Eggs vs Whey Protein Powder: Which is Better?

UK Fitness Pro
UK Fitness Pro
· 17 min read
Lots of eggs and whey protein powder

As someone who lifts 5–6 times per week and who is training for ultramarathons, I eat a lot of protein. 

Specifically, in line with what the Mayo Clinic suggests, I aim for 1.7 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. At 96 kilos, this means I eat at least 163 grams of protein daily. My main protein of choice is Myprotein's whey concentrate, but I eat eggs virtually every day, too (see pics below!). So, I've often wondered, "Which provides a higher quality of protein?". Drawing on my background in science (BSc, MSc, PhD) and love of graphs, I explore this question in depth below, focusing on how much protein whey and eggs provide and on their amino acid profiles, amino acid scores, and rates of absorption.

Towards the end, we'll also look at how egg whites compare to yolks and how eggs and whey compare to other protein supplements. 

Amount of Protein

Let's start with an easy question: "Which has the higher protein content, eggs or whey?" The answer depends on which types of whey protein you're talking about, but whey powders have a lot more protein per gram than eggs, and whey isolates have higher amounts of protein than whey concentrates (Table 1). Regarding their macronutrient ratios, eggs tend to be higher in fat and lower in carbs. 

Table 1. Grams of Macronutrients and Calories in 100 Grams of Eggs and in Whey Proteins From Myprotein (MP) and Bodybuilding Warehouse (BW)

MP whey concentrate778.37.14055.3
MP whey isolate814.61.13594.4
BW whey concentrate804.75.73754.7
BW whey isolate901.01.03744.2
Egg 13110725.5

However, what do 100 grams of each look like?

Assuming a typical serving (i.e., a scoop) of whey protein powder is 30 grams, 100 grams is three and a third scoops, which would be a very large protein shake. In contrast, assuming a large egg weighs about 60 grams, 100 grams is not even two eggs. Reflecting how a lot of an egg's weight comes from its high water content (about 85%), eggs have a lot fewer calories per 100 grams. 

Consistent with this, the last column in the table shows that whey and eggs are very similar in terms of their calorie-to-protein ratios.

Tip: If you're concerned about artificial sweeteners in protein powders, you could opt for an unflavoured version. While I wouldn't suggest making shakes with these, they can be used in smoothies or porridge, for example, with other ingredients that add flavour, such as bananas, honey, and cinnamon. 

Amino Acid Profile

As you can see in Figure 1. both whey protein (1) and whole eggs (2) provide some of all of the different amino acids. Of course, this also means they contain all essential amino acids, so either would provide you with a complete protein source. 

Figure 1. Grams of Non-Essential, Essential*, and Branched-Chain** Amino Acids per 100 Grams of Whey Isolate and Whole Chicken Egg

A graph showing amino acid levels in whey and eggs

However, as mentioned above, it's not really fair to compare eggs to whey in terms of nutrients per gram because eggs carry a lot of water weight. The figure below shows how these two protein sources stack up when consumed in more realistic quantities—a 30-gram shake vs. four eggs (e.g., a medium omelette). 

Figure 2. Grams of Non-Essential, Essential*, and Branched-Chain**  Amino Acids per Scoop of Whey Isolate and Four Whole Chicken Eggs

A graph showing amino acid levels in one scoop of whey vs four eggs

When we now compare the amino acid quantities, we can see that four eggs will provide more of all amino acids (except cysteine and tryptophan) than a 30-gram shake. 

A four-egg omelette and a scoop of whey

I include feta and onion in my omelettes. Cheese isn't an ideal protein source, but it does taste good. 

Differences in Branched-Chain Amino Acids 

Let's look at how differences in branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) levels between whey protein supplements and eggs relate to different fitness goals. 


Supplementing with just a few grams of leucine per day (e.g., 3.5 grams for an 80-kilo individual) can significantly enhance endurance and power (3). This is likely related to the observation that leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis (4), a process that plays a crucial role in building muscle. Since a scoop of whey isolate contains about 3.5 grams of leucine and four eggs contain about 4.4 grams, getting enough leucine from either type of protein would be straightforward. However, there is evidence that whey protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than egg protein (5). 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough leucine

Isoleucine and Valine

There's not much evidence that supplementing with either isoleucine or valine in isolation has any impact on athletic outcomes, though supplementation with all BCAAs together can improve power, endurance, and perceptual–motor skills. Reflecting the stronger evidence for leucine, it tends to be the most abundant of the three BCAAS in supplements. For example, BCAA supplements usually come in versions with ratios of 2:1:1 and 4:1:1 (leucine, isoleucine, valine). Similarly, both whey protein and eggs have about twice as much leucine as isoleucine and valine, so either could be used to obtain a good balance of BCAAs. 

