If you are trying to build strength and your go-to postworkout meal is an egg-white omelette, you may want to rethink your recovery meals. While egg whites deliver loads of protein that muscles will need to repair after exercise, their muscle gains could be enhanced if you eat them with the yolks.

According to new study, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating whole eggs (the yolks in addition to the whites) — versus an egg-white-only meal — does a much better job of sparking muscle-protein synthesis following resistance training.

This is just the most recent research to suggest that the joint impact of nutrients and phytochemicals in whole eggs is higher than the impact of its individual parts — never mind what you thought you knew about their fat- and cholesterol-laden yolks.

The study

In the , researchers from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign fed 10 healthy resistance-trained young men 18 g of protein from egg whites or whole eggs (three eggs values of protein) immediately after a strength workout. Blood and muscle biopsy samples were collected to quantify muscle-protein synthesis.

One to two weeks later, the participants who consumed the egg whites were analyzed again after eating whole eggs, and vice versa.

Muscle-protein synthesis for 3.5 hours following exercise was higher after eating whole eggs compared to egg whites, regardless of every egg meal has been matched for content.

This study does have limitations. It was very small and conducted in healthy young men who strength-trained on a regular basis.

The results might not hold true for girls, sedentary people or elderly adults.

Additionally, the researchers examined muscle reaction to egg intake after just 1 resistance workout. The long-term results on muscle mass and strength are unknown.

However, since resistance exercise is a strong stimulation for muscle, more so than diet, it is noteworthy that the researchers detected a difference in muscle-protein synthesis between whole eggs and egg whites.

Egg nutrition

1 large egg, with the yolk, delivers 72 calories, five grams of fat (60 percent of it unsaturated fat) and 6.3 gram of protein.

The high quality protein in eggs provides all the essential amino acids necessary to build and maintain muscle mass. The yolk comprises 42 percent of the protein in an egg, which could surprise you.

And due to the yolk, eggs are an exceptional source of hard-to-find choline, a B vitamin-like compound which helps transmit nerve impulses and is essential for brain function. Eggs also contain B vitamins, vitamin A and lutein, an antioxidant which helps maintain healthy eyesight.

1 whole egg also provides 15 micrograms of selenium (one-quarter of a day’s worth, most of it found in the yolk), a vitamin that protects DNA in cells and is required for thyroid function and immune health.

Entire eggs back on the menu?

Since the 1960s, eggs are vilified for their fat- and cholesterol-containing yolks. Eating too much food cholesterol has been believed to elevate blood glucose and raise heart disease risk.

1 large egg has 190 mg of cholesterol and, until recently, we’re advised to restrict our daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg. That recommendation changed two decades back.

The fact that cholesterol in foods has minimum impact on many people’s blood LDL (bad) cholesterol prompted the U.S. government to lose its everyday cholesterol limitation from the 2015-20 federal dietary guidelines, saying cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern.”

Some experts, however, question this information. They recommend that people at high risk for heart disease, which includes people who have diabetes, limit cholesterol intake to 200 milligrams per day.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is Director of Food and Nutrition in Medcan.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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