Reviews

5% Nutrition Egg White Crystals: An Evidence-Based Review

Egg White Crystals is a protein supplement by 5% Nutrition, the brand headed up by Rich Piana, which contains protein only from Egg Whites.

This may seem somewhat unusual if you’re used to the average protein supplement, but the product is actaully quite consistent with Rich Piana’s general views on protein and where to get it from.

Rich is a strong believer in getting your nutrients (micro and macro) from “real food” so it makes perfect sense that he would release a protein supplement derived entirely from Egg Whites.

5% Nutrition Egg White Crystals

Claims/Benefits

The claims attached to Egg White Crystals are the same as those attached to just about every other protein supplement…It’s a protein supplement!

If you’re not getting enough protein through your diet, Egg White Crystals will help maintain and/or build muscle mass and is derived entirely from one of the best natural protein sources there is…eggs!

Egg White Crystal Ingredients

As stated above, Egg White Crystals contains only one thing…

Egg Whites

Egg Whites are one of the best natural sources of protein and have long been used in their natural form by bodybuilders as a means of ensuring adequate protein intake.

In terms of absorption speed, Egg protein would be considered “intermediate”.  It’s neither “quick digesting” like Whey or “slow digesting” like Casein.

An individual (Chicken) Egg contains between 4-6g of protein, virtually all of which is found in the white part (as opposed to the yolk), and each serving of Egg White Crystals provides 20g of protein per serving.

5% claims the entire tub of Egg White Crystals is equivalent to 150 individual Egg Whites with 30 servings per tub.  So, each serving essentially yields 4-5 egg whites, but keep in mind 1 serving is 5 scoops.

So, the easiest way to look at it is this:

1 scoop = 1 egg white

If you were to ask Rich Piana himself what’s the best way to take the product, he would first explain to you that you should try your best to get most of your protein from real food and would then likely suggest using Egg White Crystals as more of a “reinforcer” for your meals that are lacking protein.

In other words, you don’t need to use 1 serving at a time.  You can just determine how much protein your meal lacks and throw a scoop or two of Egg White Crystals in there to bolster up the protein content.

Are Egg Whites Superior To Other Forms Of Protein?

Rich Piana has always personally favored Egg Whites as a source of protein over heavily processed “protein supplements”, mostly because they’re a natural, efficient source of protein.  But are they superior in any way to other forms of protein?

5% provides the following chart on the Egg White Crystals page of the site:

Egg White Crystals Efficiency

The claim implied by this chart is that Egg protein is superior to other forms of protein in terms of:

  1. Protein Efficiency Ratio
  2. Net Protein Utilization

Most people have no idea what these terms actaully mean, so we’ll do a quck refresh.

Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER)

Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) is a metric used to gauge the quality of dietary protein.  The original formula for PER is:

Protein Efficiency Ratio

but it’s actually not considered the best anymore, as a few fundamental flaws have been established.

There’s another metric–Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)–which is considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO) to be the best way of calculating protein quality.

In Canada, however, PER is still used.  According to Canada Food Inspection Agency, PER to PDCAAS conversion can be expressed as:

(Estimated) PER = PDCAAS x 2.5

On the CFI website the PER of Egg Protein is calculated to be 3.1.  That’s a little less than 5% Nutrition’s figure (3.9), but still in the ballpark.

Regardless of what method of protein quality assessment is being used, the fact remains that Egg Protein is considered a “high quality” source of protein.

This makes intuitive sense when you think about what this equation represents.  It’s simply the amount of protein your body retains (as muscle) relative to the amount ingested.

Net Protein Utilization (NPU)

A much simpler metric to understand than PER or PDCAAS.  Net Protein Utilization is simply the amount of amino acids used to build protein relative to the amount of amino acids ingested.

It can be calculated experimentally by determining protein intake and then measuring Nitrogen excretion, since Nitrogen is present in all amino acids.

Unlike PER and PDCAAS, NPU is inherently easier to understand because the highest it can be is 100.  Think of NPU as the percentage of protein that gets used to build muscle.

Every form of protein has a different amino acid profile which dictates how much of that protein gets utilized and, as 5% points out, Egg Protein has  a particularly high NPU, so it’s considered high quality.

Egg Whites = Quality Protein

Well, it turns out Rich was speaking the truth all these years!  Egg Whites are in fact a high quality source of protein.  Of course, as with any nutrient, you should get your protein from a variety of sources.

But research indicates that Egg protein should definitely be included in the mix.

Where To Buy

As of now, Egg White Crystals can be found at:

We’d expect it to spread to the usual 5% retailers in time though, so keep an eye out for it at your favorite retailer.  If you know of any retailers that carry Egg White Crystals let us know in the comments below.

The Bottom Line

Egg Whites are definitely a solid source of protein and 5% Nutrition’s Egg White Crystals offers an easy, relatively affordable way of incorporating them into your diet.

As with any protein supplement, how much benefit you’ll derive from it depends on your individual protein requirements and whether or not you’re obtaining that requirement from your diet.

Protein supplements won’t magically make you build muscle.  So, before you go spending your hard earned money on Egg White Crystals–or any protein supplement for that matter–you need to determine how much protein you need to acheive your goals.

Don’t worry…We break it all down in this article.  Give it a read if you’re unsure how much protein you should be consuming.

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