Without a doubt, egg whites are a great source of protein. In fact, they are one of the most overlooked protein sources available to those who are heavy into fitness. As we all should know, protein is very much required by our bodies in order to support recovery and repair (as well as growth) of taxed muscles in the gym. Even if you’re only running to get in shape (with a good diet, of course), you still need to be protein-focused because you want to retain whatever muscle mass you may have. A mistake many people make is disregarding overall daily protein intake because they believe they don’t need it (speaking to the running crowd here!), when that’s completely untrue. You always want a good portion of your diet to be protein based, because it’s not weight loss but fat loss that is key. Keep that in mind.
Moving on, when it comes to actual protein sources, whey usually takes the cake. It is the most popular protein to buy when it comes to supplements like protein shakes, and we can’t blame it for its status. It is a complete protein and has a great biological value (how much of it is used by the body compared to how much you ingest). However, there’s an overlooked contender on the market who matches those stats, and more. Not only is protein from egg whites praised for both its biological value and its “completeness”, but it also scores the absolute highest when it comes to the Protein Efficiency Ratio (ability of that protein to assist in growth) – which is a 3.9, compared to whey which sits at 3.2.
The reason I mention egg “white” protein instead of egg protein, is not because the yolk protein is any different, but simply for the fact that the egg yolk does not provide statistically the same dose of protein as the egg white portion in relation to the calories consumed. As you can tell from the description of this article, we’re talking about quality protein intake “while staying lean” (what I really mean by this is, low calorie). Egg whites have a bit more protein per egg (3.5g) than egg yolks (2.5g) and they range from 15-20 calories, whereas egg yolks range from 50-65 calories because of the fat content (mostly good fats though! – Fats Good, Fats Bad?). To note, if you have no problem consuming a larger portion of calories, eat the whole egg. It’s all about what you are attempting to achieve. If you’re looking for a great but low calorie protein source, eat some egg whites. If you’re looking for an overall great protein source, eat the whole egg. The choice is yours.
Egg protein is often called the “gold standard” protein source because it is the standard by which all other proteins are measured. If that doesn’t give it great credibility, I really don’t know what will! They are not digested as quickly as whey (if you want an order based on speed, it’d go: whey/egg/casein), but they are the perfect source of protein for those who are lactose intolerant or those avoiding dairy (whey/casein) for other reasons (ex. acne). Although they aren’t up to par with casein when it comes to slow digestibility, they are still a good source to have before bed as they are no whey either! Being right smack in the middle, you can get the best of both worlds. Good Luck!