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The Best Source of Protein, Unscrambled

What’s first, the chicken or the egg? That’s a no-brainer – the egg. Well that’s the answer if we are talking about which is the best source of protein for muscle gain. And these days a lot of people are talking about it.

Egg Protein - Unscrambled

If you're looking for a good source of protein without meat, the egg is a well known nutrition powerhouse. Each one contains 11 vitamins and minerals, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats), and is rich in antioxidants.

But it’s the protein found in egg that packs the biggest punch. In fact, egg protein is the common reference for which other proteins are measured against. This is because egg protein has a Biological Value (BV) of 100. Put simply, this means that almost 100% of the protein (there is some margin for error) is utilized by the body, which promotes the fastest possible lean muscle gains. Whey protein also has a BV of 100, whilst casein (milk) and beef protein have a BV of 80.

Do you know what is the difference between free range and caged eggs?

Is it bad to eat the egg yolk?

Personally, I say no, it’s not bad. But there are two sides to the coin.

The egg yolk contains almost half the total protein, the vast majority of vitamins and minerals, as well as the essential fatty acids. Big tick. But the yolk also contains cholesterol, which has got a pretty sticky reputation. The jury is still out on whether dietary cholesterol is bad or not.

The evidence suggests the effects of egg cholesterol on our serum (blood) cholesterol is minimal, especially when compared to health benefits of the other nutrients in the yolk. In any case you can chuck the yolk and just eat the egg white – but know that you’d be throwing out almost half the total protein in the egg. Sort of defeats the purpose.

Yogurt also has a lot of protein!

How do eggs compare to other protein sources as the best source of protein?

I’ve compiled a list of popular protein sources for fitness folks, comparing Cost (Table 1) and Calories (Table 2). The amount of protein is the constant – serve sizes that provide about 20g of protein (which is generally the amount your body can absorb at any one time).

Table 1. Cost

Food

Amount

Protein (g)

Energy (Calories)

Cost (USD)

Milk Powder (skim)

60g

22

210

$0.40

Egg (whole)

3 eggs

19

212

$0.74

Milk (skim)

20 oz (600mL)

22

215

$0.76

Whey Protein Isolate

17g

16

70

$0.90

Beef, poultry, seafood (raw)

120g

25

153

$1.86

Table 2. Calories (energy)

Food

Amount

Protein (g)

Energy (Calories)

Cost (USD)

Whey Protein Isolate

17g

16

70

$0.90

Beef, poultry, seafood (raw)

120g

25

153

$1.86

Milk Powder (skim)

60g

22

210

$0.40

Egg (whole)

3 eggs

19

212

$0.74

Milk (skim)

20 oz (600mL)

22

215

$0.76

You can see above that a whole egg is one of the cheapest sources of protein available. Skim milk powder can work out to be much cheaper, however the main protein is casein, which is not absorbed as well as egg protein.

The bottom line is if you’re aiming to bulk up and increase muscle mass, you need extra calories and the best protein. Whole eggs tick all of the boxes, are inexpensive, and full of other nutrients for optimal health.

The above table shows that whey protein isolate will provide you with the most protein for the least calories, and also at a low cost as well. Whole egg provides a much higher amount of calories, almost all of which are coming from the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

  • To get the most out of eggs, eat them after your train (the sooner the better).
  • Cooked over raw. They make a light & healthy afternoon snack.
  • Choose organic free-range eggs where possible, rather than caged (although the nutritional value is the same).
  • If you are aiming to bulk up and increase muscle mass, go for the yolk to get the extra calories and protein. The yolks are also packed full of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and folate.
  • Egg-breath is not cool, brush your teeth

Check out this interesting infographic I have found at share.upmc.com

Joe
 

Joe aims to “edutain” readers to make more informed fitness & food choices, and take back control of their lives. Especially those who have to sit all day in a 9 to 5 desk job.
He believes we will forever be bombarded with new foods, supplements, and dietary propaganda – designed to exploit those who are uninformed or struggling to keep up. No one should be left behind.
He’s also got a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, which he hopes gives him some cred. Oh and he always talks about himself in the third person…

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