Can You Eat Raw Eggs?

There is no doubt that eggs are incredibly healthy. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that a few eggs a day can keep a doctor away. Eggs contain numerous essential nutrients that can provide you with several health benefits.

However, that doesn’t mean you can eat eggs in any form. While eating cooked or boiled egg is a great way to ensure your body receives an adequate supply of several nutrients, the same cannot be said about raw eggs as it may lead to undesirable consequences. Read on to know whether or not it is safe to eat raw eggs.

Reduced protein absorption

Eggs offer a great natural source of proteins. However, eating the eggs raw could decrease the absorption of proteins in your intestine.

One research study has shown that only 50% of proteins from raw eggs can be absorbed into the body. [1]

This may deprive you of the benefits of high protein intake such as the healing of injured tissues, and the growth of muscle mass.

Blocks Biotin Absorption

Biotin or vitamin B7 is another nutrient in eggs that could escape absorption when it is consumed in a raw form.

This nutrient plays a role in the metabolism of fatty acids and glucose.

While egg yolks contain a good source of biotin, the raw egg white contains avidin, a form of protein that can bind to biotin thus preventing its absorption. [2]

It may increase your risk of deficiency of biotin slightly, which is why eating raw eggs is not advisable.

Bacterial Contamination

With raw eggs, you can never ignore the risk of bacterial contamination. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. [3]

Consuming eggs contaminated with these microorganisms may result in food poisoning. The common symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fever. You can avoid the risk of food poisoning by eating cooked or boiled eggs instead of raw eggs.

Effect on specific age groups

Food poisoning caused due to the consumption of raw eggs could be more dangerous for people belonging to certain groups.

For example; Salmonella infection may lead to serious, fatal consequences in infants, young children, and pregnant women. [4]

Children are more susceptible to develop a serious form of food poisoning due to their immature immune systems. Salmonella infection in pregnant women may cause uterine cramps leading to premature birth.

The risk of complications caused due to salmonella infection is also higher in people over the age of 65 years and immune-compromised patients. This is why; it is best to avoid eating raw eggs, especially if you belong to these categories of the population. 

Conclusion

It is advisable to consume boiled or cooked eggs to ensure your body can derive an optimum amount of nutrients. Eating raw eggs should be avoided to prevent the risk of infections as well as nutritional deficiencies.  

References:

  1. P. Evenepoel, B. Geypens, A. Luypaerts, M. Hiele, Y. Ghoos, and P. Rutgeerts. “Digestibility of Cooked and Raw Egg Protein in Humans as Assessed by Stable Isotope Techniques.” The Journal of Nutrition. U.S. National Library of Medicine, October 1998. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9772141.
  2. C. G. Staggs, W. M. Sealey, B. J. McCabe, A. M. Teague, and D. M. Mock. “Determination of the Biotin Content of Select Foods Using Accurate and Sensitive HPLC/Avidin Binding.” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis : an Official Publication of the United Nations University, International Network of Food Data Systems. U.S. National Library of Medicine, December 2004. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648879.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Outbreaks of Salmonella Serotype Enteritidis Infection Associated with Eating Raw or Undercooked Shell Eggs–United States, 1996-1998.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. U.S. National Library of Medicine, February 4, 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10706440.
  4. Patricia Kendall, Lydia C. Medeiros, Virginia Hillers, Gang Chen, and Steve DiMascola. “Food Handling Behaviors of Special Importance for Pregnant Women, Infants and Young Children, the Elderly, and Immune-Compromised People.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association. U.S. National Library of Medicine, December 2003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14647094/.