Eggs are one of the most polarizing whole foods out there. There are those who believe in their complete ability to deliver a ‘complete protein’ while their critics suggest that they raise cholesterol levels and the yolk should be discarded due to it’s high fat levels.
"There's a lot of stress on protein nutrition in modern society, and research is showing that we need more protein in the diet than we once thought to maintain health," says Nicholas Burd, a University of Illinois professor of kinesiology. "As world population grows, we need cost-effective and sustainable strategies for improving the use of protein in the diet."
This recognition lead Burd and his team towards researching the most effective use of the humble egg in recovery and muscle building. Should we be eating the whole egg, or just the white in the search for greater muscle mass?
In their study, the team took muscle biopsies, blood samples and amino acid levels from 10 young male subjects. The men were put through resistance training sessions and then ate either whole eggs or egg whites, each serving containing 18 grams of protein. Through the samples, the researchers were able to determine how effective the protein synthesis in muscles in each case.
The results were overwhelmingly in support of eating the whole egg as a source of muscle recovery and muscle building post-exercise. The scientists discovered that the protein synthesis response was 40 per cent higher in those consuming whole eggs.
"We saw that the ingestion of whole eggs immediately after resistance exercise resulted in greater muscle-protein synthesis than the ingestion of egg whites. This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting one's protein from isolated protein sources," said Burd.
The team goes on to explain that yolks also house muscle building protein, along with other vital nutrients and chemical that assist in the muscle building process, elevating our body’s ability to absorb and effectively use the available protein.