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I recently watched a program on a bodybuilding website, and something in the diet plan struck me as quite weird.

It said, that in the breakfast, you should eat 8 egg whites, but no yolks. That struck me as odd, since you have to waste a lot of money to get just the whites. Later on, a discussion on a board turned to flame wars, over this issue. So, the question:

When training, should you also eat egg yolks, or just whites?

Is there a science behind this theory, or is it just plain imagination/tradition/etc. ?

  • Oh... and don't drink uncooked egg whites. It's not good for you. – Evan Plaice Mar 20 '11 at 19:39
  • @Evan: Could you specify a reason why it is not good ? Thanks :) – Steven Ryssaert Mar 21 '11 at 8:43
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    @Uw Concept Risk of salmonella seems like a good reason! :-) – G__ Mar 21 '11 at 13:21
  • :O Thank goodness Rocky Balboa has an iron barrel for a stomache! – Steven Ryssaert Mar 21 '11 at 13:42
  • @UW Like Greg said... Risk of salmonella exposure. Plus, is there any real proven advantage of drinking raw eggs over eating cooked eggs? Last I checked, cooked eggs are really good sources of protein. – Evan Plaice Mar 21 '11 at 17:58
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The egg whites are used for the muscle to recover, and grow. The amount of egg whites you "should" eat varies from person to person, and according to how intense you work out.

A very good alternative is taking egg whites as a powder, or drink shakes with whey. I will not post any particular brands here, but you should be able to find a lot of products online. The benefit here is that you don't "waste" the yolks, besides those nutrient powders contain a lot of other nutrients and minerals which improve muscle recovery after a workout.


Some images with nutritional information. Nutritional information on egg whites Nutritional information on egg yolks

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    I'd note also that you can get them in liquid form and use them just like eggs. – morganpdx Mar 17 '11 at 21:35
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    -1 Unclear. How will eight egg yolks "mess with your liver" in a way that's different from any other food? Is it the 272 calories? The 24g of fat? Something else? – J. Win. Mar 17 '11 at 22:02
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    @Winchester - The body forms cholesterol mainly in the liver. By eating an "overdose" on cholesterol ( yolks ) there is a chance for a desease named Hyperlipidemia , which causes - apart from other illnesses - a liver illness. It is not always the calories that are the big "baddie". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlipidemia – Steven Ryssaert Mar 18 '11 at 7:52
  • Cholesterol is harmful for vessels. That is the reason. And so mush yolks can cause allergic reaction. – Artic Mar 18 '11 at 14:49
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    @Artic certain types of blood cholesterol can be harmful for vessels (ratios of "good" to "bad" cholesterol and all that). But dietary cholesterol i.e. eating egg yolks has not been shown to affect blood cholesterol or be otherwise harmful to blood vessels. – G__ Mar 19 '11 at 22:40
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I don't see any reason to avoid the egg yolks; they have just as much protein as the whites (see nutrition facts in @Uw Concept's answer). The avoidance of egg yolks in almost every case stems back to the (false) theory that eating egg yolks damages one's blood cholesterol profile.

In reality, egg yolks have a lot of nutrients and just as much protein as a white.

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    The thing that worries me in yolks is the saturated fat amount and cholesterol... – Janis Peisenieks Mar 17 '11 at 14:46
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    @Janis Neither dietary cholesterol nor saturated fat have been shown to affect blood cholesterol in a negative way; this is a myth that's been perpetuated based on some bad science over the middle decades of the last century. Read either of Gary Taubes' books for more backing and explanation than you want! :-) – G__ Mar 17 '11 at 15:27
  • Good call Greg, hope to see this common sense answer rise to the top. – J. Win. Mar 17 '11 at 21:59
  • @Greg By the way, is it true that it is recommended to eat yolks raw? I know it's not good eating whites raw (I always get mild allergic reaction afterwards), but I like the yolks raw. – syockit Mar 21 '11 at 9:23
  • @syockit I don't know if I'd claim it's recommended. I haven't heard of any health benefits and there's the risk of salmonella... I wouldn't eat eggs or anything raw that comes out of the supermarket; maybe the odds are much lower if you get your eggs straight from a small farm with good practices. – G__ Mar 21 '11 at 13:19
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It features in Rocky therefore has all the associations related to that film. Egg yolks have lots of fat in, however egg whites are really just water and protein (about 90% water and 10% protein). They would be slightly cheaper than chicken if you don't mind eating 10 of them. Chicken however has a lot more protein as a percentage - 24% compared to 3%.

It'd be cheaper and less labor-intensive to simply eat protein shakes or chicken.

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