Yes, it makes a BIG difference whether you eat whole eggs or egg whites after training to pack on muscle, even if the amount of protein in grams is identical.
Study: Egg Yolks vs. Egg Whites 18 Grams after Lifting Weights
The difference in protein synthesis, when one eats 18 grams of whole eggs vs. egg whites after a muscle building workout, is significant, says a simple study.
The difference is 40 percent more protein synthesis, even when both study groups consumed the same amount: 18 grams.
The report (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 2017) recommends ditching the habit of chucking the yolks when preparing the post=workout omelet or fried egg sandwich.
“Egg whites are great for building muscle because they’re nearly a pure source of protein, while also having little to no fat or carbs,” says Sara Artigues, registered dietician and certified personal trainer at All Inclusive Health, a nutrition planning and personal training studio in New Orleans.
“However, egg yolks also provide about 2.7 gm of protein [each] with extra nutrients that can be even more beneficial to muscle growth.
“While whole eggs contain more calories from fat than protein, this dietary fat can slow protein absorption.
“Thus, eating the whole egg may help you feel more satisfied longer.
“The egg yolk contains various beneficial vitamins like B’s, A, D, E and K as well as calcium and iron.” The yolk also contains a potent antioxidant, selenium.
“This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting protein from isolated protein sources,” says the study paper.
Including the yolks will not make a bodybuilder or physique athlete gain fat or prevent getting cut for a competition.
If you’re worried about more egg yolks raising your bad cholesterol or adding plaque to your heart’s arteries — you may want to get regular lipid profiles and see if the addition of whole eggs worsens the profile.
Refined carbs are worse for your cardiovascular system than are whole eggs.
If you’re eating three whole eggs in a fried egg sandwich on Wonder white bread, you should be a lot more concerned about the bread.
• 10 young men trained with weights, then ate whole eggs or the whites.
• Either way, the protein content was 18 grams.
• Subjects received infusions of amino acids that allowed the researchers to measure the levels of amino acids in the subjects’ blood and muscles.
• The eggs that were used in this study were isotopically labeled with the amino acid leucine for precise tracking of the amino acid levels.
• Blood and muscle biopsy samples were taken multiple times to reveal where the amino acids, from the eggs, were showing up in the blood and muscles.
It’s About Protein Synthesis
It was greater in the participants who’d eaten the yolks – greater protein synthesis immediately after the weight training when compared to those who’d had only the whites.
Though some bodybuilders and physique athletes avoid yolks in the name of stripping body fat, they will want to seriously reconsider this move – and consider other ways to knock down the body fat percentage — such as cutting back on refined carbs or portion sizes of unhealthy food.
All Inclusive Health’s training services include fitness/body composition assessments, nutrition planning, running programs and customized programs for clients with disabilities or injuries.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.