The Best Protein Food in Your Grocery Store

Should We Eat It Every Day?

This protein source has the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score, but it’s got plenty of other superpowers, too.

Eggs Are Tired, Boss

Hey, do you remember John Coffey from “The Green Mile”? (“I’m tired, boss…”) It’s a stretch, but I see a similarity between Coffey and chicken eggs. No, really. To begin with, both were wrongly accused of horrible crimes.

In the case of Coffey, he was convicted of murdering a couple of young sisters. In the case of eggs, they were convicted of causing high cholesterol and heart disease, leading to – or playing a role in – the death of millions.

Coffey was never exonerated. He got fried. (Hey! Another similarity!) Eggs, however, were acquitted. In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines did away with the upper limit for dietary cholesterol, emphasizing that egg consumption no longer needed to be restricted.

Furthermore, several large studies have indicated that eggs don’t increase the biomarkers associated with heart disease, but even the studies that still do are suspect.

Oh yeah, one more similarity between John Coffey and eggs: Both had/have a supernatural, or almost supernatural, power to heal.

Researchers Michael Puglisi and Maria Luz Fernandez compiled just a few of the attributes of eggs in the journal “Nutrients.” I’ve included some of the most important attributes below, with some additional info from my personal egg data bank/data refrigerator.

Eggs and Skeletal Muscle Health


The protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score, or PDCAAS, is the gold standard when it comes to measuring protein quality. The score is a combination of a particular protein’s digestibility and how well it fulfills amino acid requirements.

So anything over 90% is considered pretty damn good. Meat and fish come in at a hefty 92-94%. Eggs, however, clock in at a surreal 118%.

How do you get a PDCAAS over a hundred? Well, not only is egg protein digested at a 97% rate, it also contains an amino acid complement that, in many cases, exceeds human requirements. Hence the mathematically puzzling number.

Still, most of the people who work with PDCAAS don’t accept any number over 100%, so they just round down. Let’s just say eggs have a perfect protein score.

Multiple studies also show their anabolic strength. When Matsuoka, et al., fed male rats a diet consisting of 20% egg white protein or casein, the egg-protein rats were found to have a greater average carcass mass and greater gastrocnemius weight than the rats that were fed conventional (not micellar) casein. They attributed this difference between egg white and plain casein to greater net protein utilization (95% compared to 70% for casein) from egg white, in addition to the higher digestibility of the eggs.

Of course, eating whole eggs is even more anabolic than eating egg whites. Van Vliet, et al. (2017) fed young weight-trained men whole eggs or egg whites (18 grams of protein) and found that the whole eggs spurred a greater surge in mTOR, which is probably the most important cell-signaling complex for muscle growth. The higher the levels of mTOR, the greater the synthesis of protein.

Most importantly, that same van Vliet study found that eating whole eggs increased post-exercise muscle protein synthesis about 45% more than plain egg whites.

This apparent superiority of whole eggs in promoting protein synthesis probably has to do with the assorted micronutrients, phospholipids, and microRNAs contained in the yolk.

The scientific literature is filled with similar studies, too.

Eggs and Weight Loss

High-protein foods, in general, have a high satiety index (SI), but eggs also have the unusual property of suppressing plasma ghrelin levels (ghrelin is a hormone associated with appetite stimulation): the less ghrelin swimming through the blood, the less you want to binge on Reese’s Pieces.

Eggs are also thought to reduce lipid absorption, in addition to inhibiting lipase activity, both of which would logically contribute to a reduction in abdominal fat.

One study of 25 men compared the SI effects of eating iso-caloric breakfasts consisting of either eggs or bagels (Missimer et al, 2017). Okay, that’s not much of a contest – the eggs were more filling than the bagels. But what was surprising is that guys who had the egg breakfast consumed fewer calories over the next 24 hours, meaning that the effect of eggs on appetite suppression is no rapidly fleeting thing.

Another study that compared eating eggs to bagels (what’s with all the bagel studies?) for breakfast found that the egg group had a 65% greater reduction in waist circumference and a 10% greater reduction in body fat. Again, not much of a surprise, but no differences were found in the cholesterol levels of the two groups, despite the egg group ingesting an extra 400 mg. of the stuff every day (Rueda, et al, 2013).

Eggs and Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the age-related decline of skeletal muscle mass and strength. The resultant loss of function can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and even some cancers.

