Egg White Protein vs Whey: A Nutrition & Benefits Comparison

I’ve been eating eggs & egg whites for decades, but until recently I’d never tried an egg white protein powder.

I got curious about how it measures up against whey, and decided to get a bag of it & do the nutrition research as well.

In this article I compare the egg protein powder I bought to the whey isolate powder I drink in a number of areas:

  • nutrients
  • strength & muscle-building
  • cost
  • taste
  • mix-ability

 

Egg white protein & whey isolate compared

Both egg white & whey isolate powders are complete proteins.
 
Whey isolate has 9% more branched-chain amino acids and 12% more essential amino acids per similar serving.

 

Egg white protein has over 6x more sodium than whey isolate.

 

Both whey isolate & egg white powders are essentially fat, carb, & sugar-free.

 

 

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Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

 

What’s next

Up ahead I’ll share how my egg white powder vs. whey showdown went, and we’ll get into the important comparisons between them.

Next I’d like to do a brief overview of egg whites, and mention a few of the health & fitness benefits that come with eating them.

 

Benefits of egg whites

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It’s the majority of an egg’s protein

About 60% of the egg’s protein comes from the white. (1)

 

Low-calorie complete protein source

Only 17 calories per egg white, and it delivers 3 ½ grams of protein containing all 9 EAAs (essential amino acids). (2)

 

Proteins rich in EAAs help build muscle

Science research has determined that proteins like egg whites that are high in EAAs are the best food source for triggering muscle growth. (3)

 

More protein helps with weight loss

Higher protein diets have been shown to help overweight people preserve their muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories than their fat. (4)

 

More protein helps control appetite

Many nutritional studies confirm that consuming higher amounts of quality protein (like egg whites) in one’s diet improves the ability to control your appetite. (5)

 

No cholesterol

Egg whites are cholesterol-free, as in zero. (6)

 

Electrolytes

Egg whites have sodium & potassium in them, and together these minerals help keep a number of “essential to our health” metabolic functions in balance. (7)

 

 


 

 

Egg whites vs. whey powder

Programming note: The head-to-head comparison between egg white protein powder & whey powder is in the next section after this one.

 

Here, this comparison is between actual egg whites and whey powder.

Since there are a bazillion whey products on the market all with different things in them, there’d be a similar number of different results.

So for the purpose of this comparison, I am using the unflavored, pure whey isolate product from Muscle Feast — which I know a lot about since it’s the one I buy.

 

These numbers below show how many egg whites are needed to equal the amount of each macronutrient found in a 1-scoop serving of the whey.

 

(Egg nutrition info from myfooddata.com. The amount of whey used is 25 grams.)

 

Calories

Pure whey isolate: 93

How many egg whites: 5.5

 

Protein

Pure whey isolate: 22.4 grams

How many egg whites: 6.2

 

Essential amino acids

Pure whey isolate: 10.9 grams

How many egg whites: 6.4

 

Branched-chain amino acids

Pure whey isolate: 5 grams

How many egg whites: 6.3

 

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Fat, carbs, & sugar

Both egg whites & the whey isolate have almost no fat, carbs, or sugar in them.

 

Sodium

Pure whey isolate: 45 mg

How many egg whites: 0.8

 

Main takeaways

*Approximately 6 ½ egg whites are needed to match the protein, essential amino acids, & BCAAs’ content found in a serving of the whey isolate.

*Both egg whites & whey isolate are comprised mostly of protein without carbs or fat, and neither have very much sugar in them either.

*Eating the 6 ½ egg whites to equal the whey’s protein & amino acids numbers would also deliver over 6 times as much sodium as the whey.

 

 

 

Egg white protein powder vs. whey

Lil Boji w Judees Egg White Powder and Muscle Feast Isolate - heydayDo image

OK, here is how egg white protein powder matches up against a whey isolate powder.

I’ll start off with all of the nutritional comparisons, then get into the other qualities like cost, taste, muscle-building ability, etc.

 

Pure protein powders used

This comparison study was made using Judee’s Paleo Protein Egg White Powder and Muscle Feast’s Unflavored Whey Isolate, pictured above with my Quality Control guy.

Each of these two-ingredient products contain only their pure protein source (whey isolate or egg white powder) and an emulsifier, which in both of their cases is sunflower lecithin. (8)

 

(standardized to a 25 gram serving)

Calories

Whey isolate: 93

Egg white powder: 100

 

Protein

Whey isolate: 22.4 grams

Egg white powder: 20.0 grams

 

Protein % by weight in each serving

Whey isolate: 90%

Egg white powder: 80%

 

EAAs (essential amino acids)

Whey isolate: 10.9 grams

Egg white powder: 9.7 grams

 

BCAAS (branched-chain aminos)

Whey isolate: 5.0 grams

Egg white powder: 4.6 grams

 

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Fat, carbs, & sugar

Both the whey isolate & egg white powders have only minuscule amounts of any of these three things.

