Tucker Max on How to Eat an Egg

A few months ago I blogged that a rat had persuaded me to eat more eggs.  This particular rat liked scrambled eggs. Rats are omnivores, like humans. Unlike humans, they ignore advertising, nutrition fads and disinformation. Related to this, Tucker Max emailed me:

Have you thought about eating your egg raw? It sounded weird to me at first, but after looking extensively into it, there was a lot of good evidence that cooking an egg destroys a lot of the beneficial nutrients/enzymes in it. Once I started doing this, I noticed a HUGE increase in energy from the egg. It was like I almost eating a different food. In fact, the very first time I did it was at night, like 9pm, and I couldn’t get to sleep until 3am I had such a huge burst of energy. It’s not quite like that anymore, but I take it about an hour or two before I work out, and its like taking a red bull (I may be a bit vitamin B12 deficient, which would explain this).

As to how I do it, I just crack the egg into a coffee cup, and swallow it whole. It has pretty much no flavor. I also only do it with organic pasture-raised eggs. I don’t think I’d do this with normal, crappy store bought eggs.

I replied:

On my blog I said that butter and egg were in that way different from other foods — butter or at least milk must be a complete nutrient since it is the only food the baby gets. Other foods are under no such evolutionary pressure.

Tucker replied:

Which is why its SO important to get raw milk/butter from grassfed cows. Almost a completely different food than normal grocery store milk.

Yeah. When I get back to California I will compare raw and cooked eggs. In Beijing I eat mainly fermented eggs.

22 Replies to “Tucker Max on How to Eat an Egg”

  1. I don’t agree that raw eggs have no flavor, I specifically eat eggs raw for flavor. Usually I discard whites though, which have inferior nutritional value compared to yolks.

    Many people including me have noticed that eggs eaten alone strongly decrease blood sugar. My BG tends to be lower in the morning, so I prefer eating eggs later on. I haven’t noticed any effect on energy levels.

  2. I eat my eggs scambled OR raw, but when I eat’m raw I only eat the yolk. It’s a Spanish snack: Huevo con miel ( http://www.spain-in-iowa.com/2011/04/huevo-con-miel-raw-egg-yolk-with-honey/ )

    I don’t think that raw egg whites are good. I’m not sure about it, but I think I read somewhere that the egg white should be heated before consumption.

    I like the taste of a raw yolk, it’s basically the same as “sunny side up”! I don’t like the taste and texture of the egg white. Just the yolk for me, with some salt most of the time!

  3. How and where do you get eggs you trust to be salmonella free? I’m living in NYC, and I can’t seem to find in-shell pasteurized eggs anywhere.

    Given how horrible chicken raising conditions in the US are (even the so called “cage free” ones – 15 minutes a day outside the regular cage is enough for that designation), how do you trust your eggs to be disease free?

  4. > the very first time I did it was at night, like 9pm, and I couldn’t get to sleep until 3am I had such a huge burst of energy. It’s not quite like that anymore

    Yeah, that’s how the placebo effect works for me too.

  5. @beagle3, I recall reading somewhere that people know techniques to tell by inspecting an egg whether it is likely to have salmonella; sorry I can’t recall any details, but it’s worth looking into maybe.

  6. @gwern Your life must be amazingly energetic if every single new thing you try gives you a burst of energy for 7 hours.

    The problem with citing the ‘placebo effect’ is that most stuff you’ll try will never trigger any placebo effect, whether you expect it to work or not. Not to mention, why would anyone have a pre-expectation that eating a raw egg would give them a burst of immediate energy?

  7. I concur with Tucker Max, at least on the difference between pastured eggs, and not. We have chickens in our backyard…they live on grass, bugs, weeds, etc…and the eggs aren’t even recognizeable as the same type of food as store fed, even “Free Range” ones.

    1. The yolks are impossible to describe as yellow. I’m pretty sure yellow yolks are a strong indicator that the chicken producing them is undernourished. Think orange, like the fruit.

    2. My wife has an egg alergy, getting pimples if she eats many store-bought eggs. Not true of our backyard chickens.

  8. I don’t worry about salmonella (the odds are something like one in 10,000 – 30,000) and most healthy adults won’t suffer greatly from an occasional exposure. I do avoid raw egg whites as avidin can cause biotin depletion. Mark Sisson has a good article explaining it.

    It seems like the best of both worlds is sunny side up or poached.


  9. The yellow in commercial eggs comes from tumeric or other compounds which are added to the feed.

    Commercially-raised chickens do not get enough beta carotene in their food for their yolks to become yellow.

