For about the last 5 decades, the egg yolk was the main boogeyman in the Bodybuilding & Fitness world. But no more! Here’s what you need to know about using yolks to get healthy, fit and muscular!
After decades of false arguments against the egg yolks, the future is looking a little brighter for the yolk. Recent research has brought more attention to the health benefits of whole eggs and create plenty of doubt on the biggest arguments against the yolk.
For years, the media and health-governing bodies issued warnings to avoid saturated fat at all costs because it was thought to be a major player in increasing someones risk for cardiovascular disease. Eggs, which happen to contain saturated fat in the yolk, were ofcourse the biggest concern. “Only eat eggs twice per week” and “never have more than two eggs a day” were common guidelines.
So what changed? Well we know more about saturated fat than we did before. There are various types of saturated fats. Not all impact cardiovascular disease risk in the same way. Some forms of saturated fats, such as stearic acid, haven’t been shown to negatively impact cholesterol levels, and are largely converted to monounsaturated fat in the liver. It just so happens that stearic acid makes up the vast majority of an egg yolk’s total saturated fat content, and is present in even higher levels in free-range chicken eggs.
In either case, one large egg contains less than 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat, and that’s not even close to the biggest source around. But let’s look more closely at saturated fat in general. The reason saturated fat got such a bad reputation was because of its supposed effect on cholesterol. Chronically elevated cholesterol, in combination with other cardiovascular disease risks, such as a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, poor dietary choices, and high blood pressure, has been linked to various forms of heart disease.
Eggs contain plenty of dietary cholesterol. But that’s not enough to raise cholesterol levels. Some studies indicate they do to a certain degree, but this is no longer thought to be a problem for healthy, active, nonobese, nondiabetic populations. Some research even suggests that genetics is a bigger determinant in cholesterol levels compared to dietary intake.
In fact, cholesterol is important for the fitness enthusiast looking to improve his or her performance and physique. Why? Because cholesterol is the transporter for testosterone, which as we all know, has a massive impact on supporting and increasing gains.
In-between takeaway: Don’t skip the yolks out of fear of what they might do to your health decades down the road.
More About Eggs
As long as the fitness industry has been around, eggs have been considered one of the best and purest protein source. In the 1960s and 1970s people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa even drank them raw.
Fear of foodborne illness eventually knocked out that practice, but in terms of protein quality and amino-acid availability, eggs remain the gold standard to which other food-based protein sources are compared.
By throwing out the yolk, you’re losing out on numerous valuable nutrients.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the egg white and the yolk.
It’s basically water, protein, and a couple of nutrients in small amounts.
It’s got triple the calories of the egg white, almost as much protein, and a wide range of nutrients including:
- Choline: Choline is an essential nutrient that has a number of important roles within the body, including the production of the crucial neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline is also a important for lipid metabolism and helps to increase the production of neurotransmitters. Eggs are actually one of the best sources of choline.
- Vitamin D: This fat-soluble vitamin offers far too many health-supporting and muscle-building benefits to list here. I wrote a whole blog about the importance of Vitamin D which you can read here. Egg yolks won’t solve the problem on their own, but they’re an important part of a multifaceted approach.
- Additional fat-soluble vitamins: Egg yolks are also a solid source of vitamins A, E, and K, all of which require dietary fat for absorption. That’s why you hear that taking your daily multivitamin with a meal is a great way to optimize absorption. Yolks are like a multivitamin on their own; or a great way to make sure yours is working.
If building muscle is your goal, including the yolks is a no-brainer. Whole eggs are rich in leucine, have a complete amino-acid profile, and are one of the cheapest sources of high quality protein and fats. As for those extra calories, well, you’ll need them if you want to add muscle.
Egg Yolks And Dieting
Whether whole eggs can help you lose weight is a question I’ve heard many times. The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.” To be clear, the deciding factor in your weight-loss journey is whether or not you’re eating a variety of nutritious foods while in a caloric deficit.
There is a case for whole eggs, though. Consuming more fat has been shown to help keep dieters feeling full longer than a diet low in fat, while also optimizing their hormonal profile. Going very low-fat, we now know, is a bad idea for multiple reasons, and can leave you feeling awful.
So don’t cut yolks out because of their fat. As for their extra calories, if you’re total calorie intake doesn’t allow it you can always go for a half-half mixture of eggwhites and whole eggs.
But here’s the great thing about eggs: They’re just easy. Making a fast, egg-based breakfast in the morning is simple, satisfying, and can be fit in just about any mealplan.
My advice? If your calories and macro’s allow it, you shouldn’t even think about IF you should eat the yolk but rather how you are going to cook them…
I prefer mine scrabbled with some veggies 😉
Are you currently on an effective mealplan that is optimal for your goals? If you’re not sure, go to my Online Coaching page and sign up so we can get the most out of your nutrition and provide you the progress you deserve in either muscle gains or fat loss.
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