Although you don’t need to drink protein shakes as part of a healthy, balanced diet, having them regularly can help you accomplish health goals such as losing weight or putting on lean muscle mass. Adding egg whites, one of dozens of ways to put a little extra protein in your shake, has both pros and cons.
Health and Nutrition
Nutritionally, egg whites can be a healthier choice than other protein sources because they’re lower in calories and have no saturated fat or cholesterol. However, they also contain much smaller amounts of protein than formulated supplements. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition database, a single large egg white has 17 calories, 3.6 grams of protein, no fat, no cholesterol and 0.25 grams of carbs. In contrast, a 30-gram scoop of whey protein powder has 110 calories, 2 grams of fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol and 23 grams of protein.
One notable advantage that egg whites have over processed protein powders and other typical shake ingredients is that they come from a natural food. Whole foods are always the best source of micronutrients because they contain beneficial compounds that dietary supplements do not. Using just egg whites also saves saturated fat and cholesterol that are found in yolks. Finally, tossing one or two egg whites into a shake allows you to moderately increase your protein intake and avoid consuming too much of the nutrient.
According to the Egg Safety Center, most bacteria in infected raw eggs are found in their yolks. However, the center does advise against consuming raw egg whites as well because there is a chance that bacteria could exist in other parts of the egg. USDA scientists report that salmonella bacteria, which may be present in raw eggs, are a leading cause of foodborne illness and can be fatal. If you get enough protein through your regular diet, there are also risks to consider in increasing your protein intake with raw egg whites. Consuming too much protein can cause kidney problems, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Check with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you add egg-white protein shakes to your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans get enough protein through what they eat normally and do not need to rely on shakes or supplements. Instead of using shakes to replace normal meals, make sure to get servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or nonfat dairy products every day to fulfill all of your nutritional needs.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Egg, White, Raw, Fresh, 1 Large
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Protein in Diet
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- Egg Safety Center: Egg Food Safety Frequently Asked Questions
- USDA Economic Research Service: Raw and Undercooked Eggs: A Danger of Salmonellosis
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.