Along with chicken breast and protein shakes, egg whites (not the yolks) are one of the primary protein sources in a bodybuilder’s diet.
So, why do bodybuilders eat egg whites only? Egg whites are high protein and low-fat, helping with muscle growth without impacting a bodybuilder’s body composition. Eating only egg whites also avoids saturated fat and increased inflammation from the yolk.
With that said, yolks are packed with choline, which has a lot of benefits for bodybuilders (explained in more detail below). So if you’re a bodybuilder looking to only eat egg white, you need to make sure to include other rich sources of choline, such as cod, in your diet.
In this article, I will provide:
- 5 reasons bodybuilders eat egg whites only
- 2 drawbacks of eating only egg whites
- Who would benefit from eating only egg whites
- Whether you should be eating only egg whites
5 Reasons Bodybuilders Eat Egg Whites Only
The 5 reasons bodybuilders eat egg whites only are:
- Egg whites are a low-fat protein source
- Egg whites are a low-calorie, high-volume food
- Egg whites are more versatile than whole eggs
- Egg yolks may increase inflammation
- Egg yolks contain saturated fat
1. Egg Whites Are a Low-Fat Protein Source
Egg whites are high in protein which is necessary for bodybuilders to build muscle. Since it’s also low in fat, by eating egg whites only, you can get enough protein without impacting your body composition.
For a lean physique like most bodybuilders are looking for, research shows that we want to aim for 5g of protein for every 1g of fat. This will make sure you are getting the fat you need for healthy hormones while also getting enough protein to maximize muscle building.
Two eggs contain 11g of protein and 9g of fat. This is a ratio of 5-to-4 (5g of protein to 4g of fat), quite a bit off from the recommended range. Egg whites on the other hand are only protein and therefore well within the desired range.
Consuming 4 egg whites for every 1 whole egg consumed is a great way to stay within this desired range.
- Learn more about other foods that increase your protein sources without increasing your fat intake
2. Egg Whites Are a Low-Calorie, High Volume Food
An entire cup of egg whites, which will increase in volume when cooked, is only 127 calories making it a great choice for bodybuilders when cutting to help them feel more physically full.
When cutting, your calories are lower than what you are burning in a day which is likely to cause hunger throughout the day. The best way to minimize this hunger is to choose foods that are high in volume but low in calories to help you feel more physically full.
Egg whites are very low calorie for the volume, one cup is only 127 calories.
In comparison, two whole eggs are roughly the same number of calories but are much physically smaller. Additionally, egg whites will further fluff up and increase in volume when cooking, helping you to feel much more physically full making it easier to stick to your diet.
3. Egg Whites Are More Versatile Than Whole Eggs
Egg whites are relatively flavourless meaning they can be used in both sweet or savoury recipes, this can help bodybuilders increase their protein consumption while also adding variety to their diet.
While many people use egg whites to make a savoury omelette, they can also be used in sweet recipes such as protein pancakes or added to oatmeal. This can be a great way for bodybuilders to satisfy sweet cravings while still ensuring they are getting sufficient protein.
This can be especially helpful for bodybuilders that are cutting as other sweet treats are high in calories and low in protein (like nutella). This can lead to exceeding your daily calories without hitting your protein goal, something that is not optimal for body composition.
It’s not just bodybuilders that are cutting that can benefit from sweet protein recipes, these are oftentimes more palatable for bodybuilders that are bulking and struggling to consume enough. Adding in a sweet protein-packed recipe after dinner can ensure you are getting the calories you need to build muscle while still enjoying your food.
4. Egg Yolks May Increase Inflammation
Egg yolks contain a high ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s which can increase inflammation making it more difficult for our body to adapt and recover post-workout.
There are two types of omega fatty acids, omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory.
Humans should generally be operating with a balanced 1-to-1 omega 3:6 ratio. However, eggs contain a higher ratio of omega 6s to 3s which can throw us off balance and lead to additional inflammation.
Why is this important to bodybuilders?
Well, inflammation is a normal part of weight training and allows for our bodies to adapt and recover.
However, if inflammation is too high you will notice a reduction in performance as your body is never able to fully recover. Therefore, as bodybuilders, we want to focus on getting our fats from foods high in omega 3 such as avocados.
- Check out my article on Are Avocados Good or Bad For Bodybuilders?
5. Egg Yolks Contain Saturated Fat
Eggs contain saturated fat which can impact your heart health and therefore performance in the gym. Saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease which is not optimal for a bodybuilder that is looking to optimize their physique.
The Canadian government recommends consuming less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.
For a bodybuilder on a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be 200 calories or 22g of fat from saturated sources. One egg contains 3.3g of saturated fat, meaning if you consume 3 eggs that is half your daily recommended intake.
By eating only egg whites, you can consume your fats from unsaturated sources such as nuts, seeds and olive oil reducing your risk for heart disease and keeping your body performing at its best.
There are some protein bars made out of egg whites. To learn more, check out: Are Protein Bars Good For Breakfast?
- Check out my article on Do Bodybuilders Eat Soy? (What NOT To Do)
Are There Drawbacks of Eating Only Egg Whites?
