New research presented at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France reports that eating eggs for breakfast is associated with greater satiety and reduced calorie consumption at lunch than eating wheat-based breakfast foods like ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Participants in the study reported feeling fuller following the egg breakfast and tests of their hunger hormone levels supported their self-reported observations. When tested after eating the egg breakfast, levels of the hunger-signaling hormone ghrelin were significantly lower and levels of the hormone that signals fullness, PYY, were significantly higher.
This randomized, crossover trial compared two breakfast meals that were nearly identical in the amount of calories and protein provided, but the quality of protein in the breakfasts distinguished the two. The egg breakfast supplied high-quality protein, meaning the protein provides all of the essential amino acids. High-quality protein foods, like eggs, contain high concentrations of the amino acid leucine which may play an important role in decreasing body weight.
Egg Breakfasts Help With Weight Control
A previous study by the same researchers demonstrated that an egg breakfast, compared to a bagel breakfast of similar calories, increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake at lunch resulting in a significant reduction in BMI and waist circumference. "Our previous research did not examine if it was the amount or type of protein that may have contributed to the findings we observed, so this research aimed to distinguish between the two," says Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar, lead researcher and professor in the laboratory of infection and obesity at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "The results of this study indicate that protein quality, not just quantity, may affect satiety."
These results also support findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition that demonstrate the timing of dietary protein intake affects feelings of fullness throughout the day. The study concluded that when people ate high-quality protein foods from sources such as eggs and lean Canadian bacon for breakfast, they had a greater sense of sustained fullness throughout the day compared to when more protein was eaten at lunch or dinner.
Small Steps Can Contribute to Weight Loss Success
More than 68 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese and losing weight can be an undertaking for many people.[v] Weight loss experts recommend implementing simple strategies into daily life that are easily achievable. "The participants in this study ate scrambled eggs daily and that simple step helped them eat fewer calories at lunch," says registered dietitian Kathleen Zelman. "Eggs are all-natural and provide one of the highest quality proteins of any food available plus they offer nature's perfect portion control."
Despite their taste, versatility and affordability, consumers cite time, convenience and worries about dietary cholesterol as reasons that they don't choose eggs more often. However, Zelman urges consumers to take another look at eggs, "The average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded at 215 mg and large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent."
Zelman also offers these tips:
- Plan Ahead and Think Speedy: Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs on Sunday to have a high-quality protein option for on-the-go during the week. Put a hard-boiled egg on a stick for an easy portable snack. Also try experimenting with tasty ways to prepare eggs in the microwave like the Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble.
- Wake Up Right: Start the day off right with a balanced breakfast that gives eggs the company they deserve. Pair nutritious eggs with low-fat dairy and carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.