Losing fat and adding muscle are goals for almost every exerciser. Egg whites are a great way to get high-quality, zero-fat protein to support muscle building. In addition, egg whites are a low-cost, low-calorie component of a successful muscle-building nutrition plan.
Egg-white protein, or albumen, is the clear part of the egg when it is raw. When cooked, the protein coagulates and turns white. The white of a U.S. grade large to jumbo egg has 3.5 to 5 g of protein. The egg white contains protein and not too much else, while the yolk has vitamins, fat and all nine essential amino acids.
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How Much Protein is Needed
Active, healthy exercisers should consume 0.5 to 0.8 g of protein per pound of body weight daily. For a 120-pound exerciser, that means 60 to 96 g of protein. A 200-pound exerciser should get 100 to 160 g of protein. Overconsumption of protein is a problem for many athletes, who believe that more protein means more muscle. Naturally occurring proteins such as egg whites are economically and nutritionally superior to artificially produced protein supplements.
Easy Egg-White Recipes
Egg whites are an easy substitute for whole eggs in omelets and frittatas. For added flavor, vitamins, amino acids and fat, include one yolk in the recipe. When you're camping or traveling, powdered egg whites can be easily mixed into juice, yogurt, applesauce or pudding to boost protein content without distorting the flavor.
Complement Egg-White Protein With Good Fats and Carbs
Egg-white protein is a solid protein source, but all exercisers need to combine protein with adequate carbohydrate and fat calories. Optimal ratios of protein vary, but most nutritionists recommend a ratio of three or four carbohydrates to one protein. Fats should be only 20 to 25 percent of daily calorie intake. Just as egg-white protein is a good source of protein, the yolk of the egg, olive oil and nuts are good sources of fat. Potatoes and whole grains, as well as fruits and vegetables, are good sources of complex carbohydrates.