Saturday, December 31, 2005

Eggs for Breakfast Aid Weight Control

Eating eggs for breakfast instead of a bagel can reduce hunger and caloric intake both at lunchtime and over the next 24 hours, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The study compared the effects on hunger of two calorically-identical breakfasts, one consisting of two scrambled eggs and two slices of toast with low-calorie jelly, and the other a 3 1/2-inch bagel with cream cheese plus a 3-ounce nonfat yogurt. The study was carried out in 28 overweight individuals, because previous research that found greater satiety from a high-protein breakfast had only tested normal weight individuals.

The researchers found that when participants had eaten the egg breakfast, they consumed significantly less energy not only at lunch on that day, but also throughout the day and the next morning as compared to the bagel breakfast. On average they ate about 163 fewer calories for lunch, 263 fewer calories that day, and 418 fewer calories over a 24-hour period.

Yes, I know this study was partially funded by the American Egg Board, but if we ignored all studies funded by interested parties, we'd see far less published research. One key is to make sure the studies are from good peer-reviewed journals. For example, I like to see this statement in a journal: "Papers are stringently reviewed and only those that report results of novel, timely, and significant research and meet high standards of scientific merit will be accepted for publication. This statement is from the journal that published this article. That's a good start.

Now, back to the study.

A 400 calorie difference? Over a week, you're looking at almost one lb. of weight loss. Now, I'm not recommending that one eat eggs daily. That would be boring. If you've been avoiding eggs and you eat them, say, every fourth day, you lose, according to this study, 10 lbs. a year.

Unhealthy to eat that many? Probably not. The lack of connection between heart disease and egg intake could partially be explained by the fact that dietary cholesterol increases the concentrations of both circulating LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in those individuals who experience an increase in plasma cholesterol following egg consumption (hyperresponders). It is also important to note that 70% of the population experiences a mild increase or no alterations in plasma cholesterol concentrations when challenged with high amounts of dietary cholesterol (hyporesponders). Egg intake has been shown to promote the formation of large LDL, in addition to shifting individuals from the LDL pattern B to pattern A, which is less atherogenic.

Still fear eating eggs? Consider trying omega-3 enriched eggs, usually clearly labeled on the egg carton. When individuals are fed four n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs (omega-3 eggs) a day for 4 weeks, plasma total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) do not increase significantly. Results of studies to date demonstrate positive effects and no negative effects from consumption of n-3-enriched eggs. Three n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs provide approximately the same amount of n-3 PUFA as one meal with fish. It is recommended that n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs be used as one source of n-3 PUFA to increase individual consumption to meet the current Canadian recommendations.

Oh, and one egg has only 1.5 grams of saturated fat, the villian. Yes, they are high in cholesterol, but cholesterol in food isn't nearly the villain it's been portrayed to be. Eggs are a good source of protein and contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, folate, phosphorous, riboflavin, vitamins A, D, E and B-12. They pack quite a nutritional punch for around 70 calories each. Plus, now it looks like they promote satiety, as well.

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