The key to gaining weight is consistently eating more calories than your body uses. While raw eggs provide some calories, lots of other healthy foods contain more calories per serving, so simply drinking raw eggs may not be the best way to gain weight. Most importantly, you can incur serious risks from drinking raw eggs, so this practice isn't recommended.
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To gain a pound, you need to consume an extra 3,500 calories, so to gain 1 pound per week, eat an extra 500 calories per day. You'd have to drink quite a few raw eggs to significantly increase weight gain. Adding two eggs to your diet each day provides 144 calories, which means it would take about 25 days of making this dietary change before you gained just 1 pound.
Eggs are a nutritious food to eat while trying to gain weight, however, as they provide a significant amount of protein as well as riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium, lutein and zeaxanthin. Your body needs riboflavin to produce energy, and both phosphorus and selenium are necessary for forming DNA. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help protect your eyesight and limit your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
Eggs and Weight Loss
Including eggs -- cooked eggs -- as part of a healthy diet plan is linked to helping with weight loss. This is partly due to their relatively high protein content; each egg has more than 6 grams of protein. Eating meals containing 25 to 30 grams of protein can help increase satiety and decrease appetite, according to a review article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2015. Eating eggs for breakfast instead of a carbohydrate-rich meal with the same number of calories helped people lose more weight, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2009. Another study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2013, found that people who ate eggs for breakfast instead of cereal or a croissant, for example, ate fewer calories at other meals during the day.
Eggs, Protein and Weight Gain
Although higher-protein diets may be helpful for weight loss, this doesn't mean you want to cut way back on protein if you're trying to gain weight. You need to eat plenty of protein if you want to add weight as muscle rather than fat. According to a study published in Diabetes Care in 2010, combining a high-protein diet with resistance training can help people improve their body composition by decreasing body fat and increasing muscle mass. Aim for at least two resistance-training sessions per week that include exercises that focus on each of the major muscle groups in the body to help you gain muscle, rather than fat.
When you get your protein could be as important as how much you consume. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2014 found that people can build more muscle if they evenly distribute their protein intake over their three main meals rather than eating most of their protein at dinner. Potential ways to use eggs as part of a weight-gain diet include eating an egg omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast, adding sliced hard-boiled eggs to your salad or sandwich at lunch or topping a mix of sauteed spinach, tomato and chickpeas with a poached egg for a nutritious protein-rich dinner.
Raw Egg Safety Considerations
Consuming raw eggs -- even dipping into the raw cookie dough -- isn't recommended, because raw eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria. If the eggs are contaminated, even a smidge can cause food-borne illness. Salmonella symptoms include vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and fever for up to a week. This unpleasant form of food poisoning can lead to death in some patients, if the infection gets into the bloodstream. If you need to drink raw eggs or put them in a recipe, such as eggnog, purchase pasteurized eggs, which have been heat treated to kill any bacteria. However, it's safer to simply eat cooked eggs instead of drinking raw eggs.
If you drink raw egg whites by themselves, it could lead to a biotin deficiency, since a protein in egg whites interferes with absorption of this B vitamin. Cooking deactivates this protein, and egg yolks are high in biotin; as long as you cook your egg whites or eat the whole egg, you shouldn't have to worry about this issue.
Dietary Changes for Weight Gain
If you're trying to gain weight, do so by adding nutritious but high-calorie foods to your diet, such as nuts, seeds, avocado, hummus, dairy products and whole grains. Add snacks, such as hard-boiled eggs, to help you increase your caloric intake and drink liquids between meals so they don't fill you up at mealtime. Choose drinks like smoothies, milk or 100-percent fruit juice instead of water or other calorie-free beverages. Don't try to gain weight by eating more junk food, as this could adversely affect your health and leave you with a higher risk of conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: The Role of Protein in Weight Loss and Maintenance
- International Journal of Obesity: Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss
- The Journal of Nutrition: Dietary Protein Distribution Positively Influences 24-h Muscle Protein Synthesis in Healthy Adults
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Playing It Safe With Eggs
- FamilyDoctor.org: Healthy Ways to Gain Weight If You’re Underweight
- European Journal of Nutrition: Variation in the Effects of Three Different Breakfast Meals on Subjective Satiety and Subsequent Intake of Energy and Lunch and Evening Meal
- Diabetes Care: A High-Protein Diet With Resistance Exercise Training Improves Weight Loss and Body Composition in Overweight and Obese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
- QuickAndDirtyTips.com: Raw Egg Whites: How Much Is Too Much?
- All About Vision: Lutein and Zeaxanthin