 

Sodium

Whey isolate: 45 mg

Egg white powder: 310 mg

The egg white powder has almost 7x as much sodium, which could be an issue for someone who’s getting too much salt in their diet already.

 

Mix-ability

I mixed both powders easily in a shaker bottle with only 8 oz. of water, and I don’t use a metal whisk ball.

The credit here definitely goes to the emulsifier, sunflower lecithin.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, emulsifiers are used quite often in food products.

Their role is to make blending easier when using ingredients that ordinarily wouldn’t mix well together, like oil & water. (9)

Or like a dry protein powder and any liquid we’d want to mix it with.

 

Taste

This is a very subjective category, since my opinion is based on my finicky taste buds. Yours may have a totally different reaction…

As mentioned above, I used just a cup of water as my liquid for both powders.

 

Egg white powder

I didn’t like the taste of egg white powder in water, so much so that I couldn’t finish it like that.

So I stashed it in the fridge for later when it got mixed in the blender with strawberries, pineapple, and a banana.

No problemo then, the funky taste was well-masked by the fruit.

I also didn’t like its smell. It wasn’t rank or gag-level, but it had a little something that was a turn-off for me.

This too was vanquished by the fruit I added.

 

Whey isolate

I was totally okay with the unflavored whey isolate, since it reminds me of skim milk, and I’m good with skim milk.

It had very little smell to it. If anything, a faint milk vibe is all.

 

 

Shop Now Rogue Fitness

 

 

As a muscle-building aid

Whey has been extensively studied and put to the test by sports research for decades now.

(At the National Library of Medicine, I was given over 350 results going back 40 years when I queried “whey protein athletes”.)

 

Whey muscle benefits

Whey’s been proven to:

  • boost muscle building processes
  • aid in muscle recovery
  • increase muscle strength for lifters & athletes (10)

 

Egg powders not studied much

Egg white powders & (even egg whites) just have not been tested in many significant sports science trials. (11)

 

But egg whites are a high quality protein

Egg white protein powders have a similar amino acid profile to pure whey isolate powders for both BCAAS (branched-chain amino acids) & EAAs (essential amino acids).

 

Eggs icon blue - heydayDo icon

 

Eggs are high in leucine the BCAA

The branched-chain amino acid leucine has been identified in sports nutrition research as an important part in the triggering of muscle growth. (12)

And a single serving of egg white powder has about 1.8 grams of leucine in it, a healthy quantity.

(Whey has 2.3 grams of leucine/serving.)

 

Is egg white protein good for muscle building?

Eggs have long been looked at as one of the best protein source foods when it comes to athletes & weightlifters. (13)

And sports science has shown that quality protein sources high in essential amino acids (like whey & egg whites) are the best dietary choices for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. (14)

 

 

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Cost

The egg white & whey isolate powders I’m comparing in this article have nearly identical costs for their protein – 86¢ vs. 87¢.

 

Note that the cost listed is for 25* grams of actual protein, not product.

 

* – I use 25 grams of protein because it’s within the 20-30 gram range for protein dosing recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition in their Position Stand on Nutrient Timing. (15)

 

Here’s the math I did using our two powders and their current prices, which could change the next time the wind blows.

I also used the larger 4 lb. bag for the Judee’s egg powder, since it’s a closer match to Muscle Feast’s 5 pounder that I drink.

 

Judee’s Egg White Powder (4 lb. bag)

Current price: $49.99

Servings: 73

Cost per serving: $0.68

Protein per serving: 20 grams

Cost/g of protein: $.0342

Cost per 25g of protein: $0.86

 

Muscle Feast Whey Isolate (5 lb.)

Current price: $69.99

Servings: 94

Cost per serving: $0.74

Protein per serving: 21.5 grams

Cost/g of protein: $.0346

Cost per 25g of protein: $0.87 

 

Program note on my method

I calculate cost per gram of actual protein when evaluating all these different protein powders that I product-test & review here on heydayDo.

That way powders that use fillers or are light on the protein don’t get a free pass like they do on Amazon & other online sellers where they show you cost per ounce or cost per serving.

 

 

 

Whole egg vs. egg white

Dozen eggs - Egg White Protein - heydayDo image

Here are a few nutritional comparisons between an egg white & a whole egg.

The main takeaways for me are that compared to the egg white alone, a whole egg has more:

  • calories
  • protein & amino acids
  • fat
  • cholesterol
  • vitamins & minerals

(I’m using a large egg, and the nutrition facts are from myfooddata.com.)

