Eggs vs Whey protein: just stick to this one…

Eggs vs whey: which will give you the best muscle-building results?

We all want to make sure that our hard work in the gym pays off.

Therefore we want to make sure we fuel our bodies adequately to maximize growth.

So which is best? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What determines protein quality

The first thing that we want to look at is protein quality. How effectively do we digest, absorb and utilize the protein?

There have been 20 amino acids needed for human growth, of which 12 are essential (we can’t make them). The absence of any of these essential amino acids will compromise the ability of the tissue to grow, be repaired or be maintained.

There are 4 metrics whereby the quality of protein is determined. Let’s quickly look at those.

Protein Efficiency Ratio

The protein efficiency ratio (PER) measures protein effectiveness by feeding rats a test protein and measuring how much weight they gained. A value exceeding 2.7, the standard value for casein protein, indicates an excellent protein source. However, this method only measures rat growth and does not correlate well with human growth needs.

Biological Value

Biological value is a percentage that measures the efficiency of the body’s protein utilization by calculating the nitrogen used for tissue formation divided by the nitrogen absorbed from food. Animal sources have a higher biological value than vegetable sources because of the latter’s lack of some essential amino acids. However, this method has limitations since it does not consider certain factors that affect protein digestion and interaction with other foods, and it measures the maximal potential quality of protein rather than its estimate at requirement levels.

Net Protein Utilization

Net protein utilization (NPU) and biological value (BV) both measure nitrogen retention, which is an indicator of protein quality. However, NPU is calculated based on the direct measure of retained nitrogen from ingested protein, whereas BV is based on the nitrogen absorbed from food. Therefore, while both measures assess the same parameter, the difference between them is that NPU is calculated from ingested nitrogen and BV is calculated from absorbed nitrogen.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score

In 1989, the world health organization (WHO) established a method for determining the quality of protein in food by comparing the content of the first limiting essential amino acid in the test protein to a reference pattern of essential amino acids based on preschool-age children’s requirements. This method was later refined by taking into account the true fecal digestibility of the test protein to obtain the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS).

As you can see on this graph, egg protein beat whey at protein efficiency, net protein utilization and PDCAAS. Whey is just slightly better at biological value. But regardless, they are basically equally as good.

In summary, both egg protein powder and whey protein are excellent complete protein sources.

The necessity of all essential amino acids

Although leucine is the strongest amino acid that stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS), it will not boost muscle growth due to the lack of other essential amino acids. The same happens with BCAAs.

Both egg protein and whey protein are complete proteins with optimal amounts of essential amino acids.

Best daily protein intake for muscle growth

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The ideal amount of protein to maximize muscle growth stimulated by exercise is ~1.6 g/kg/day and up to 2.2 g/kg/day. This intake can be achieved by ingesting 3 meals, each containing ~0.53 g/kg protein, or 4 meals containing ~0.4g/kg protein (R).

This would translate to 160-220g protein for a 100g person. Each meal can then consist of 40-53 grams of protein to meet the daily target.

Ideal protein intake per meal

When someone doesn’t exercise, eating 40g of protein will not stimulate muscle protein synthesis to a great extent than 20g. That extra protein is then used for other purposes (R).

However, after someone has exercised, muscle protein synthesis is increased. In this case, 40g of protein does increase muscle protein synthesis more than 20g (R).

Areta and colleagues showed that 20g of whey protein every ~3 hours was more effective at stimulating MPS over a 12-hour period compared to 10g every 1.5 h hours or 40g every 6 hours (R).

But MPS is just one part of the equation. Muscle protein breakdown is also part of it.

Kim et al. recently compared the anabolic response of 40 g vs. 70 g of protein, in the form of beef patties. While muscle-specific protein synthesis was increased to a similar extent in both groups, the higher protein group experienced greater suppression of whole-body protein breakdown (R).

In another study, by the same group, they demonstrated that a positive linear relationship existed between incrementally higher protein intakes (from ~6 g to 92 g) and whole-body net protein balance (less protein breakdown). This led the authors to conclude that there is no practical upper limit regarding the amount of protein that could maximize muscle anabolism (R).

In summary, 

  • 20g of protein is enough to stimulate MPS at rest.
  • 40g is better than 20g of protein after someone has exercised.
  • There is a linear relationship between protein intake and net protein balance in the body.

In essence, more protein isn’t just a waste.

Muscle protein synthesis vs muscle growth

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A lot of people look no further than muscle protein synthesis to determine if a protein source is good or not.

This study found that whey increased MPS more compared to a 70/30% or 50/50% whey egg mix despite having the same amount of protein (R).

This should make whey better than egg protein right?

No, because check this out.

Leucine is the most powerful at stimulating muscle protein synthesis, but it cannot create new muscle in the absence of the other essential amino acids.

Also, just because a protein spikes MPS, doesn’t mean it’s better at creating new muscle. Mind f*ck, I know.

There is a disconnect between acute MPS in response to exercise and chronic changes in skeletal muscle mass following resistance training (R).

