Why Rocky Balboa's Egg Diet Is More Dangerous Than You Think

We've all seen the Rocky movies and fantasized, at least for a little, about becoming a world champion boxer (or at least becoming totally jacked). While Rocky Balboa had a variety of training techniques (cue the video montage of Sylvester Stallone working out), one of the most notable was the scene of him chugging down a glass of raw eggs (posted on YouTube).

This raw egg drink was one that many bodybuilders and athletes have used both before and after the movie was released — the consumption of raw eggs as a muscle-building beverage is a technique that has been around for over 100 years. According to Slate, "In the late 1890s, fitness and nutrition guru Bernarr Macfadden became famous for advocating a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and raw eggs." This spurred others after him to follow a similar regimen, including Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwarzenegger. While there are plenty of easier (and more tasty) ways to get your protein in for the day, people still insist on drinking raw eggs, but is it actually good for you?

You could get salmonella

Just because something is advertised by someone with a great physique doesn't always mean that it's a good idea. "Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella, a type of harmful bacteria" which can lead to a variety of issues if consumed, according to Healthline. While consuming eggs raw versus cooking them does save some time (and dishes), "few trainers believe that raw eggs are more nutritious than the cooked variety, and fewer still would run the risk of losing their protégé to a case of Salmonella enteridis" (via Slate). According to Corrie L. Staff, Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian, "Cooking breaks down protein to make digestion easier. Our bodies absorb 50 to 60 percent of the protein in raw eggs compared to 90 percent of the protein in cooked eggs."

So if you do want to try the egg diet, it's much safer to consume them cooked than raw. You eliminate the risk of contracting salmonella, and you'll absorb more protein, too.