Some bodybuilders are seen consuming raw eggs for their protein intake. There are concerns over this stemming from the fact that the eggs are uncooked and the possibility of Salmonella poisoning.
Let’s look into what makes up an egg. An interesting fact is raw eggs are extremely nutritious.
Without being cooked, raw eggs provide high-quality protein, vitamins, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants, minerals and various other nutrients.
One whole, large raw egg (50 grams) can contain:
- Calories: 72.
- Fat: 5 grams.
- Folate: 6% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 10% of the RDI.
- Protein: 6 grams.
- Selenium: 22% of the RDI.
- Vitamin A: 9% of the RDI, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 13% of the RDI, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 8% of the RDI, and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 7% of the RDI.
An average raw egg contains 147 mg of choline. Choline is an essential nutrient important for healthy brain function. Good heart health can be attributed to choline.
Raw eggs have important antioxidants that protect your eyes which are called lutein and zeaxanthin. Age-related eye diseases may be reduced by lutein and zeaxanthin.
Having said all this, most of the nutrients are located in the yolk while the protein that many bodybuilders seek is found in egg whites.
The protein in uncooked eggs them isn’t well-absorbed
As stated earlier, one of the main reasons people consume eggs is mainly for the protein.
Eggs are referred to as a “complete” protein source. This is because all 9 essential amino acids in balanced ratios are found in eggs.
The absorption of these quality proteins however, are reduced when eggs are eaten raw.
One small study conducted in 1998 compared the absorption of protein from both cooked and raw eggs in 5 people.
People are able to absorb 90% of protein in cooked eggs whereas they can only absorb 50% of protein in raw eggs according to a study.
While protein is better absorbed from cooked eggs, nutrient absorption from vitamin A, vitamin B5, phosphorus and potassium may be slightly reduced due to cooking.
Raw egg whites may block biotin absorption
Also known as vitamin B7, Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin that aids the body’s production of glucose and fatty acids. It’s a vital vitamin for women who are pregnant.
This vitamin is found in egg yolks. Raw egg whites however, have Avidin a protein, which binds to biotin in the small intestine. This prevents the absorption of Biotin. This does not become an issue when the egg is cooked.
If you do eat raw eggs, a biotin deficiency is highly unlikely to occur. You would need to eat at least 12 eggs a day over a long period of time to see a biotin deficiency.
Salmonella contamination and symptoms
There is a high chance of raw and undercooked eggs to contain the bacteria, Salmonella. This harmful bacteria can infect the intestinal tract, and often leads to food poisoning and severe diarrhea.
Salmonella can be found on egg shells and inside eggs. Fortunately the risk of ending up with a contaminated egg is very low.
Common symptoms of food poisoning after eating raw eggs include:
- stomach cramps
The symptoms normally show up 6 to 48 hours after eating contaminated raw eggs and can last up to a week.
With many improvements made in the handling and transportation of eggs and fresh food in general, there are fewer cases of Salmonella poisoning being reported.
To conclude: People should avoid eating raw eggs primarily to minimize the risk of bacterial infection like Salmonella. A secondary reason is only 50% of protein is absorbed when you eat raw eggs. Buy pasteurized and refrigerated eggs to lower the chance of being infected by Salmonella.
10th October 2020 22:30
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