Then there’s the peculiar malady known as “sarcopenic obesity,” characterized by a big-time loss of muscle mass and concurrent rise in fat mass. This is why many old people look like Mr. Potato Heads pushing a walker.

While just eating virtually any kind of protein would help the elderly population, eggs seem particularly suited to the job. The thing is, it’s difficult for a lot of older people to get the requisite 28 grams of protein they usually need by eating big, unappetizing, intimidating hunks of meat.

They might also have difficulties chewing or swallowing and have pre-existing malnutrition or chronic diseases. Cutting into a T-bone or tackling a quarter-pound burger might seem daunting. Not only that, but they often don’t feel like eating because of poor appetite or low caloric needs in general.

Eggs, however, are incredibly easy to digest and can be eaten at any time, in addition to being inexpensive. It seems the only hurdle would be to convince old folks – who lived in the dark times when eggs were anathema to heart health – that eggs are no longer the cholesterol menace they were thought to be.

Eggs, Immunity, and Protection Against Chronic Disease


Simply by enhancing skeletal muscle health, eggs can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce risk of prehypertension and hypertension, ward off cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, and, in general, reduce overall risk of all-cause mortality.

On a molecular basis, chicken eggs are teeming with immunoglobulin Y (IgY), which is the avian equivalent of the mammalian immunoglobulin G. It’s thought to protect the developing chicken embryo in the same way IgG protects human fetuses. Okay, so how’s that going to help my Uncle Wilbur with the grippe? Well, IgY has been used to promote passive immunity to treat and prevent human and animal diseases caused by hostile microbes.

Egg proteins also contain the enzymes lysosome, avidin, phosvitin, and ovotransferrin, each of which put the whup on various bacterial life processes.

They even offer protection against inflammatory bowel disease and seem to suppress tumors of the colon (egg yolk proteins, specifically).

Okay, Yeah, But How Many Eggs Can I Safely Eat?

The evidence is overwhelming that whole eggs are nutritionally superior entities, but regardless, most of you probably can’t get that cholesterol rap out of your head. Do you treat eggs like they’re something you dare expose yourself to only occasionally, like the midday sun, dental X-rays, or Adele songs? Or do we throw caution to the wind and eat eggs ad libitum?

It’s hard to say definitively because there aren’t any studies that I know of that involved eating a henhouse’s worth of eggs every day.

Still, we can use a little logic to help us make the decision. First, eggs have been “exonerated” by several studies. Secondly, dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood levels of cholesterol. Your liver and intestines manufacture about 80 to 85% of what you need to make cell membranes and to produce hormones, vitamin D, bile acid, etc.

The rest, however, comes from your diet. Your body will regulate levels to some extent, so if you don’t eat enough cholesterol, the body produces more. Conversely, it produces less when we eat a lot.

But far more causative of unhealthy cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol is an unhealthy diet in general: lots of processed carbs, a lack of physical activity, and excess weight.

Saturated fats are said to raise cholesterol, too, but that mostly happens when it’s eaten in conjunction with cholesterol. And yes, eggs contain both sat fat and cholesterol, but the amount of saturated fat in an egg (about 1.6 grams) is a pittance when compared to the average steak (around 21 grams).

So, eff it, I say. Eat your damn eggs. Their nutritional qualities can’t be ignored, and they shouldn’t be dismissed from your diet. They, like all exonerated criminals, deserve their rightful place in society.



  1. Puglisi MJ et al. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein. Nutrients. 2022;14: 2904.
  2. van Vliet S et al. Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Dec;106(6):1401-1412. PubMed.

This one made me think of that Tarzan movie where the momma ape kept giving Tarzan raw eggs and then later he kept a basket of them handy for snacks.

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Somewhere in Heaven Vince Gironda paused in his daily workout with Jesus Christ and said “Thank you Captain Obvious!”


We have 22 chickens and get a dozen plus eggs a day (we have some older chickens that don’t lay much). During laying season we’d get 18 a day. We eat about 12-14 in a sitting (as a family of 6) and sell our surplus. It is a great way to eat as many eggs as you want and save money at the same time. We are eating the equivalent of $20-40 worth of eggs a week and buy feed for $25 every two-three weeks. The chickens eat organic feed, free range, and do not get any vaccines or hormones. It is a time saving and money saving venture. It takes me less time to feed and water my chickens than to go to the grocery store.

