Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Egg Whites Only? (5 Reasons)

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To help understand why bodybuilders eat egg whites only, I talked with two bodybuilders, Agostino Russo and Mantas Rupšas (aka Montello). Below, I’ll share exactly why bodybuilders prefer egg whites over egg yolks and my recommendations as a nutrition coach for incorporating them into your diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Egg whites are nearly 100% protein, making them fantastic for muscle growth and recovery. They are also relatively low in calories (1 cup has 127 calories) but can be quite filling, which makes them perfect for bodybuilders on a cut.
  • Given their neutral taste, egg whites are versatile and can be added to sweet and savory recipes. A bodybuilding favorite is to add egg whites into oatmeal to boost the protein content and achieve a thicker consistency.
  • Egg whites lack an essential nutrient in the yolk, though––choline. This compound is crucial for energy metabolism, cognition, and workout performance. One way to increase your choline intake while limiting your fats is to consume one whole egg per four egg whites.

5 Reasons Bodybuilders Eat Egg Whites Only

reasons bodybuilders eat egg whites only

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, you can get enough protein by eating egg whites only without overshooting your fat target.

This is one of the biggest benefits for bodybuilder Agostino Russo, as he puts it,

“Egg whites are an efficient protein source for muscle building while maintaining a lean physique. They are rich in high-quality protein, containing a complete amino acid profile that aids in muscle repair and growth.” 

For a lean physique, like most bodybuilders are looking for, research suggests you should aim for five grams of protein for every gram of fat. 

This will ensure you get the fat you need for healthy hormones and enough protein to maximize muscle building. 

Two eggs contain 11g of protein and 9g of fat, a ratio of 5-to-4 (five grams of protein to four grams of fat), which is quite a bit off the recommended range. 

Egg whites, on the other hand, are nearly 100 percent protein and well within the desired range. 

Consuming four egg whites for every whole egg is a great way to stay within this ratio.

As coach Matt Weik puts it:

“If you don’t have egg whites in your diet, you are missing out. Not only are these little gems full of protein, but they are the purest form of protein and are also low in calories, low in carbs, have a negligible amount of fat, and contain no cholesterol.”

2. Egg Whites Are a Low-Calorie, High Volume Food

An entire cup of egg whites, which will increase in volume when cooked (they fluff up), is only 127 calories, making it an excellent choice for bodybuilders to feel more physically full when cutting. 

In comparison, two whole eggs are roughly the same number of calories but are physically smaller. 

3. Egg Whites Are More Versatile Than Whole Eggs

why do bodybuilders eat egg whites only

Egg whites are relatively flavorless, meaning you can use them in sweet or savory recipes. This can help bodybuilders increase their protein consumption while adding variety to their diet.

While many people use egg whites to make a savory omelet, they can also be used in sweet recipes such as protein pancakes or added to oatmeal. 

Sweet protein recipes can also be beneficial for bodybuilders on a bulk to add variety to their nutrition and get the necessary calories for healthy weight gain.

Russo notes,

“Egg whites can be easily incorporated into various meals, providing a convenient and adaptable protein source for bodybuilders like smoothies, pancakes, lean desserts, and soups.”

Adding a sweet protein-packed recipe after dinner can ensure you get 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 and affect muscle recovery. 

There are two types of omega fatty acids: omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, and omega 6s are pro-inflammatory

Humans should generally be operating with a balanced 1-to-1 omega 3:6 ratio. However, eggs contain a higher omega 6s to 3s ratio (the ratio can be as high as 19 to 1), which can throw us off balance and lead to additional inflammation. 

Here’s a quick tip from health and nutrition writer Kris Gunnars:

“It’s a good idea to buy pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs, which are higher in omega-3s, compared to eggs from hens raised on grain-based feeds.”

5. Egg Yolks Contain Saturated Fat

Eggs yolks contain saturated fat, which you should limit to less than 10% of your calories, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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 three eggs provide half your daily recommended intake. 

By eating only egg whites, you can consume fats from unsaturated (healthy) sources such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil. 

Are There Drawbacks of Eating Only Egg Whites?

drawbacks of eating only egg whites

1. Egg Yolks Are Higher in Micronutrients Compared to Egg Whites

Egg yolks are high in micronutrients, particularly choline, which is beneficial for bodybuilders. 

Choline plays a crucial role in many vital functions, such as converting fat in the liver for energy and promoting healthy signaling between your brain and muscles. 

Consuming choline is necessary as your body cannot produce sufficient levels. This may be particularly important for bodybuilders and athletes. 

However, the National Institute for Health found that most people in the US consume less than the recommended amount:

“In adults, the average daily choline intake from foods and beverages is 402 mg in men and 278 mg in women.”

For reference, the recommended daily choline intake is 550 mg for men and 425 mg for women.

During exercise, the choline in your bloodstream supports your performance and aids in muscle recovery. 

If you are deficient in choline, these processes may not occur as well throughout your whole workout and affect your energy levels and performance. 

Bodybuilders eating just egg whites should add 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.

Whole eggs can 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 an excellent option to use occasionally, along with other portable protein sources such as protein shakes.

Do Bodybuilders Only Eat Egg Whites When Cutting?

You may think that eating only egg whites is just for bodybuilders who 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 easy for all bodybuilders to hit their protein goal without exceeding their daily calories or fat target. 

As bodybuilder and coach Montello notes,

“Many people incorporate egg whites into their diet for a lean protein boost, whether consumed in their whole form or as part of dishes like omelets or protein shakes.”

Do Bodybuilders Waste The Yolk? 

Most bodybuilders purchase egg whites separately in cartons to prevent wasted egg yolks. 

egg whites pack

For example, if a bodybuilder eats half a cup to one cup of egg whites at a time, that would be four to seven eggs’ worth of egg whites. You can imagine the number of egg yolks that person would have to throw away. 

While many recipes use only egg yolks, they are generally baked goods that bodybuilders don’t consume regularly. Therefore, it’s pretty wasteful to purchase whole eggs.

Instead, I recommend opting for the cartons of egg whites that most grocery stores sell. You can also portion out the exact amount you need to fit your macros. A win-win if you ask me.

Check out our egg white recipe Egg White Protein Shake

Should You Eat Egg Whites Only? My Recommendation

You should eat egg whites only if you want a fat-free protein source to fill your macros.

“Egg whites are low in fat and calories but high in quality protein, making them a good option for muscle building,”

Montello says.

If you want egg yolks in your meal for fat and nutritional benefits, it’s best to stick to a ratio of four egg whites per one whole egg. 

That way, you get some dietary fats and nutrients from the yolk, but you primarily consume protein to stay on track with your nutritional targets.

eat egg whites only

Other Egg Resources


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

Zivkovic AM, Telis N, German JB, Hammock BD. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. Calif Agric (Berkeley). 2011 Jul;65(3):106-111. doi: 10.3733/ca.v065n03p106. PMID: 24860193; PMCID: PMC4030645.

Innes JK, Calder PC. Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2018 May;132:41-48. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PMID: 29610056.

Simopoulos AP. An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 2;8(3):128. doi: 10.3390/nu8030128. PMID: 26950145; PMCID: PMC4808858.

Wallace TC, Blusztajn JK, Caudill MA, Klatt KC, Natker E, Zeisel SH, Zelman KM. Choline: The Underconsumed and Underappreciated Essential Nutrient. Nutr Today. 2018 Nov-Dec;53(6):240-253. doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000302. Epub 2018 Nov 13. PMID: 30853718; PMCID: PMC6259877.

About The Author

Laura Semotiuk

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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