BCAAs vs. EAAs
Which amino acid supplement should you take to maximize muscle recovery and growth: branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) or essential amino acids (EAAs)? I break down the science to help you decide.
Amino Acids 101
9 Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)
What makes BCAAs different from EAAs?
The Problem with BCAA and EAA Research
You Already Get Plenty of EAAs from Your Diet
On average, beef contains about 4.25 grams of total essential amino acids per ounce, with more than half of them (2.4 grams) coming from the other six non-BCAAs. That means a standard 4-ounce serving delivers nearly 10 grams of these other EAAs – not to mention the other aminos and nutrients you’d get from it.
Chicken’s a classic staple of the bodybuilding diet. An ounce of skinless, boneless chicken breast averages 2.8 grams of total EAAs, and just like beef more than half of them (1.6 grams) are the non-BCAAs. A 4-ounce serving will net you 6.5 grams of those.
It’s no surprise that eggs are a good source of protein, but few realize just how good of a source they are. In fact, eggs are the standard when it comes to amino acid composition, due to the balance of aminos in egg protein. In a single, large egg (50 grams), there are 2.8 grams of EAAs, with 1.5 grams coming from the six non-BCAAs.
Using canned chunk-light, or skipjack, tuna as an example, each ounce contains over 3 grams of total EAAs, nearly 2 grams of which are the non-BCAAs. A 2-ounce serving, then – about half a can, drained – delivers roughly 6 grams of total EAAs, while the entire tin gives you 12.
While it may be the source of both whey and casein proteins, milk is mostly water. Only about 3% of its content is protein, but it’s still a great source of EAAs. One cup of milk (8 fluid ounces) offers around 3.5 grams of total essential amino acids, only 1.5 grams of which are BCAAs.
Average Cost of EAAs from Food
|Canned Tuna||$0.85/can ($0.21/oz)||3.2g/oz||1.8g/oz|