The Surprising Reason NFL's Austin Ekeler Adds Raw Eggs To His Smoothies

Eggs are a staple in the diet of many athletes, thanks to their excellent nutritional profile. Not only are they rich in protein, they also rev up the metabolism, fight against stress and inflammation, and aid in tissue repair and cell growth (via National Library of Medicine). All of that is extra important for professional athletes like Austin Ekeler.

A running back for the National Football League's Los Angeles Chargers, Ekeler doesn't like his eggs scrambled, boiled, or even cooked, for that matter. Instead, he eats raw eggs as part of his morning breakfast smoothie, which also includes oats, fruit, and either cow or almond milk.

"I love the nutritional value of eggs, but I've never been able to eat them," Ekeler explained to Men's Health (via YouTube). The athlete says that he had a bad experience back in high school. After eating eggs, he threw up and "ever since then, it's like, scarred me." So, today, he "[cracks] 'em in Rocky-style," instead.

What Austin Ekeler should know about eating raw eggs

Roughly one egg out of every 20,000 is tainted with Salmonella, a potentially deadly bacteria, says WebMD. The site recommends that anyone who eats raw eggs should make sure that they are properly pasteurized. This process heats the eggs up enough to kill any present Salmonella.

Although the risk of death from Salmonella poisoning is pretty low (about 30 Americans die every year), as reported by WebMD, an estimated 79,000 people develop food poisoning from it annually (via Medical News Today). Food-borne illness is not something to voluntarily go through, as it can result in hours or days worth of miserable symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, and fever, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So, if Ekeler plans to continue to consume raw eggs, it's best to do as the experts say and make sure they're pasteurized. As Medical News Today explained, the process makes them much safer, but doesn't affect taste or texture. If anything looks or smells off, don't take the risk. Running backs aren't worth very much if they can't run anywhere other than to the bathroom.