In 2014, Mitchell et al. revealed that there was no association between myofibrillar–MPS measured over 6 hours and protein ingestion and the change in lean body mass following 16 weeks of resistance training (R).

Let’s look at a few examples.

Whey spikes MPS more than casein, but it doesn’t translate to more lean muscle gains in the long term.

Neither Wilborn et al. (R) nor Fabre et al. (R) found any difference in lean mass gains after 8 or 9 weeks of pre- and post-resistance exercise supplementation with either whey or casein. 

In summary, just because a protein spikes MPS more than another, doesn’t mean that it will lead to great lean muscle gains long term.

Does fast-acting protein matter?

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One of the big “upsides” of whey is that it’s rapidly absorbed so that your hungry muscles can soak up all the amino acids and build muscle right away.

But does that matter?

Long term vs short-term elevated amino acids

A fast-acting protein source is very rapidly digested and absorbed. This means that amino acids will peak in the blood in 30 minutes vs 2 hours. Sounds good right? Sounds like just what your muscles need.

Muscle full effect

Consuming amino acids increase MPS by ∼1.5 hours. After that, MPS goes to baseline despite sustained amino acid availability and intramuscular anabolic signaling. 

This “muscle-full set-point” can be delayed by resistance exercise even ≥24 h beyond a single exercise bout, casting doubt on the importance of nutrient timing vs. sufficiency per se. (R)

Back to acute vs chronic availability.

Example 1

Taking leucine will spike leucine in the blood for about 60min. Eating a steak rich in leucine will increase leucine in the blood for 4+ hours (R).

Example 2

In this study, they compared essential amino acid concentrations in the blood after eating 24g of protein from mince, steak and hydrolyzed beef. The hydrolyzed beef is fast acting, mince is “medium” acting and steak is slow acting.

As you can see the amino acids from the hydrolyzed beef (light gray line in the graph) are in and out of your system relatively quickly, which, IMO, makes it less effective (R).

After eating the steak, EAAs are still elevated after 5 hours.

Example 3

Skim milk (20% whey and 80% casein) vs ground beef. Skim milk increased myofibrillar MPS rates to a greater extent than beef during the first 2 hours post-exercise. However, the increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis rates did not differ between milk and beef ingestion during the entire 5-hour post-exercise phase (R). At the end of the day, the initial spike doesn’t matter.

Example 4

Yet another example is ground beef vs a steak. Minced beef is more rapidly digested and absorbed than beef steak, which results in increased amino acid availability. However, this does not result in greater postprandial muscle protein synthesis rates (R).

What matters is the long-term exposure to amino acids. Remember, exercise can elevate MPS for over 24 hours. You want amino acids in the blood during that time. In that context, fasting acting doesn’t matter.

This means that a steak will be better for long-term results compared to taking leucine, BCAAs or whey due to the amino acids being available for longer.

Long-term exposure to amino acids > short-term exposure.

Excess amino acids in the blood will be converted to glucose and be used for other things, other than muscle growth. 

Egg protein is slow acting

Cooked egg protein has an absorption rate of ~3 g per hour, meaning complete absorption of an omelet containing the same 20g of protein would take approximately 7 hours. This slow absorption may help prevent amino acid wastage and thus promote greater whole-body net positive protein balance (R).

Whey protein is fast acting

Whey is a “fast-acting” protein; its absorption rate has been estimated at ~10 g per hour. At this rate, it would take just 2 hours to fully absorb a 20g dose of whey (R).

Having whey with whole food delays the peak in amino acids and prolongs how long it stays in the blood (R).

Acute spikes in amino acids can be compared to the release of hormones that you get from a workout.

A massive spike in testosterone and growth hormone doesn’t lead to better muscle gains. But having high testosterone and growth hormone all the time will. It’s about having enough over a long period of time.

In summary, only 10% of ingested amino acids are taken up by the muscle (R). This means that there will always be an excess of amino acids in the blood, more than what the muscle can take up in a given time. 

So getting a bigger spike in availability from whey will not result in greater uptake in the muscle. Even though egg protein is absorbed much slower, whey and egg protein will likely lead to the same amount of muscle growth over time.

What matters is getting enough total daily protein. In this context, fast and slow acting means nothing.

Intermittent fasting

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If protein timing mattered, then intermittent fasting would lead to less muscle mass gained. But it doesn’t.

In 2016, Moro et al showed that people gained as much muscle doing IF (16-hour fasting window) compared to guys not doing IF. Protein and calories were equated (R).

What matter most is the total daily protein intake.

Cooked vs raw eggs

Is it better to consume a cooked egg or a half-cooked egg? | Panomnom

Raw egg white doesn’t digest as well as cooked egg (51.3 +/- 9.8% vs 90.9 +/- 0.8%) (R). But that doesn’t make raw eggs less effective.

In this study, they compared the increase in EAAs after eating 5 cooked vs raw eggs.

Cooked eggs increased plasma essential amino acid (EAA) concentrations, with 20% higher peak concentrations than raw eggs (R).

