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Study concludes eggs are a powerful ingredient in weight management diets

06/07/2012

A new UK review of eight years of research into the satiating effects of consuming eggs concludes that they are a powerful ingredient in weight management diets – and finds that the particular proteins found in eggs may be superior to other types in keeping hunger at bay.

The review paper, by dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, is being published in the July edition of Network Health Dietitian and examines the results of six different studies, the most recent a trial presented at the European Congress of Obesity in May 2012.  

The studies show a consistent effect of egg consumption on satiety and short-term energy intake. Two studies also found changes in appetite-related gut hormones which may explain the effects on satiety. A single longer-term study reported a significantly greater weight loss and reduction in waist circumference when an egg breakfast was consumed in preference to a cereal breakfast. The effects of protein on satiety, energy intake and weight loss have been confirmed in many studies but this is the first time studies on eggs have been reviewed[i,ii].

An average egg contains just 78 calories, but protein is high at 6.5g representing 13% of an adult’s daily requirement. Eggs are also rich in health-boosting nutrients such as vitamins A and D, folate, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.

Dr Ruxton comments: “While more research is needed, particularly on long-term weight loss, the evidence suggests a promising role for eggs in weight management.

“The beneficial impact of eggs on satiety, energy intake and gut hormones probably relates to their protein content, but may also involve the specific amino acid make up of eggs since eggs seem to perform better than other high protein foods, such as chicken.

“There are two additional benefits of including eggs in a weight loss diet. The first is portion control since eggs by their nature come in a fixed unit of around 78 calories per egg. This helps people to recognise how much they have consumed. Secondly, the vitamin D content of eggs may help to support general health in overweight people since vitamin D levels are known to be low in this group, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. There are few natural sources of vitamin D in the diet so eggs can play a role here too [iii].”

References

[i]Weigle DS et al. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr 82, 41–48.
[ii]Halton TL & Hu FB (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr 23, 373–385.
[iii]Ruxton CHS (2011). Nutritional implications of obesity and dieting. Nutr Bull 36, 199-211.