Who else wants to know, “Why Do BodyBuilders Eat Raw Eggs?”
It’s a question I see time-and-time again on various exercise and bodybuilding-related forums.
In fact, there are many lifters and athletes who regularly swallow raw eggs without actually knowing whether there are any benefits.
Then again, there are equally many people who think it’s a bad idea and are worried about the risks of salmonella poisoning.
So, allow me to explain why many bodybuilders prefer raw over cooked, and if there are any benefits to eating eggs this way.
Why Do BodyBuilders Eat Raw Eggs?
Many bodybuilders eat raw eggs simply because they are “following the crowd” without actually realising whether there are benefits or not. It is believed that raw eggs will deliver protein to the muscles faster. With that being said, there are certain benefits to raw eggs over their cooked counterparts. These include higher levels of muscle-building compounds, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, from a competitive bodybuilding point-of-view an excess of raw eggs can cause dehydration. Less water in the body means a more toned and ripped physique.
1. Raw Eggs Are Perceived to Deliver Protein Faster
I would hazard a guess that the raw egg phenomenon took off after the original Rocky movie.
We see Sly cracking a few eggs into a glass before gulping it down and going on his now-famous morning run.
It looked great, it was an iconic part of the movie, so it seems that every athlete, bodybuilder, or gym-goer decided to follow suit.
There are even people who will attest to the fact that raw eggs deliver protein to the muscles much faster than the traditional cooked egg.
In truth, raw eggs won’t deliver protein any faster, plus they’re not as easy to digest.
The body has to process raw eggs in order to digest them and this will often see blood shift from the muscles to the stomach and intestines.
So, in effect, it may actually take longer to digest raw eggs.
I would also add that what we see in Rocky is slightly misleading, as protein should preferably be consumed after your workout.
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With that being said, many bodybuilders and athletes will crack a raw egg or two into their protein shake after their workout simply for ease.
I mean, it’s much easier than waiting for a few poached eggs to cook.
So, in reality, you could say that a lot of bodybuilders are “following the crowd” because everyone else seems to be doing it.
2. Raw Eggs Contain More Muscle-Building Compounds
Eggs themselves contain a fantastic number of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
And this is the case whether they are consumed raw or cooked.
However, some of the nutritional components can be reduced through the cooking process.
With that being said, if you can limit cooking time you won’t see a dramatic reduction in nutrients.
So, a half-boiled egg complete with runny yolk will retain most of the “good stuff”.
Most non-bodybuilders are told to limit their daily egg intake due to their high cholesterol levels.
But, this isn’t actually a bad thing when it comes to building muscle.
Cholesterol can actually help the body to make testosterone, which is perfect for any bodybuilder.
This will create the required anabolic reaction for protein synthesis, which is ideal straight after you’ve finished your workout.
Plus, let’s not forget that eggs contain around 6g of protein, no carbohydrates, and around 5g of fat.
Furthermore, raw eggs have low levels of insulin.
So, in effect, this will encourage the body to burn excess stores of fat for energy rather than the stored supplies of carbohydrates.
In terms of physique-building this is perfect.
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3. Raw Eggs Can Cause Dehydration
There are various things that bodybuilders do that under normal circumstances would be considered unhealthy, and perhaps even dangerous.
In the lead up to competition most bodybuilders will dehydrate themselves.
The aim here is to remove any excess water between the muscles, which will make the skin appear tighter.
In fact, this is typically done to dangerous levels, simply to produce a more toned and ripped appearance.
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It just so happens that if you consume an excessive amount of raw eggs this can cause dehydration.
However, from a bodybuilding perspective this is a bit of a catch-22 situation.
Prior to competition a bodybuilder will also want to reduce their sodium intake.
This also helps to flush excess water out of the system, which in turn will allow muscle tissue to expand.
It just so happens that raw eggs also contain sodium.
So, a competitive bodybuilder will need to make the decision as to whether to continue consuming raw eggs in the lead up to a show.
4. Raw Eggs Contain More Vitamins, Minerals, & Nutrients
I touched on this earlier when discussing the muscle-building benefits of raw eggs.
Basically, you will lose some of the “goodness” of an egg through the cooking process.
However, the same can be said for just about any food.
Raw ingredients typically have a higher nutrient value, but of course not every food type can be eaten raw.
Even raw eggs have had a lot of negative press over the years.
This is mainly due to the potential traces of bacterial salmonella.
However, washing them prior to cracking should render raw eggs completely safe.
I will also say that consuming raw eggs may not be for everyone, as in some individuals they may cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.
And anyone with a weak immune system should definitely avoid eating raw eggs.
With that being said, you still can’t get away from the fact that they have a higher contraction of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than cooked eggs.
These include omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, choline, plus lutein and zeaxanthin, which are types of carotenoid antioxidants.
From a bodybuilding perspective the addition of lutein and zeaxanthin in raw eggs is a massive plus point.
These two vitamins are typically associated with good eye health.
However, it just so happens that they also help to combat inflammation throughout the body.
This is due to the fact that they neutralize certain oxidative processes that can be damaging to the body.
Less inflammation for a bodybuilder will mean better recovery.
Why Do Bodybuilder Drink Raw Eggs?
So, as you can see there are various reasons why bodybuilders eat raw eggs, and not all of them are particularly healthy.
In the main, the reason for raw egg consumption will typically be “well, everyone else is doing it, so I will too”.
This is generally done without ever realising the true benefits.
However, raw eggs certainly have more vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and muscle-building components than cooked eggs.
Okay, the difference may not be huge, but in bodybuilding terms, every little bit helps.
And this may even include eating excessive amount of raw eggs to cause dehydration, thereby making the body look more toned and ripped
However, consuming raw eggs certainly isn’t for everyone.
It should be avoided by sensitive eaters and anyone with a weak immune system.
Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.