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Egg Whites or Whole Eggs for Muscle Building?

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Here’s more evidence that whole foods are the winning choice for athletic success. University of Illinois researchers gave resistance-trained men either three whole eggs (yolk plus whites) or just egg whites after two separate bouts of resistance exercise and then measured rates of muscle protein synthesis. Though each option had identical protein volume—18 g—the men built about 40% more muscle after eating whole eggs than they did with egg whites alone, according to research in the December 2017 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Fat and nutrients in egg yolks may allow stressed muscles to use high-quality egg-white protein more efficiently for muscle recovery and building.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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