A bag of BCAAs

You might also be interested in our articles comparing whey and collagen and comparing whey protein and BCAAs

Differences in Other Essential Amino Acids

What about the six essential amino acids besides the BCAAs? Is there evidence linking these to the common goals of fitness enthusiasts? 


Supplementing with 3 grams of phenylalanine each day has been linked to weight loss (specifically, fat loss; 6). You'd need over four scoops of whey protein isolate or over 6 eggs to get 3 grams of phenylalanine. If that sounds like a lot, how about a shake with two scoops and three scrambled eggs? 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough phenylalanine


Perhaps the main difference between whey and egg proteins in their amino acid profiles relates to the amount of tryptophan, with whey protein having over 20 times more than egg protein per gram. 

Supplementing with about 1 gram of tryptophan per day may decrease perceptions of exertion during exercise (7) and may improve power and endurance (8). Since whey protein has so much more tryptophan than eggs, trying to hit 1 gram with whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate would definitely be the better option. 

You're looking at about 1.5 scoops of whey protein isolate vs. 10 eggs to get 1 gram of tryptophan!

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough tryptophan

Histidine, Lysine, Methionine, and Threonine

There's not much evidence that supplementing with any of these individual amino acids enhances athletic outcomes. 

You might also like our article comparing essential amino acid supplements with whey protein

Differences in Non-Essential Amino Acids

What about non-essential amino acids? Might differences in the levels of these between whey protein and eggs impact athletic outcomes? 


Supplementing with 10–12 grams of arginine per day has been linked to improvements in anaerobic performance (e.g., during weight lifting) while supplementing with as little as 1.5–2 grams per day has been linked to improved aerobic performance (e.g., during running; 9). 

Getting the 2 grams needed for improved aerobic performance would be easy with either whey or eggs—three scoops or three eggs would get you there. However, you'd need about 17 scoops of whey or 15 eggs to hit the 12 grams that may be required for the anaerobic improvements! 

Therefore, you'd probably want to try hit this target by incorporating some other high-arginine whole foods, like chicken, turkey, pumpkin seeds, or lentils. 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough arginine

No protein powder was spilt in the creation of this photo. 


Supplementing with as little as 0.5 grams of cysteine per day may reduce muscle damage following exercise (10). Just one scoop of whey or three eggs would provide you with 0.5 grams of cysteine, so either would be an excellent choice for getting enough of this amino acid. 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough cysteine

Glutamic Acid

Supplementing with glutamine, which is derived from glutamic acid, has been linked to muscle recovery (11) and a reduced risk of infection following endurance events (12). 

Additionally, supplementing with 0.35 grams of glutamine per kilo of body weight per day can improve lean muscle mass as well as power and strength (13). However, even an individual weighing just 69 kilos—the average weight of a woman in the UK—may require over 24 grams of glutamine to see these effects. Even if all the glutamic acid we consume became glutamine, we'd been looking at over five scoops of whey or 15 eggs to reach this target. 

Therefore, as well as by consuming eggs and whey, we'd probably want to try to hit this target by incorporating more glutamine-rich foods like cabbage, spinach, beef, and pork into our diets. 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough glutamine


While there's a lack of research suggesting that supplementing with serine itself can improve athletic outcomes, one study found that a supplement containing 3.6 grams of arginine, 2.2 grams of valine, and 0.2 grams of serine reduced feelings of fatigue during exercise (14). About two and a half scoops of whey or five eggs would enable you to hit these numbers. 

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough serine


A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (15) found that supplementing with 0.15 grams of tyrosine per kilo of body weight led to increased endurance. Therefore, an 80-kilo individual (the average weight of a man in the UK) might require 12 grams to experience such an effect. Trying to get this much tyrosine from either whey protein or eggs would be quite ridiculous—you're looking at about 12 scoops or 20 eggs—so you'd probably want to also eat some tyrosine-rich foods like fish, almond butter, or peanut butter

The amount of eggs and whey needed to get enough tyrosine

Alanine, Aspartic acid, Glycine, and Proline

There's not much evidence that supplementing with any of these amino acids in isolation positively impacts athletic outcomes. 

