Eggs are a constant source of research and differing opinions, as they are a staple food for millions of us, but much of the written information about eggs focuses on “ordinary” people and does not address than things like cholesterol. to heart disease, or just how many calories are inside the shell. In the world of bodybuilding, eggs represent a chance to accumulate protein and build muscle mass, so what we really want to know is how effective they are in terms of building muscle. But eggs are also made of both yolk and white, and trying to figure out the pros and cons of each can be more complex than trying to put Humpy Dumpty back together.
So here M&F takes a deep dive into what eggs mean to bodybuilders and athletes, considering how many eggs we should be eating and what to do with the yolks stuff.
Why are eggs so important to bodybuilders in the first place?
Guoda Karoblyte holds a degree in Food and Human Nutrition, a Masters in Diabetes and is currently studying for a Ph.D. in nutrition and metabolism. He also runsMetabolic cooking“Instagram account. Karoblyte says he views “metabolic” foods as those that positively impact metabolism, and he says eggs do the trick because they provide protein for muscle and tissue growth. Plus, he says eggs are nutrient-dense and offer plenty of vitamins and minerals. The yolk itself is rich in vitamins A, D, E, K and, like the egg white, is also rich in many B vitamins, including B12; essential for cell metabolism, red blood cell formation and nerve function.
“Eggs are a source of protein and therefore can be beneficial for body composition,” says Karoblyte. “High-protein diets stimulate muscle growth and promote fat loss, which benefits metabolic health.”
What are the benefits of egg yolks for bodybuilders?
For decades, bodybuilders and those looking to look “ripped” have tossed the egg yolk to the curb in an effort to cut the calories associated with the yellow stuff. Based on a medium-sized egg, the white contains about 15 calories, while the yolk contains a relatively hefty 52 calories. Those who studied “Bro Science” thought that since the egg white is rich in protein (10g per 100g) and is bulkier, they could afford to ditch the yolk although it is actually higher in protein (16.4g per 100g). (source: ) To add to the yellows’ woes, scientists in the 1950s began making assumptions about cholesterol content.
“Scientists were trying to figure out what exactly causes heart disease,” says Karoblyte. “The hypothesis was that cholesterol from food would raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which would build up in the arteries and cause plaque to form (by a process known as atherosclerosis). I completely disagree with this notion that eggs should be avoided to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, this recommendation is so outdated that even current dietary guidelines no longer list cholesterol as a nutrient of concern. We now know that dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol because most of our cholesterol is produced in the liver. The whole conversation about the causes of heart disease is also much more complex than “cholesterol clogs the arteries” because many different risk factors are involved.
“While so many people still vilify egg yolks because of their cholesterol content, many studies actually found that whole eggs had a positive effect on blood lipids, increasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. While cholesterol is a food that gets a bad rap, for bodybuilders it is essential and necessary for the production of anabolic hormones. macauley owen holds a master’s degree in sport and exercise nutrition. He is also a professional boxer with a record of 6-0-0. For him, the whole egg is king. “Our bodies need fat for bodily functions to work efficiently,” he told M&F. “Fats play a major role in transporting vitamins and maintaining hormonal regulation. Additionally, since the majority of the fats in eggs are unsaturated, the benefits come from things like anti-inflammatory effects and increased membrane fluidity, resulting in increased sensitivity to muscle protein synthesis after consumption. omega-3 fatty acids. The only time I would remove the yolk from an egg is when I was restricting my calories to make a specific weight class. In this case I would have 3-4 eggs but halve the yolks included. This lightens the load on my calorie goals while consuming a high quality protein source and getting a small amount of healthier fats.
Can eating eggs increase our testosterone levels? The whites and yellows have been found to increase testosterone, but the yolks even more so. “A study found that men who ate three whole eggs a day for 12 weeks, combined with a resistance training program, had increased testosterone levels compared to a group that ate six egg whites instead,” explains Karoblyte.
Testosterone is an important hormone for muscle growth and strength, but Karoblyte surprisingly points out that the higher level of testosterone in the yellow set did not result in more muscle mass compared to the white group. of egg. Work is ongoing in this limited area of research, but serves to show the value of egg white and egg yolk in terms of building muscle.
How many eggs can we safely eat?
“In 1968, the AHA recommended limiting whole eggs to no more than 3 per week due to the high cholesterol content of the yolk,” says Karoblyte. Of course, such a recommendation seems laughable now. Bodybuilders throw eggs like they’re old fashioned and legends like Jay Cutler is recorded saying he ate up to 140 egg whites a day…no small feat in the days when liquid egg whites weren’t available in bottles!
“We don’t have any studies showing that eating more than the typical 2-3 eggs a day poses no long-term health risks, but there’s also no good research to suggest that it is dangerous to go beyond that amount,” says Karoblyte. “My mantra is to assume whole foods are innocent until proven guilty, so putting a limit on the number of eggs we eat is not justifiable. It’s not like there’s a limit fixed for ultra-processed foods, so why would there be such a specific recommendation for one of the most nutritious foods?However, I wouldn’t advise everyone to go crazy with their egg consumption, because I am a proponent of keeping protein sources varied. Yet eating more eggs can definitely help people meet their protein needs. 25-30g of protein per meal is a good goal for most people. , or about 4-5 eggs This should be one of many meal variations.
It’s also important to note that eggs can raise levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) in some people (called hyperresponders), and high LDL levels are proposed to be a major culprit in the development of heart disease. However, egg yolk consumption proportionally increases “good” HDL cholesterol, keeping the LDL:HDL ratio unchanged (a much better predictor of heart disease than LDL levels alone). As mentioned earlier, eating eggs also increases the size of LDL particles, making them less likely to stick to artery walls.
So why do we so often hear in the media about studies that show eggs are linked to heart disease and diabetes? The studies cited in these articles on clickbait are said to be observational. Using this type of design in nutritional research has many flaws, and these types of studies can only detect associations, not what actually contributes to poor metabolic health. One of the main problems with observational research in nutrition is the healthy user bias, which means that people who avoid foods considered unhealthy (like eggs have been for so many years) also adopt many other healthy behaviors (like exercising more, sleeping better, managing stress), which makes interpreting the results very difficult.
Break the Egg Deal
So. Eating both egg white and yolk can increase testosterone levels, with current data suggesting the resulting muscle mass is about the same when eating a whole egg compared to egg whites. This is likely because while eggs help maintain testosterone levels, there are many factors at play that determine your overall hormonal and muscle state. While keeping it yolk will cause more calories to be consumed, data suggests it’s a great way to add vitamins and healthy fats to your diet, and it’s perfectly safe to eat at a healthy level. at least four to five eggs a day, and probably many more depending on your own nutrient needs and individual tolerance. You may never reach the amounts consumed by Jay Cutler, but opening a few more eggs should probably improve your performance considerably.