For this article I wrote up an egg white protein vs whey protein powder comparison that’s focused on their nutrition profiles.
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.
I compare the egg protein powder I bought to the whey isolate powder I drink daily in a number of areas:
strength & muscle-building
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.
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.
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
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)
Egg whites are cholesterol-free, as in zero. (6)
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 The amount of whey used is 25 grams.)
Pure whey isolate: 93
How many egg whites: 5.5
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
Fat, carbs, & sugar
Both egg whites & the whey isolate have almost no fat, carbs, or sugar in them.
Pure whey isolate: 45 mg
How many egg whites: 0.8
*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 vs whey
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)
Whey isolate: 93
Egg white powder: 100
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
Fat, carbs, & sugar
Both the whey isolate & egg white powders have only minuscule amounts of any of these three things.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 following intense workouts
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 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)
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
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
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
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:
protein & amino acids
vitamins & minerals
(I’m using a large egg, and the nutrition facts are from
Whole Egg: 72
Egg White: 17
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
Whole Egg: 4.8 grams
Egg White: 0.1 grams
Whole Egg: 186 milligrams
Egg White: 0 mg
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
A large scoop of whey protein. Image Credit: ogichobanov/iStock/Getty Images
When choosing a protein supplement, consider whether you have food allergies or intolerances and what your goal is -- weight loss, muscle building, improved sports performance or better overall nutrition. Although your decision will be a highly individual one, looking at the specifics of each supplement and what the current research has to say can be a big help. You should also consult your doctor before adding one of these supplements to your diet.
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Egg and Whey Protein Basics
Both egg protein and whey protein, derived from milk, offer complete protein, which means they provide all of the essential amino acids your body needs but cannot make. The amino acids are used to build and repair body tissue, among other important functions. In terms of overall protein content, one scoop of an egg protein powder supplement provides around 24 grams of protein, while a scoop of whey protein provides anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of protein, depending on the type.
Calories, Fats and Carbs
Egg and whey protein supplements have similar calorie counts, ranging between 120 and 130 per scoop. While whey protein tends to be higher in carbs because it's made from dairy, some purer forms, such as hydrolyzed whey, can be even lower in carbs than egg protein. Fat amounts also vary, from no fat in egg white protein supplements to up to 4 grams in some types of whey. Keeping an eye on cholesterol? Egg protein can have as much as three times the amount as whey, with 15 grams per scoop.
Food Allergies and Intolerances
Lactose intolerance is one of the most common problems people face, and depending on your level of sensitivity, you may or may not be able to tolerate a whey protein powder. According to fitness expert and author Mark Sisson, whey isolate, which is mostly pure protein, contains almost no lactose, while whey concentrate, a less pure form, has slightly more. If you know you have an allergy or intolerance to either eggs or dairy, then your choice is easy. If you're not sure, you may have to do some experimentation or ask your doctor.
What the Research Says: Weight Loss
If you're supplementing with protein powder to aid weight loss, your main focus should be on satiety. Choose the protein powder that will help fill you up and keep you feeling full the longest so you eat less. A study published in "Nutrition Journal" in 2011 looked at the effects of several different types of protein on appetite when the supplements were used as a preload before meals. Researchers found that whey had a slightly more marked effect on appetite than egg protein, with those who consumed the whey preload consuming slightly fewer calories at the meal than those who consumed the egg protein preload.
What the Research Says: Sports Performance and Muscle Building
Whey protein has long been studied for its effects on muscle growth, sports performance and recovery, but egg protein hasn't been studied as much, and even less research has been done comparing the two proteins. A study published in "Nutrition Journal" in June 2013 supports the effectiveness of whey for improving body composition and sports performance when used to supplement a training program. A study published in "Nutrients" in October 2012 showed that compared to a carbohydrate supplement, egg protein was no more effective at promoting changes in body composition or muscle strength in female athletes.
Egg whites and whey protein are high-quality sources of protein.
Egg whites and whey protein are two of the most beneficial sources of protein when it comes to building and maintaining lean muscle. Both are complete sources of protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are critical to cell and tissue health and the only way to get them is through your diet. Check with your doctor before trying whey protein supplements.
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The advantage egg whites offer over whole eggs and whey protein is that it's a fat-free protein source. It does contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin, niacin, B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Each raw egg white from a large egg contains about 17 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. Most importantly, each egg white contains about half the protein of a whole egg, which equates to 3.6 g of high-quality protein in a large egg.
Whey is the liquid part of milk protein derived during the cheese-making process. It's a highly-absorbable source of protein that's available in supplement form. Like egg whites, whey protein is a complete protein source. However, it contains a greater concentration of branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs, compared to egg whites. BCAAs are particularly important for muscle development and health. The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine.
One way to compare protein is looking at biological value, BV. The BV of a protein measures its overall absorption and utilization quality once consumed. Whey protein has the highest BV of any protein but egg whites are not far behind. The BV of whey protein is 104; the BV of eggs is 100, according to a 2004 report published in the "Journal of Sports Science and Medicine." Other proteins are inferior to these proteins in regard to BV. For example, soy protein has a BV of 74 and casein a BV of 77. Behar states that egg whites have a higher BV compared to egg powder proteins, which score at 91.
It is important to vary the types of protein you consume each day and most of it should come from whole foods. Whey protein supplements feature superior BV and BCAA content; however, it cannot replace whole food sources of protein that contain other essential vitamins and minerals. Consult your doctor to determine if whey is right for you. It may not be the best choice if you have milk protein allergies or are lactose intolerant.