Amino Acid Score

Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score:

Above (Figure 2), I compared a single-scoop shake to four eggs, but this is, admittedly, quite arbitrary. 

To be more objective, let's take a look at their amino acid scores. The digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) is a method used to evaluate protein quality based on the digestibility of essential amino acids it provides, relative to a reference protein, with scores above 100 indicating that the protein meets or exceeds essential amino acid requirements. A study published in Food Science and Nutrition (16) calculated scores of 101 for eggs and 85 for whey protein

While eggs score slightly higher, a score of 85 still puts whey ahead of other popular sources of protein, such as peas (DIAAS: 70), hemp (DIAAS: 54), and fava beans (DIAAS: 55), and suggests it is a very high-quality protein source. 

You might also be interested in our article comparing hemp and pea protein powders

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score:

Whey protein and egg protein both achieve the highest possible score of 1.0 on the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which evaluates a protein's quality based on its amino acid content relative to human requirements and its digestibility. This score indicates that both whey and egg proteins are capable of providing 100% or more of all the essential amino acids required in the diet. The PDCAAS is capped at 1.0, meaning that proteins scoring above this threshold are considered to provide essential amino acids in excess of human needs, without differentiating further between their quality beyond this point

Absorption Rate

Whey protein tends to be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, where amino acids reach peak concentration levels at around 30 minutes after consumption before descending to baseline at around 2 hours after consumption (17). In contrast, amino acid levels in the blood increase steadily until at least 2 hours after consumption of egg protein (18). In case you're inclined to chug a glass of raw eggs, note that cooking eggs destroys protease inhibitors that hinder the breakdown and digestion of proteins, so frying, scrambling, or poaching them would be your best choice. 

A man drinking raw eggs

Don't do this. 

Health Benefits of Egg Proteins: Whole Egg vs. Egg White vs. Egg Yolk

So far, we've generally focused on whole eggs. 

However, among those looking to consume fewer calories, it's common to remove some, if not all, the yolks when cooking eggs. While this is effective for limiting your calorie intake, we should consider what effect this has on the amino acid profile of your egg-based meal. Although the whites are often considered the main source of protein in eggs, this is really only because the whites make up about two-thirds of the weight of the egg (19). 

Figure 3 shows the amino acid profiles for whole eggs compared to egg whites and egg yolks when there's an equal weight of each. 

Figure 3. Grams of Non-Essential, Essential*, and Branched-Chain**  Amino Acids per 100 Grams of Whole Eggs, Egg Whites, and Egg Yolks

A graph showing amino acid levels in whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks

As you can see, levels of all amino acids are higher in the yolk of the egg compared to the egg white, with the exception of cysteine (both have 0.2 grams per 100 grams) and glutamic acid. 

As discussed above, many of these amino acids, particularly leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, arginine, and tyrosine, have been linked to desirable outcomes, such as improved strength and endurance and enhanced muscle growth and recovery. Furthermore, there's evidence that the consumption of whole eggs promotes muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than the consumption of egg whites (20). Therefore, removing yolks may minimise the extent to which you experience these benefits. 

Also, although it varies according to what the hen eats (21), the yolk can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to increased endurance and recovery and reduced soreness (22). The yolk is also the main source of vitamin D, deficiencies in which can cause bone and muscle pain and muscle weakness

Overall Health Benefits of Whey Protein Powder

Of course, consumption of whey protein powder is associated with a wide range of positive outcomes related to strength and fitness, such as increased muscle protein synthesis (23) and greater strength and lean mass (24), but it's also been linked to more general health benefits. 

Blood Sugar Levels

Consuming whey protein alongside carbohydrates can attenuate spikes in blood sugar levels (25), thereby supporting a more stable supply of energy. If you're interested in this topic, you might also like our article on the best protein supplements for diabetics

Blood Flow

Whey protein may lower blood pressure and reduce arterial stiffness (26), thereby facilitating blood flow throughout the body. 

Other Types of Protein Powders

While whey is evidently a great source of protein, there are some other excellent options...

