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New research shows eggs can help prevent snacking

27/02/2011

A new research study has shown that eating eggs at lunchtime may be the key to resisting the afternoon munchies.

The study, by Leatherhead Food Research and published in The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, showed that an egg-based lunch can help people feel fuller for longer when compared with other common lunches with similar calorie counts. The authors concluded that “consumption of eggs for lunch has a stronger effect on satiety than other typically consumed carbohydrate-based lunches, and could represent a beneficial component of a diet aimed at controlling weight.”  

Previous studies by US researchers have shown that eating eggs for breakfast has a strong effect on satiety – the feeling of fullness after eating – but this is the first major piece of research in the UK on the benefits of eating eggs at lunchtime.   

The new study compared the effects on appetite of three different lunches with the same calorie content – a two-egg omelette with bread and salad versus a jacket potato with cheese and salad or a chicken salad sandwich. The three options, each containing less than 350 calories in total, were considered to be typical ‘healthy choice’ lunches.  

A total of 31 people took part in the study over a three-week period, during which time each participant consumed each of the three meals on separate occasions after a standard breakfast of cereal with milk.  

When subjects were asked how full they felt during the afternoon, the omelette proved significantly more satisfying than the jacket potato and there were some indications that the egg-based meal was more satiating and filling than the chicken sandwich.  

Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent dietitian and obesity expert, commented: “This research is good news for slimmers.  Previous studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast can increase satiety and help with weight loss, but many people don’t have time for a cooked breakfast. Now it seems that eating eggs at lunchtime has a similar effect on controlling appetite.  

“An egg-based lunch is not only healthy because it’s relatively low in fat and saturated fat, but could help to keep slimmers away from the biscuit tin during the dreaded post-lunch dip.

“Now that major heart health organisations have removed previous limits on egg consumption, due to research showing that dietary cholesterol is not an issue for heart health, there are more reasons than ever to eat eggs as part of a healthy diet.”

It is well established that different foods have different effects on satiety, with protein streets ahead of carbohydrate and fat in helping to promote satiety and control hunger. Studies show that boosting dietary protein, while controlling total energy intake, is a good way to support weight management and encourage body fat loss. Eggs are a key source of vitamins and minerals, with protein representing around 35% of the energy content of a typical egg.