However, myofibrillar MPS rates increased by 20% after eating raw eggs, vs 18% with boiled eggs (R). This shows that even though fewer amino acids were absorbed, it was still enough to adequately stimulate MPS.

The main downside of eating raw eggs is the potential for inducing a biotin deficiency. However, I’ve made a case against that in this video. 

Is whey better post-workout than eggs?

No, since fast acting doesn’t matter.

Exercise increases MPS by over 24 hours, so getting amino acids into your system 10 min faster doesn’t translate to better muscle growth over time.

What matters is sustained amino acid available. Eggs can do that for you.

Micronutrients in egg vs whey protein


Since whey is a highly processed food source (especially whey isolate), it contains almost no micronutrients. It’s like an empty parking lot.


Eggs are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating two eggs per day covers 10% to 30% of the vitamin requirements for humans.

This is the micronutrient profile of 6 whole eggs.

I always prefer to eat whole food over taking a protein powder.

Egg white powder contains no micronutrients, so if you supplement that, it will be just as good as taking whey.



1 scoop of whey isolate containing 25g of protein content is only 120 calories.


4 whole eggs that contain 25g of protein are 310 calories. Most of the calories are in the egg yolk because it contains all the fatty acids.

7 egg whites contain 25g of protein and are 120 calories. This egg white and whey is almost pure protein and has the same amount of calories.

Although egg white has fewer calories than whole eggs for the same amount of protein, I prefer whole egg over egg white. That’s because it’s rich in valuable vitamins and minerals and will satiate you much longer than egg white or whey.

Plus, whole egg consumption has been shown to increase testosterone.

Who should limit egg intake?

About 15-25% of the population is hyper-responders to dietary cholesterol. Eating too many eggs can then skyrocket plasma lipids and worsen inflammation and insulin resistance for some people.

If you supplement egg white protein, this isn’t a problem.

Should Paul Saladino be afraid of eggs?


Eating 1.6g/kg/BW of protein will ensure optimal muscle growth regardless if it’s steak, eggs or whey. The first priority should be that you eat enough protein daily.

Both whey and egg white protein are excellent sources of protein. Nit-picking which 1 is better is a massive waste of time.

There is no difference in long-term muscle growth with fast or slow-acting protein sources. 

Protein timing doesn’t matter much (R). Meaning, you can eat 10g of protein for breakfast, with 100g for lunch and 50g for dinner and make equally as good gains as someone eating 40g of protein per meal for 4 meals (both eat 160g of protein per day).

Don’t fall for BS claims that EAAs or whey absorb better and faster than meat for example. It’s not better because of those facts. It’s just useless marketing claims.

Pros of whey

  • It tastes good
  • It’s time effective
  • It’s very convenient
  • It can be stored for a long time
  • It’s a great way to get protein if you don’t have a big appetite

Cons of whey

  • Some people might be allergic (lactose intolerance)
  • It isn’t a good source of micronutrients
  • It doesn’t keep you satiated for long

Pros of eggs

  • It tastes good (for most people)
  • It’s easy to prep 
  • It’s easy to store
  • It can work as a meal or snack
  • It can be eaten with many other kinds of foods
  • It’s an excellent source of protein (Just 4 eggs contain 25g of protein)
  • It’s filled with micronutrients
  • It’s low in calories (just 4 eggs contain 300 calories)
  • It contains valuable phospholipids
  • It’s great for satiety (thus can help with weight loss)
  • It helps stabilize blood sugar levels

Cons of eggs

  • Egg allergies
  • It can make your fart stink so bad that the paint peels off the walls
  • It smells like an old fart when you store it in Tupperware

There are many kinds of whey protein supplements out there and I recommend getting a whey isolate (the lowest calories with the highest protein content).

If I had to pick between egg white protein powder and whey, I’d go with whey. I see no upside to having egg white over whey. Plus the egg white has downsides such as smelling off and tasting a bit weird (can be masked in the smoothie though).

However, I do prefer an egg protein shake (my Testo-Shake) over whey, but you can always add whey to the Testo-Shake. Vince Gironda popularized egg shakes in the 50s. He said that consuming 2 dozen eggs per day is equivalent to a light cycle of anabolic steroids.

There are also whole egg protein supplements, but why not just eat whole eggs?

Quality protein IMO is whole foods (preferably animal protein). Eat it.

Some fart memes for your enjoyment

Fart memes. Best Collection of funny Fart pictures on America's best pics  and videos
When you fart And realize youve ate boiled eggs all day - Captain Kirk  Choking | Make a Meme
Fart memes. Best Collection of funny Fart pictures on America's best pics  and videos
Image tagged in eggs,fart joke - Imgflip
hard boiled egg farts|TikTok Search
yeah, if colleagues could stop eating smelly food at their desks that'd be  great - Bill Lumbergh - quickmeme
Every time : r/AdviceAnimals
MRW coworkers eat boiled eggs in our small office : r/AdviceAnimals
Pin op Food Cooking & drink

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