What are the pros and cons of egg white protein powder?
What are the pros and cons of egg white protein powder? Learn more about why egg white protein powder might be the right choice for you.
Pro: Egg whites contain a complete protein.
The protein found in egg whites is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body needs but cannot produce on its own. Most plant-based proteins are not complete.
Pro: Eggs are highly digestible.
Of all the whole foods, egg whites have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). The means that egg white protein is easily absorbed and used by the body. In other words, you get the most bang for your buck.
Pro: Egg whites are dairy-free.
Dairy-based proteins like whey can casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production. They are known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. Partially digested food sits in your gut for longer than it should. This gives the bacteria that live there time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which can cause bloating, cramps, and nausea.
Dairy based proteins are also bad for your skin. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by your sebaceous glands, can clog your pores and cause acne. Dairy can also hinder your ability to process blood sugar efficiently, which can cause inflammation in your skin. This matters because acne is an inflammatory disease, that is, clinical evidence shows that inflammation occurs at all stages of acne development.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have IBS and every protein powder hurts my stomach…except drink wholesome!”
Pro: Egg whites taste good.
Most plain protein powders, on the other hand, have a chalky aftertaste because they are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods chemically or mechanically stripped of everything but the protein. Protein concentrates and isolates are listed on the ingredients list as “pea protein” as opposed to “peas.” Unlike real foods, they are missing the nutrients that make food taste good.
Egg whites are simply broken, pasteurized, and dried before becoming protein powder. They have a delicious, natural aftertaste. Our eggs are also broken less than twenty four hours from when they were laid. Some eggs sit for days, sometimes weeks before being processed. As a result, their proteins begin to decay and release a chemical called hydrogen sulfide, which has a potent sulfur odor.
Protein powder should taste good because it is just food. If you find yourself choking down your protein shake, you are missing out. Life is too short for protein powders with a chalky aftertaste. Moreover, if consuming protein powder is a chore, it is not sustainable in the long term. A diet is not a six-week affair, it is for life. Think twice before spending your hard-earned dollars on a protein powder that tastes like chalk.
Con: Eggs are an allergen.
Eggs are one of the eight major allergenic foods that account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States. That said, egg allergies are most common in children, and the vast majority of children outgrow their egg allergy by the age of 6.
Con? Egg production is bad for chickens.
Cage-free and free-range chickens are happier and healthier than chickens raised in cages, so depending on where the eggs come from, your egg white protein powder may raise concerns about animal welfare. That said, today, most large-scale egg production facilities in the US prioritize the well-being of their animals, so all caged chickens are not miserable. Moreover, the difference between conventional, cage-free, and free-range eggs are probably not as significant as you think.
Both cage-free and free-range are government-regulated terms. Cage-free eggs come from chickens that are given 1.2 square feet of indoor space. Most cage-free hens never see the outdoors. Free-range eggs come from chickens that are given 2 square feet of space and have “access” to the outdoors. Many free-range chickens never see the outdoors, however, because they are not bred for mobility. With this in mind, you can decide for yourself how much these labels matter.
Con? Egg production is not sustainable.
Did you know that raising free-range chicken is less sustainable than raising conventional chicken? Chickens raised in conventional cage systems are the most efficient layers. It takes 2 kilograms of feed to produce 1 kilogram of eggs. Chickens raised in cage-free systems – in which the birds are free to roam the barn but cannot access the outdoors – require 14 percent more feed because they burn more calories. Free-range chickens – with access to the outdoors – require about 18 percent more. Moreover, organic chickens, whose feed is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, need 20 percent more feed than birds kept in cages.
The amount of feed it takes to raise a chicken matters. Almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production are related to feed production and processing, and almost half of global agricultural land is used for feeding animals. In many countries, this land use is accelerating deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as water scarcity. This is all to say that although cage-free/free-range is better for the animals, it is not necessarily better for the environment.
Tradeoffs like these are inherent in many of the foods we eat, so do not let this information discourage you from eating eggs. Plus, eggs are relatively sustainable when you consider the enormous environmental impact of dairy production.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.