 

Calories

Whole Egg: 72

Egg White: 17

 

Protein

Whole Egg: 6.3 grams

Egg White: 3.6 grams

 

Essential amino acids

Whole Egg: 2.8 grams

Egg White:1.7 grams

 

Branched-chain amino acids

Whole Egg: 1.3 grams

Egg White: 0.8 grams

 

Fat

Whole Egg: 4.8 grams

Egg White: 0.1 grams

 

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Cholesterol

Whole Egg: 186 milligrams

Egg White: 0 mg

 

Note 1: 

Did you know that in 2015 the U.S. Dept. of Health stopped putting a cholesterol daily limit in their Dietary Guidelines publication? See page 32 for their comments regarding this. (16)

Their decision was influenced by science studies like those I mention below.

 

Note 2: 

Medical research has shown multiple times that the cholesterol in eggs is not a health risk for most of the population. (17)

* This even includes people who have cholesterol problems. (18)

*And a massive review of thousands of patients found eggs posed no health risk to people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease either. (19)

 

Vitamins & Minerals

Thanks to the yolk, whole eggs provide a lot more vitamins & minerals than the egg whites do.

There’s a brief list with 5 vitamins & 2 minerals put together by Healthline that compares the amounts found in egg whites vs. whole eggs.

And for a complete list of the amounts of all vitamins & minerals found in egg whites vs. whole eggs, there’s this data query I did on myfooddata.com.

 

 

 

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Egg white protein FAQ

Here are answers to a few of the commonly asked questions regarding egg protein.

 

Is egg protein powder better than whey?

Compared to the same serving size** as pure whey isolate, egg white protein powder has:

  • less amino acids
  • less BCAAs
  • less protein
  • almost 7 times more sodium

Egg protein powder has almost 3x more potassium, but it has 10x less calcium.

** – Comparison made using a 25 gram serving of Judee’s Egg Powder and Muscle Feast Whey Isolate.

 

Egg protein & the lactose intolerant

Egg protein powder helps someone with lactose intolerance avoid the problems caused by milk products. (20)

However, whey isolate has had almost all of its lactose removed (that’s where the word isolate comes from). (21)

Because of that, whey isolate is well-tolerated by people with lactose issues. (22)

 

Egg protein powder is still an allergen

Allergies to eggs are more often caused by egg whites than the yolks, per Mayo Clinic. (23)

Thus egg white protein powders must display an allergen warning label. (24)

Note: Allergies to eggs are much more prevalent in kids than adults, since most people outgrow their allergies before they turn 18.  (25)

 

Bottom line: Egg white protein powder is not better than whey, especially whey isolate.

 

 


 

 

Can I replace whey protein with eggs?

Eggs could replace your whey and its daily protein intake, since eggs – like whey – are a complete protein. (26)

But keep in mind that you’d need to eat a lot of eggs to take the place of a scoop of whey.

How many eggs?

Let’s take 1 scoop of pure unflavored whey isolate and see how many eggs would be needed to replace certain key nutrients.

 

(Using large egg nutrition info from fatsecret.com)

Protein

Whey isolate: 21.5 grams

Egg equivalent: 3.4 eggs

 

Essential amino acids

Whey isolate: 10.9 grams

Egg equivalent: 3.9 eggs

 

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Whey isolate: 5 grams

Egg equivalent: 3.8 eggs

 

This averages out to a little over 3 ½ (3.7) whole eggs needed to replace each scoop of whey’s protein & amino acid contribution to your diet.

 

 

Remember the additional calories in eggs

Keep in mind that you’ll be consuming more calories by using eggs to replace your whey, which you may or may not be OK with.

How many more calories?

Using the average we just saw of 3.7 eggs per scoop of whey:

  • 1 scoop whey isolate: 89 calories
  • 3.7 large eggs: 274 calories
So every scoop of whey replaced by the nutritionally equivalent amount of eggs will add 185 calories to your diet.

 

 

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Wrapping Up

I hope that my article comparing whey & egg white protein powders is useful to you, and that the nutrition guides on egg whites are helpful too.

I wish you well on your fitness journey; let’s go.

– greg

July 2020

 

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About Me

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Surfer. Organic food & wine grower. Guitarist. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far).

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About heydayDo

heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
(So if you’re looking for medical advice, hit up your doctor or health professional for that. I’m just shootin’ the breeze here…) 
 
heydayDo began as a daily journal I kept as I recovered from the latest of many heart operations I’ve had to deal with since birth. 
 
I have a deep interest in learning about nutrition & fitness, and applying it to improve my quality of life.
 
I believe this knowledge can help me be the healthiest & strongest version of me as I can, even in the face of inborn heart disease.
heydayDo author Greg Simon at 60 (Jan 2020) original

The 60-year-old version of me, January 2020

So when I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s hype.
 
Here on heydayDo I share what I’ve learned from my fitness, health, & nutrition research with whoever drops by.