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Eating raw egg: do or don't?

Break a few eggs, fill a glass and then drink it. Many people first saw actor Sylvester Stallone do it in the Rocky Balboa movie. Several bodybuilders from the 70s and 80s were also not averse to a few raw eggs and you can even find it in products such as mayonnaise or tiramisu.

However, many people question this. "Eating a raw egg is very unhealthy" or "raw eggs do not give you salmonella?" you often hear.

In this blog, you will discover whether eating a raw egg is really that bad.

Why do people eat raw eggs?

First of all, quite a lot of people will eat raw eggs without realizing it or even thinking about it. Think of homemade chocolate mousse, tiramisu, or mayonnaise. Raw eggs have been eaten for many years simply because they simply make certain dishes tastier. So it is often not the case that people consciously choose it, but simply eat it without thinking about it.

Eating raw egg: do or don't?
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Then of course there is another group that consciously chooses to eat one or more raw eggs. These are the people who do this to consume extra protein in this way. Think of bodybuilders, strength athletes, etc. This can be a raw egg in a shake, but also just a glass with two or three eggs that are drunk straight. It is not very tasty, so without a certain motivation (in this case extra protein) you will hardly see anyone doing this.

The benefits of eating raw egg

Are there any benefits to eating raw eggs? Yes, there are. Check out the three most important benefits of raw eggs here.

Raw eggs are very nutritious

Eating a raw egg doesn't sound so bad when you hear what's in an egg. They are packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. A large raw egg contains about 6 to 7 grams of protein, around 5 grams of fat (more than half unsaturated), and vitamins A and B.

In addition, raw eggs are rich in choline, a substance that is extremely important for the adequate functioning of our body. For example, it plays an important role in our brain functionality.

No vitamins or minerals are lost

When eggs are heated for a long time, it is very likely that some of the nutrients will be lost. Raw eggs are logically not heated, so all vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants remain fully present in the egg.

Simply consume some extra protein

Eating a raw egg can happen in a few seconds because you can drink it away, as it were. In addition, it is very easy to add to a shake in the blender. This way you can easily consume some extra proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

The Disadvantages of Eating Raw Eggs

Of course, there are also drawbacks to eating raw eggs. Here we discuss the three main disadvantages that make eating a raw egg less attractive.

Lower protein intake?

If you eat or drink raw eggs for the extra protein, this part is extra important for you. Our digestive system seems to be very bad at digesting raw eggs successfully. Researchers of a 1998 study concluded that the digestibility of a raw egg is only about 50%. This means that you can only absorb half of the proteins (proteins). It should be noted that this is a single study and only five people were examined. This makes it impossible to draw firm conclusions from this.

Raw eggs and salmonella

Salmonella still occurs, but not to an extreme extent. For example, about 3 in 10,000 eggs are contaminated with salmonella. According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, about 30,000 people in the Netherlands still fall ill every year due to a salmonella-related infection. This means that it is indeed possible to get salmonella. Eating raw eggs increases this chance simply because raw eggs can be contaminated.

The safer option is to heat the egg sufficiently by boiling it, for example. If an egg is heated enough, the salmonella will not survive. The safest choice is always to heat an egg before eating it.

However, given the small extent to which salmonella occurs, I would not immediately be very concerned. The chance is of course present, but eating a raw egg is absolutely no guarantee that you will get sick.

Possibly poorer absorption of vitamin B8

Consuming raw eggs may make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B8 (biotin). Raw eggs are rich in avidin. This substance binds to biotin in our body so that this vitamin is absorbed less well. If you consume a lot of raw eggs, you may just be deficient in biotin.

However, the chance of this happening is very small. You have to consume decent amounts of raw eggs every day if you want it to come to that.

So, is eating a raw egg healthy or unhealthy?

Raw eggs basically have all the health benefits of boiled eggs. To summarize it clearly, here is a summary of the most important conclusions from this blog:

  • Eggs are packed with healthy nutrients
  • When heating an egg, nutrients may be lost, so not with a raw egg.
  • The absorption of protein may be lower with raw eggs
  • There is a risk of salmonella when eating raw eggs
  • Vitamin B8 may be absorbed worse if you consume a lot of raw eggs

All in all, the biggest risk in eating a raw egg will be the chance of salmonella. In the Netherlands, therefore, about 30,000 people become ill every year due to the salmonella bacteria and about 3 in 10,000 eggs will be infected with the bacteria. Decide for yourself whether the benefits of eating a raw egg outweigh the possibility of contracting salmonella.

If you belong to a group of people where salmonella can have serious consequences, it is advisable not to eat raw eggs. This group includes young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with other conditions where a salmonella infection can become dangerous.

So do you eat raw eggs for the extra protein? Then there is a chance that this is less efficient than eating a boiled egg.

We only use qualitative sources, such as scientific (meta) studies, to provide the most accurate and reliable advice possible. Although our articles are factually substantiated, we always recommend that you contact a doctor or specialist in case of complaints.
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