    If the feed were not adulterated, the yolks of commercially-raised eggs would be gray.

  10. I tend to eat more raw egg yolks than whites myself, but I don’t currently discard all raw egg whites. Here is some info to consider that’s counter to the standard view of raw egg whites as mostly or completely harmful and cooking as a total solution to the alleged problem:

    Even Mark Sisson says at that above link: “If you like raw eggs, I’d say have at it – with the above info in mind.”

    “Let’s start with one simple idea: Mother Nature isn’t stupid. She didn’t make human beings the only species that prefers foods that will kill us.” -Tom Naughton

    Cooking doesn’t destroy all egg white avidin:

    “It is a myth that light cooking completely destroys the avidin. According to this study (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119344834/abstract?), poaching eggs only destroys one third of the avidin while even frying leaves 30 percent of it behind.” (The Incredible, Edible Egg Yolk, July, 2005, by Chris Masterjohn, http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Egg_Yolk.html)

    Raw egg whites may actually provide benefits:

    “Heck, even — shudder — raw egg whites may give a glutathione boost in some people comparable to that given by raw milk! ….

    Raw Egg White — The Trusty Sidekick?
    The researchers searched over thirty publications identifying the sequences of edible plant and animal proteins and concluded that the only two types of protein in the food supply containing these unique bonds are whey proteins and egg white proteins. They noted the following:

    ‘It may also be noteworthy that from time immemorial, whey from raw milk and/or undenatured raw egg white have been administered to children and to the sick as prophylactic or therapeutic measures in folk medicine.'” (The Biochemical Magic of Raw Milk and Other Raw Foods: Glutathione, September 11, 2010, by Chris Masterjohn, http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/cmasterjohn/2010/09/11/the-biochemical-magic-of-raw-milk-and-other-raw-foods-glutathione)

    Wild animals and hunter gatherers don’t restrict themselves to eating only infertile eggs, the way most modern Americans do. One difference between conventional supermarket chicken eggs and the wild eggs that primates and other wild animals eat in the wild, is that most supermarket eggs are infertile and restricted to a narrow range of egg development. It turns out that fertile eggs contain less avidin than infertile eggs (The Merck Veterinary Manual, http://merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/171406.htm).

    Wild animals don’t restrict themselves at all to any particular stage of development in the egg cycle. They eat anything that won’t fight back so much as to be a serious threat. Thus, they eat some of their eggs in the fertile stage or beyond (see also Balut http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_(egg)), maybe most of them. Luckily, fertile eggs are increasingly available in the USA.

    “Maybe fertilized eggs would be helpful for folks who want to down a lot of raw whites without worrying about inducing biotin deficiency.” -Denise Minger

    “An egg seems intuitively analogous to a seed, so it seems like fertilization should neutralize the anti-nutrients like sprouting does to seeds. That’s a good topic to research for another blog post perhaps!” -Chris Masterjohn

    “Dr. Sharma, PhD, who is a biochemist with Bayer, contacted me about this issue. His investigation into the matter revealed that there is not enough biotin in an egg yolk to bind to all the avidin present in the raw whites. He found that 5.7 grams of biotin are required to neutralize all the avidin found in the raw whites of an average-sized egg. There are only about 25 micrograms — or 25 millionths of a gram — of biotin in an average egg yolk.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/09/raw-eggs.aspx

    It will be interesting to see what results Seth’s raw vs. cooked egg experiment produces. It’s refreshing to find someone who doesn’t jump to conclusions before he has done any testing. For it to be a relatively fair test, he should presumably use fertile, pasture-raised chicken eggs, or perhaps other high-quality eggs like free-range duck eggs.

  11. Alexian: unfortunately the effect only works for things I have loudly and repeatedly publicly committed to believing and practicing – since I don’t write on the paleo diet nor eat it, nothing in the diet gives me a rush…

  12. When I was a very little girl in the – gulp – 1940s, it was common knowledge that anyone feeling under the weather should take a raw egg whisked into a glass of milk to regain his strength. (Kind mothers added a bit of vanilla and sugar.) I have no idea why such a sensible idea went out of fashion.

  13. Maybe I’m being a bit slow…but where does the rat reference come in..have I missed something?
    Mmmmm eggs are good though…fish-finger sandwich with a cooked egg with runny yolk..the food of kings..!..

    Seth: A rat liked scrambled eggs. I thought that translated into good advice: eat eggs.

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