We also raise meat chickens but that is another story. However, briefly, we raised 12 meat chickens for three months which was good for 90+ lbs of chicken in our freezer. I’m very supportive of including a healthy amount of eggs in your diet and would even suggest getting chickens rather than buying eggs. Of course this all depends on if you are able to raise and take care of them (space, time, travel, etc.).


That sounds really cool, but those of us who live in urban areas have anti-chicken city ordinances to deal with.

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Does Jesus even need a spot? Does Vince curtail his salty language? So many questions…


That was kind of like my childhood, too, only my mother wasn’t an ape – she was Finnish, and they were herring eggs instead of chicken, and I had asthma and wore Underoos instead of a loin cloth until I was 12, but yeah, pretty close.

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Great questions TC, points to ponder…How about a legitamate one? What doid Vince refer to when he said consume fertile eggs. I assume those are not sold in stores now? Do you have a brand preference for egg consumption? Thank you in advance sir, love your articles!!!

Forgive me if this is out of line, and just ignore it if so. Do you ever plan to do an extensive article on digestion and maybe supplements that are commonly talked about? I have spent and wasted so much money over the years trying to fix my broken digestion and all I have ever had from doctors is “it’s all in your head” excuses thrown at me when tests keep coming back clear. PPIs and anti-depressants just make the issues worse. I even had extensive CBT for a long period which didn’t help. These symptoms are very real, hard to predict, hard to manage, hard to see a pattern with, and extremely lower my quality of life. I keep fighting to figure this stuff out despite often feeling like I’ve exhausted a ton of options (as well as a dozen different diets, anything anyone could recommend here, I assure you I’ve tried it). I would love to hear if you have any thoughts on this kind of stuff. Just as i’m about to try Betaine HCL and ACV for the 4th or 5th time.

Fertile eggs are those the contain both ova and sperm, ones that will develop into baby chicks. I can’t figure out why they’d be better and I certainly can’t find any evidence to support their nutritional superiority. As far as what “brand” of chicken eggs I buy, I try to buy the organic, grass-fed, free range, happy chicken brands…if they don’t cost too much.

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I assume you’ve been tested for food allergies (skin or blood test)? Any experts have anything to say about possible dysbiosis? BTW, what foods cause problems? Anything specific? Any specific categories of food?

I had a skin allergy test around 10 years ago when symptoms started to show. I can’t remember exactly what that involved but it came back clear along with several stool tests, two endoscopies, spirometry and bloods. In the UK there are often large waiting lists and it’s been extremely difficult to get a GP to listen to me on any of this. I have considered going private but it is a lot of money I don’t have right now, especially when there’s no guarantee of any relief.

I’ve been trying to figure out “safe” foods for the longest time. The only things I know for sure are sugars in all forms including sweeteners. I know this suggests SIBO, although low FODMAP did not give me relief. I cannot eat any fruit because of this and avoid things like onions, tomatoes and gluten even though some of my better days have come after saying “bollocks to it” and indulged in something like a Lasagna and garlic bread. Sugar is definitely a trigger though. In a way where it makes it worse, my baseline symptoms are there all day every day though.

So is the most accurate description of these symptoms IBS? BTW, do you have Type II diabetes? What’s your ethnic origin? Have you been tested for clostridium difficile (sp?)? Has anyone every suggested fecal transplant therapy? Tell you what, I’m not sure I can offer any help, but email me at so we can continue the discussion. I’ll try to answer stuff in-between work duties.

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Very true. There a lot of cities/urban areas that would allow chickens, but HOAs ban them. If possible, try finding a rural egg seller that is willing to bring them in and meet in town. They often will undercut the grocery store price and can sell 3-5 dozen at a time. Could save you $50-$100 a year. Personally, I am on a tight budget so I’m always looking for ways to get better quality foods for the same amount of money or less than grocery stores.

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My wife and I have heavily considered having chickens. We live in a historic neighborhood, but as far as we can tell, there’s nothing on the books preventing us.

We don’t especially get along well with one of our neighbors, but perhaps that’s all the better reason to get some chickens. Haha

That’s excellent advice. Lots of farmers’ markets in my area, at the very least.

And roosters. Big, angry ones.

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I live in a small town with a market every Saturday not too far from my house. Guess I need to start going to see the Egg man.

Great info! Any info regarding studies implicating eggs in prostate disease and/or prostate cancer? They all appear anecdotal or retrospective to me but just curious.

Goo goo a’joob (old fogey Beatles reference).