Casein Protein Powder 

Another milk-based protein, casein protein powder typically has higher concentrations of certain amino acids (e.g., threonine, phenylalanine) and lower concentrations of others (e.g., leucine, tryptophan) compared to whey protein (1). It's also known to be digested more slowly, thereby providing a more steady stream of amino acids. You can learn more in our article comparing whey and casein proteins

Egg Protein Powder

If you're not really keen on actual eggs and would prefer to eat them in a powder form, you could try out an egg protein powder, such as the Pure Egg White Protein Powder from Bodybuilding Warehouse. According to its nutritional information label, it has 357 calories, 85 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of carbs, and 0.3 grams of fat per 100 grams. However, if you're considering an egg white powder, you might like to check out the section above about the benefits of the yolk so that you can make an informed decision. 

Soy Protein Powder

If lactose intolerance or other digestive issues mean you need to avoid dairy products, you could try out one of the many plant-based protein powders, like soy protein powder. As shown in Figure 4 below, soy protein has all of the main essential and non-essential amino acids (1). While whey has higher concentrations of certain amino acids that have been linked to positive athletic outcomes (e.g., leucine), soy has higher concentrations of others (e.g., arginine). 

Figure 4. Grams of Non-Essential, Essential*, and Branched-Chain** Amino Acids per 100 Grams of Whey and Soy Protein 

A graph showing amino acid levels in whey and soy protein

Other Plant-Based Powders

If you experience digestive discomfort when you consume milk-based proteins or if you'd prefer to avoid them for ethical reasons, other plant-based protein powders to consider include those based on peas, rice, hemp, or a combination of plant sources (i.e., vegan blends). Table 2 shows how these popular choices compare in terms of their calories and macronutrients. 

Table 2. Calories and Macronutrients (grams) per 100 grams of Myprotein (MP) and Bodybuilding Warehouse (BW) Plant-Based Protein Powders

 CaloriesProteinCarbs Fats
MP Soy Protein Isolate36090.01.81.5
MP Pea Protein Isolate38880.02.65.5
MP Rice Protein Powder42378.03.82.1
MP Vegan Blend36671.011.02.5
BW Soy Protein Isolate36890.06.01.0
BW Pea Protein Isolate39580.03.06.0
BW Rice Protein Powder36680.03.53.5
BW Pure Hemp 5040647.016.013.0
BW Vegan Blend33771.06.52.5

If you'd like to learn more about how plant-based protein supplements compare to those derived from milk, you could take a look at our article comparing hemp and whey protein

Combine Whey Protein and Eggs

My go-to way of combining whey protein and eggs is to make high-protein pancakes

To make these, I squish a banana, then mix it in a bowl with four eggs (I like to use two whole eggs and two whites), a scoop of protein powder, and a handful of blueberries. I then pour the mixture onto a pre-heated pan (medium to high heat) with sunflower or olive oil, wait about five minutes for one side to cook, flip it, and then wait another five for the other side to cook. Once on the plate, I spread a nut butter over the surface (e.g., cashew butter), sprinkle some cinnamon on, and drizzle some honey or sugar-free syrup

A pancake made from eggs and whey protein powder

I made this pancake with Myprotein's chocolate brownie whey concentrate. It goes great with banana and peanut butter. 

The macros are about 46 grams of protein, 38 grams of cards, and 25 grams of fat, with about 550 calories. 


Both whey powders and eggs are exemplary protein sources, so either would be a good option for anyone interested in muscle building, strength development, or endurance training. 

Of course, you can (and probably should) use both, as well as a range of other protein sources as part of a balanced diet that also contains high-quality carbs and fats. While it's easy to make eggs, whey protein is an especially convenient way of increasing your protein intake, as it only takes a second to throw a scoop into a shaker, smoothie, yoghurt, or bowl of cereal, so it could the better choice for anyone that's really stretched for time or is on the move a lot. 

Also, although eggs can be cooked in a number of ways, the wide variety of protein flavours means there's something for everyone, no matter their personal preference. 

Since you have an interest in protein powders, you might also like our articles on how pea and whey proteins compare, how mass gainers compare to whey protein and the best protein powders for seniors, women, weight loss, and weight gain. We also have articles comparing whey, soy, and pea protein powders, comparing whey and plant proteins for bodybuilders, comparing protein bars and powders and comparing whey protein to creatine

About the Author

Dave Robinson, a co-founder of, has a background in psychology (BSc) and neuroscience (MSc, PhD). As well as strength training, he enjoys endurance challenges and has completed ultramarathons, cycled across several countries, and completed the Three Peaks Challenge. When writing, he draws on scientific evidence to understand the pros and cons of different diets, supplements, and training regimes. 

A author riding a bike


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