2 drawbacks of eating only egg whites are:
- Egg yolks are higher in micronutrients compared to egg whites
- Whole eggs are easier to consume on the go
1. Egg Yolks Are Higher in Micronutrients Compared to Egg Whites
Egg yolks are high in micronutrients, particularly choline. which is beneficial for bodybuilders. By eating only egg whites you are missing out on these benefits so it’s important to get those foods high in choline such as cod.
- Check out my article on Is Cod Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
Choline plays a key role in many important functions such as the conversion of fat in the liver for energy and the communication between your brain and muscles.
Choline is necessary to consume in your diet as your body cannot produce sufficient levels. However, the National Institute for Health found that most people in the US consume less than the recommended amount.
You may be wondering why this is important for bodybuilding.
Well, during exercise, the choline in your bloodstream is used up to perform these key functions. If you are deficient in choline, these processes will not function as well throughout your whole workout and you are likely to find a decrease in performance.
Bodybuilders that are eating just egg whites should ensure they are adding in other sources of choline, such as cod, to ensure optimal performance at the gym.
2. Whole Eggs Are Easier To Consume on the Go
Whole eggs, such as hard-boiled, are easier to consume on the go as a high protein snack or breakfast option compared to egg whites alone.
Finding high protein options for on the go in challenging and whole eggs hard-boiled eggs make for a better option compared to egg whites. Whole eggs can also be easily reheated with hot water while egg whites will generally become tough and rubbery.
If you are in a pinch and need to bring egg whites on the go, hard boiling eggs and scooping out the yolks is the best option. While this creates additional food waste, it can be a good option to use occasionally along with other portable protein sources such as protein shakes.
- Check out my article Can You Mix Whey Protein With Eggs? Benefits & How To Do It
Are Bodybuilders Only Eating Egg Whites When Cutting?
You may think that eating only egg whites is just for bodybuilders that are cutting, however, due to their high protein and low-fat content they are a staple in any bodybuilder’s diet even when maintaining and bulking.
Since egg whites are primarily protein, they are an easy way for all bodybuilders to hit their protein goal without going over their daily calories from the extra fat they are consuming. While this is helpful when cutting for fat loss, this is also helpful when bulking to maximize muscle growth.
As calories increase, it’s important to also increase the calories from protein to ensure your body has both the calories and protein it needs to repair and build muscle.
Adding low-fat protein sources such as egg whites can ensure bodybuilders bulking get the protein they need to maximize muscle growth.
- Related Article: Can I Eat Whole Eggs While Cutting (Yes, Here’s How)
Do Bodybuilders Really Waste The Yolk? What Do They Do With The Yolk?
Most bodybuilders purchase egg whites that are sold separately in cartons to prevent wasted egg yolks.
Purchasing whole eggs is not an efficient way to purchase your groceries if you are only planning to eat the egg whites.
Most bodybuilders will eat ½ cup to 1 cup of egg whites at a time, this would be 4-7 eggs worth of egg whites. If you’re eating this every day, you can imagine the number of egg yolks that you would be left with.
While many recipes use only egg yolks, they are generally baked goods that bodybuilders wouldn’t be consuming regularly. Therefore, it’s quite wasteful to purchase whole eggs.
Instead, I recommend opting for the cartons of egg whites that most grocery stores sell. These also provide the added benefit of allowing you to portion out the exact amount you need to fit your macros. A win-win if you ask me.
Check out our oatmeal egg white recipes for bodybuilders:
- Egg White Oatmeal Recipe For Bodybuilding (Easy & Tasty)
- Egg White & Oatmeal Protein Pancake For Bodybuilding
- Egg White Protein Shake (Made With 45g of Protein)
Should You Eat Egg Whites Only?
Yes, you should eat egg whites only if you are looking for a fat-free protein source to fill your macros. If you are looking to include egg yolks in your meal for some fat and nutritional benefits, it’s best to stick to a ratio of 4 egg whites per 1 egg yolk.
Egg whites are beneficial for bodybuilders that are cutting, maintaining or bulking to ensure they have sufficient protein without going over their daily calories from the additional fat that is found in egg yolks.
While including some whole eggs in your diet can be beneficial from the nutrient perspective, I recommend sticking to 4 egg whites for every 1 whole egg for optimal body composition.
- There are some protein bars made out of egg whites. To learn more, check out: Are Protein Bars Good For Breakfast?
Other Egg Resources
- Are Eggs Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
- 4 Eggs For Breakfast: Is It Healthy?
- Are Duck Eggs Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
- How Many Eggs Should I Eat Per Day To Gain Weight?
- Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Egg White Only? (5 Reasons)
Egg White Recipe Resources
- Bodybuilder’s Egg White Scramble (Bulking & Cutting Options)
- Egg White Omelette For Bodybuilding (High Protein)
- Egg Whites And Tuna Scramble (A Bodybuilder’s Favorite)
- Egg White French Toast (High Protein)
What To Read Next
Egg whites provide many benefits to bodybuilders, knowing these benefits and drawbacks can help us to make the best choice between whole eggs and egg whites based on our macro needs and goals.
Helms, E.R., Aragon, A.A. & Fitschen, P.J. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11, 20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.
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