Why eggs for breakfast will keep those hunger pangs away until lunchtime
23:07 GMT, 11 May 2012
Going to work on an egg could keep mid-morning hunger pangs at bay.
A study found that when people had scrambled eggs for breakfast they were less hungry at lunchtime than when they started the day with cereal.
With previous studies also crediting the humble egg with being able to make us feel fuller for longer than other foods, the US researchers have described it as ‘nature’s appetite suppressant’.
Super food: When volunteers were given breakfasts of eggs over cereal – containing the same amount of calories and protein – those who had eggs felt fuller and ate less at lunch
In the study, 20 healthy people ate a breakfast of two eggs that had been scrambled or a bowl of cereal every day for a week. They then switched to the other option.
The European Congress on Obesity heard that the meals were similar in size and had the same number of calories.
They also had the same amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat.
In the run up to lunch, the volunteers were asked how hungry they felt.
They were then given access to a buffet and the amount they ate was monitored. Finally, blood tests were done.
The results showed that the people felt fuller after the egg breakfast. This led to them eating less from the buffet.
The blood tests showed distinct differences in levels of appetite hormones.
Levels of ghrelin, which is associated with feelings of hunger, were lower in the egg-eaters and amounts of PYY, a hormone that helps make us feel full were higher.
Egg’s satiating effects are usually attributed to the high level of protein it contains.
Fighting the flab: Hunger-suppressing foods could be a key weapon in then fight against obesity, insists an influential nutrition expert
In this study, the cereal contained the same amount of protein as the scrambled eggs, so the Louisiana State University researchers deduced that the quality of the protein is important.
Protein varies in nutritional quality, with animal protein generally superior to vegetable protein and that found in eggs the best of all, said Nikhil Dhurandhar.
Dr Dhurandhar, who has treated more than 10,000 obesity patients, said from his work it is clear that losing weight is not as simple as telling people to eat less and exercise more.
He said that appetite suppressants can help bolster willpower. Drug side-effects means that a food that curbs appetite could be the solution.
Advising would-be dieters start the day with an egg or two, he said: ‘They will feel full and that will help them stick to their diet and get better weight loss.
‘Eggs don’t have magic powers of cutting weight but they may just help you say “no”.’
Appetising: Poaching eggs is healthier than frying or scrambling with butter
Tracy Parker, of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: ‘This finding could help people who are trying to lose weight or stop snacking.
‘It shows the quality of protein in your diet, rather than the quantity, can affect how full you feel.
‘However, as the study was funded by the American Egg Board, it did not look into other high-quality proteins.
‘Further comparison of the effect of lean meat, poultry and fish on appetite should be explored.
‘An egg breakfast could keep you from mid-morning snacking but remember to use healthier cooking methods.
'Try boiling or poaching eggs rather than frying and avoid adding butter to scrambled eggs.’
The slogan ‘Go to work on an egg’ was used in a 1960s advertising campaign by the Egg Marketing Board and Fay Weldon, then a young advertising executive, helped to coin the phrase.
More recently researchers for the British Nutrition Foundation, part-funded by the poultry industry, concluded that cholesterol found in eggs has minimal effect on raising the risk of heart disease.