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The case against egg whites

THE SCIENCE

After a resistance training session, you’ll build more muscle if you eat whole eggs rather than just egg whites, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

EXPERT INSIGHT

Many athletes throw away their egg yolks or buy cartons of egg whites because they want to maximize their protein intake while cutting back on fat. But it’s likely the combination of specific nutrients that are found in whole eggs (and not in egg whites alone) that helps achieve gains in the gym. “Our data is showing that a combination of dietary protein, fats, and vitamins may create a food synergy that help the post-workout muscle-building response,” says study author Nicholas A. Burd, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Many individuals fail to realize that the yolk is protein-dense and contains healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.”

THE BOTTOM LINE

“It is important to keep in mind that the post-workout muscle-building response is a prolonged process; it can last up to two days after exercise, depending on the intensity level performed,” Burd says. “I recommend that individuals focus on eating nutrient-rich and protein-dense foods (i.e. whole eggs) to gain the majority of their protein intake, as opposed to isolated protein sources (i.e. egg whites).”