In the worlds of film and television, scenes of athletes drinking whole raw eggs signify a dedication to intense training. This is largely due to the fact that eggs are low in calories and a rich source of fats and protein, thus leading to a reduction in the character's body fat percentage while training. With a minimal amount of carbohydrates and calories, however, drinking whole raw eggs is an ineffective and potentially unhealthy way to gain weight.
While other nutrients have an effect, weight gain primarily arises from eating more calories than you burn each day. You need to eat an additional 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound of body weight. A moderately active, 150-pound adult needs approximately 2,500 calories per day to maintain her current weight, with an additional 500 calories per day necessary to gain 1 pound per week. As one large egg contains 72 calories, this represents only 2.4 percent of the daily calories needed to gain weight.
Despite their minimal caloric content, raw eggs are high in protein, fats and cholesterol. Depending on your diet, the 6.3 grams of protein in one large egg represents 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of 46 percent for women, and 11 percent of the RDI of 56 percent for men. Similarly, the 4.8 grams of total fat in a large egg covers approximately 13 to 24 percent of your daily intake. As the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day to maintain a low risk of coronary heart disease, the 186 milligrams in one large egg approaches your daily maximum.
On their own, raw eggs have little impact on your body weight. While drinking multiple per day increases your weight gain, their high cholesterol and fat content creates risks for developing cardiovascular problems. As little as two per day, for example, nearly doubles the maximum amount of cholesterol that you should be eating. Adding another boosts the fat content of your drink to as much as three-quarters of your daily fat intake, despite providing less than 10 percent of your daily calories. Not only does this increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, but it also severely limits your diet for the remainder of the day.
Carbohydrates and Alternatives
According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, as much as 65 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. With less than 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, one large egg has almost no impact on your daily carb intake. Rather than attempt unhealthy, ineffective weight gain by drinking raw eggs, you should increase your carbohydrate intake. One slice of multi-grain bread, for example, contains as many calories as a large egg, 11.3 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of protein, only 1.1 grams of total fat and no cholesterol. In addition, a slice of multi-grain bread contains 1.9 grams of fiber, which helps to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Something to Consider
Raw eggs deliver nutrients, but they may also deliver bacteria according to the USDA's Food Safety Information. Raw eggs may contain bacteria such as Listeria
monocytogenes, E-coli and salmonella. If you experience diarrhea and vomiting after consuming raw eggs, seek medical attention immediately.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Egg, Raw, Fresh
- USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension; Calorie Need Estimates; Linda Houtkooper; February 2006
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- Cleveland Clinic: Nutrition -- Cholesterol Guidelines
- Virginia Cooperative Extension: Eat Well, Age Well: Smart Carbohydrate Choices
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- USDA: Food Safety Information -- Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know