been falling short on your protein goal, and your macros!
Egg protein powder is made by taking raw egg whites, pasteurized them, and then drying them into a powder. Unfortunately there is no research that we are aware of comparing the bioavailability of pasteurized egg protein to raw non-pasteurized eggs or cooked eggs. Because of this, we do not include any egg protein powder in Select Protein. We like to be 100% certain of our protein sources.
There is more than one way to pasteurize eggs and egg protein, so there may be some methods more effective than others. We expect whichever method uses higher heat or heat for a longer period of time to yield a more bioavailable protein.
There are many theories as to why exactly raw eggs are only 50% bioavailable. Some suggest that the heat that is applied to cooked eggs causes chemical changes in the protein that make them more bioavailable for humans. This theory certainly makes sense. Others suggest that there may be compounds in raw eggs that prevent proper bioavailability, and when they are cooked these compounds are removed.
Besides the poor bioavailability, raw egg protein has its own host of side effects. For instance, when eggs aren’t cooked a substance called avidin is not deactivated in the egg, and avidin is known to bind the critical vitamin “biotin” with high affinity. Therefore, consuming large amounts of raw eggs for protein long-term could lead to a biotin deficiency, as avidin binds to the biotin and doesn’t allow the body to absorb it.
And if you’ve ever experienced the “protein farts” from consuming low grade whey protein, prepare for a whole new animal after consuming egg protein powder, because eggs are rich in sulfur which will give your gas some truly noxious fumes!
Help others stop chugging raw eggs for gains with the information you have learned from this protein lesson. Save money as a consumer while optimizing your gains as an athlete, bodybuilder, or fitness fanatic.