Sports Nutrition: What Chocolate Cravings Could Indicate

February 9, 2012

Ben Greenfield answers your questions on buying discounted produce that’s near expiration, creatine for endurance athletes, why does one sneeze after pool swimming, raw egg whites in smoothies, reason for intense chocolate cravings, protein needs (and fat, and carbs) for female endurance athletes, and nutrition for a short-distance triathlete/multi-day bike racer.

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Comments (2)

  • Another great episode, but it is my scientific opinion that the discussion of raw egg white consumption lacked some importance guidance regarding biotin deficiency. Beginning in 1941, scientists have observed that a protein in raw egg whites, avidin, binds to biotin (a necessary B-complex vitamin) with high affinity, such that animals (including humans) that ingest raw egg whites regularly become deficient and suffer from "egg white injury" with deleterious side effects.

    I agree with the relatively low risk of salmonella, and observations of eating whole eggs (not just whites) for higher nutritional content (e.g. essential AA's), as the presence of biotin in the yolk itself may mitigate risks of biotin deficiency. But the fact of the matter is that regular consumption of raw egg whites has been shown to make people sick. So your suggestion of cooking the eggs is even better, and I would say it loudly and strongly. I would be interested to hear a response if you agree/disagree. Cheers!

  • Yes, the biotin-avidin complex is stable through the digestive environment, and is observed in feces:

    IMHO, the important aspect was how regular consumption of raw egg whites was observed to have noticeable deleterious effects in humans after months or a few years, and was recapitulated in animals: not just physiological markers, but actual sickness. These examples, plus little-to-no reason to suspect raw egg whites to be nutritionally superior to cooked ones, seems to suggest that cooking is a good idea!
    Thanks for the followup!

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