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Can whole eggs help make swole legs?

Getting enough protein is essential to help stimulate muscle growth. But the type of protein-containing food can also play a role.

Study under review: Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men.

Introduction

Most sports nutrition research investigating the effects of protein supplementation on muscle protein synthesis (MPS) uses protein powders. Comparatively little research[1] uses whole food sources of protein, despite the fact that people obtain most (if not all) of our protein from food.

This means that most of our protein is embedded in a food matrix with other nutrients that can affect rates of absorption and MPS. For example, previous research[2] found that whole milk consumption can increase MPS to a greater degree than skim milk. Another protein study found that casein protein[3] dissolved in milk was absorbed more slowly than casein dissolved in water, without affecting MPS. Another whole food study[4] found that minced beef was absorbed more quickly than skim milk, but the milk increased MPS to a greater degree when measured within the first two hours after consumption.

A popular high-quality protein source that has yet to be investigated with regard to its benefits as a whole food is the egg. In the study under review, the MPS response was compared between whole eggs and egg whites.

Research on protein’s effects on muscle protein synthesis (MPS) tends to focus on isolated supplements, in spite of most of our protein coming from whole foods. Whole foods contain nutrients that may impact protein digestion and absorption, thereby affecting MPS. To help bridge this information gap, researchers investigated the impact of whole egg vs. egg white consumption on MPS.

Who and what was studied?

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Other Articles in Issue #40 (February 2018)