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Whole Eggs May Be More Effective Than Egg Whites for Muscle Synthesis

Protein is a common supplement for building muscle, but it seems that the type of protein you consume may determine how effectively your muscle regenerate. A recent study suggests that eating whole eggs may be more effective for muscle synthesis following resistance training than eating only egg whites.


Participants in the study included 10 young men who performed a single bout of resistance exercise and then ate either whole eggs or egg whites, both containing 18 g of protein. The eggs were developed for this study with isotopically labeled leucine for better tracking of where the amino acids ended up after ingestion. The researchers then administered infusions of stable-isotope-labeled leucine and phenylalanine to all of the participants, which allowed them to maintain and measure amino acid levels in their blood and muscles.


The researchers took repeated blood and muscle biopsy samples in order to determine where the egg-derived amino acids were appearing in the blood and in protein synthesis in muscles before and after resistance exercise and eating.


The researchers found that approximately 60-70% of the amino acids were available in the blood to build new muscle protein for both the whole eggs and the egg whites. However, when they examined protein synthesis in the muscle, they found that the whole eggs resulted in greater muscle-protein synthesis than egg whites alone.


Researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted the study. It was published in the December 2017 issue of the American Society for Nutrition.


Eggs contain a high amount of minerals, proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin D. Some researchers have even referred to them as a “perfect protein,” due to the nutrients people can get from them and their low-calorie content.

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