Should you eat egg whites raw or cooked?
Egg whites should not be eaten raw, even if they’re pasteurised.
Besides eliminating salmonella and other pathogens — which is ensured by the pasteurising process – cooking inactivates the inhibiting factors of the digestive enzyme trypsin, improving the digestibility of egg proteins.
Another important benefit of cooking the egg whites is the inactivation of the antinutrient avidin. Avidin is a glycoprotein that bonds to biotin (the latter is also known as vitamin H, vitamin B7 or vitamin B8), preventing it from being absorbed in the intestine. Consequently, if we eat raw egg whites daily, in protein shakes for example, we potentially put ourselves in a situation of chronic biotin deficiency.
This becomes problematic since biotin deficiency entails several consequences, including sleepiness, weight loss, dermatitis, anxiety attacks, muscle pain and other symptoms related to the nervous system (e.g.: mental fatigue, insomnia and hallucinations).
Therefore, use egg whites in recipes that involve their cooking, whether on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven. Make scrambled egg whites/eggs, or add them to pancakes, oatmeal or cakes, to increase their protein content. But don’t add them to protein shakes while raw, as these won’t go through any thermal processes; rather opt for a protein powder.
And since we’re talking about eggs:
Is there a difference between organic eggs and eggs from chickens raised in battery cages?
Organic eggs are produced by free-range chickens that are given organic feed. These eggs have a higher nutritional quality than eggs coming from hens raised in battery cages.
Naturally, the marginal value of the nutritional increase is in the egg yolk: insects (included in the diet of free-range chickens) provide a higher content of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), while pastures provide a larger amount of vitamin E and carotenes, both found exclusively in the egg yolk.
The yolks of eggs produced by pasture-raised chickens can therefore be a powerful element of a healthy diet.