It’s a standard 80s movie cliche, but check out most bodybuilding forums and you will find evidence that many guys are still doing it. But why do bodybuilders eat raw eggs? In this article, I will try and find the answer.
Some bodybuilders eat raw egg out of laziness, some add raw eggs to protein shakes as a quick way to increase the protein content. Most probably do it because they’ve watched Rocky too many times. There aren’t really any benefits to eating raw eggs, and may even be some disadvantages.
The sad fact is that many crazy things are done in the bodybuilding world without much thought being put into it. I’m not talking about Pro bodybuilders here. This is the sort of thing that young bodybuilders who are finding their feet are likely to be affected by. Hopefully, this article can turn a few heads.
My first thought is that many bodybuilders probably grew up with the film Beauty and the Beast. That song where Gaston, the incredibly muscly Frenchman, sings about eating dozens of eggs, apparently raw. Then you’ve got Rocky, where the unfortunate boxer mixes a raw egg drink before going on his infamous run.
Now it’s just something that some bodybuilders do out of habit, or because they mistakenly believe that it is better this way. There is also laziness, with several bodybuilding forum members claiming that actually cooking the eggs is too much effort, which is why they eat them raw.
If you live in the UK then eating your eggs raw is pretty safe, but in the US it’s a whole other matter. With salmonella a small but significant risk. But even if the risk of illness is small, there aren’t really any benefits to consuming them that way, and there are a couple of disadvantages.
Bottom Line: Laziness, the romanticism of the act from movies, and a certain recklessness.
As I said earlier, thanks to salmonella vaccinations and the non-cleaning of the shells, the UK is a good place to live if you want to drink raw eggs. The risks of salmonella are microscopic. This is why many people in the UK are able to store their eggs in cupboards rather than in the fridge.
If you live in the US, then your chickens may not be vaccinated for salmonella. That’s because unlike the UK (and many other countries) salmonella vaccination is not mandatory. The reasons for this almost certainly boil down to cost, even though it is pretty inexpensive. The situation does look to be improving, with Costco and Walmart insisting that all chickens that they sell be vaccinated, but there are still as many cases of salmonella in the US today as there were 20 years ago.
If you live in the US and want to drink raw eggs, then at least ensure that your eggs are pasteurised. Or try and find out if the eggs you buy come from farms that vaccinate against salmonella. Or just don’t do it at all, because there is no point!
It saves a bit of time, saves on washing up, and is very quick to do. You don’t need to add any calories for frying, and you use less water and energy as there is no cooking process. Other than that there aren’t any benefits. Certainly not any that will affect your health or your physique. At best, there are just a few downsides. At best!
There are of course the potential bacteria-related issues (see above). But the main downside that most bodybuilders will care about is to do with protein. A study in 1998 published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the body was able to absorb more protein from eggs that had been cooked than from raw eggs.
The other downside, that I don’t see mentioned half as often as it should is that raw eggs are disgusting! Seriously, cooked eggs are the ultimate fast food in my opinion. They can be fried, scrambled, turned into an omelette, they can be poached, boiled, and baked. They only take a few minutes to cook and go well with numerous other foods.
One thing that has always put me off bodybuilding is the inability to treat food like it should be treated. As something to be enjoyed. Drinking 7 raw eggs out of a protein shaker is an insult to food. Sorry, I’ll stop yelling in a second.
I’ve written an entire article answering the question “why do bodybuilders eat raw eggs?” but I haven’t really focused on whether they actually do or not. From a search of the forums (Reddit, Bodybuilding.com etc) only a small minority appear to. And a lot of these posts are getting on for five years old now.
I would like to believe that the raw egg myth has been found out to be just that by most bodybuilders these days. The vast majority of bodybuilders are pretty clued up about nutrition. Unlike the meathead stereotype that bodybuilders are often lumped with. Most bodybuilders are intelligent individuals who are prepared to spend 30 seconds researching whether a raw egg is in any way beneficial. At least that’s what I hope!
I thought I would finish off with my personal favourite way to serve eggs. It’s Delia Smith’s scrambled eggs recipe, and it is an absolute gamechanger. Seriously, after eating scrambled eggs this way, you will never be able to go back to your regular way of cooking them.
Apparently, you can’t watch the video on my website, but you can click through and watch it on YouTube
The trick is to wait until the eggs are 3/4 of the way cooked. And then take them off the heat. Then you stir them around some more. And let the residual heat of the pan cook them for a little bit longer. This creates eggs that are much softer than traditional scrambled eggs, and that taste twice as good.
As it is a Delia Smith recipe, it is of course filled with butter. While that is perfect for bulking, you may want to try her lower calorie version (also in the video above), which uses low-fat milk instead of butter.
This is how eggs were meant to be served, not swallowed raw out of a plastic mug like some kind of animal! If you liked this article, why not check out my article on Overtraining in Bodybuilding?
Matt Smith is the owner of Beer N Biceps. He has a degree in Sports Science, 10 years of experience working in the fitness industry, and has written for hundreds of fitness websites. He is a lover of good quality beer and believes that drinking in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.