The Nutrition Myths To Ignore About Raw Eggs

Over the years, differing schools of thought have emerged about whether eggs are "good" or "bad" for you. As Harvard explains, doctors used to be weary of their high cholesterol content and its impact on heart disease, but more recently the narrative is that eggs are actually a heart-healthy food with beneficial fats and nutrients. These contradicting opinions have inevitably led to commonly believed myths surrounding the nutritional implications of eggs, especially whether raw versus cooked eggs are the better option. We've all seen muscular people down raw eggs as a post-workout snack in the movies, but are they really beneficial?

As it turns out, there are two big misconceptions when it comes to this particular debate. First, that raw eggs contain more protein than their cooked counterparts, and second, that consuming eggs raw offers more advantages overall. In both cases, the opposite may actually be true.

Are raw eggs higher in protein than cooked eggs?

In general, one whole egg typically contains between 5 and 7 grams of protein (though the exact amount will vary based on the size of the egg). While it's true that cooking them can alter their nutritional value slightly, the difference in protein is marginal — ultimately, eggs offer around the same amount of protein whether they're raw or cooked.

For example, one large raw egg contains around 6.3 grams of protein. That amount doesn't change when that same egg is hard-boiled; and when it's fried, the protein level drops ever so slightly to 6.26 grams. Simply put, eggs are the gold standard of protein, regardless of whether they're raw or cooked. 

But, there's more reason to ignore this common myth. Because, in the end, the opposite ends up being true: You may actually get more protein from cooked eggs because raw eggs can diminish protein absorption. Cooking the animal product changes the structure of the protein, making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb this valuable nutrient. According to a 1998 study in the Journal of Nutrition, the protein in cooked dishes is around 90% bioavailable (meaning your body can access and absorb 9/10ths of it). By comparison, the protein in raw eggs is only 50% bioavailable.

Does consuming raw eggs offer more benefits than cooked eggs?

There's no denying that raw eggs are extremely nutritious; they're packed with healthy fats that may improve heart health, antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein which are great for eye health, and essential nutrients like choline, which are known to improve brain function (via Healthline). But, the problem with this myth is that it's not necessarily any more advantageous to consume eggs raw as opposed to cooked. Essentially, they offer similar benefits either way, and cooked eggs generally are safer as they pose less risk of getting sick.

Studies have not only found that raw eggs can decrease protein absorption, as explained above, but they're also believed to prevent the body's ability to absorb biotin, per Healthline. Biotin, or Vitamin B7, aids in cell growth and is crucial to the body's metabolism functioning properly. So, while a raw egg might contain higher levels of certain nutrients, overall your body typically digests and absorbs those nutrients better when the egg is cooked.

On top of these nutritional concerns, consuming raw eggs brings with it a risk of bacteria contamination in the form of salmonella. While the probability of contracting salmonella from a raw egg is generally low (1 in 30,000 eggs, according to a 2002 study published in Risk Analysis), it's not nonexistent; cooking the eggs will remove any associated issues and ensure that they're safe to consume.