Health professionals have long been aware of the fundamental human need for protein, and in the past few years more and more consumers have begun to take these messages to heart. The increase in the number of protein-fortified products in the marketplace and the rise in popularity of high-protein diets are testaments to both changing consumer demand and the necessity for health professionals to guide their clients and patients toward well-balanced diets that include healthy protein choices.
According to recently released NPD research, US consumers want to add more protein to their diets and cite eggs as one of their preferred protein sources (1). This is great news because of the wide body of research linking protein intake to a number of positive health outcomes, from satiety to weight management to improved body composition. We have seen in the literature, for example, that good sources of protein like eggs eaten at the start of the day help people feel more satisfied, reduce their calorie intake the rest of the day and minimize snacking between meals (2). Leidy et al. published a study that found that all-natural, high-quality protein helps build muscles and allows people to feel full longer and stay energized, which can help them maintain a healthy weight (3). Studies have also shown that dietary protein intake directly influences muscle mass, strength and function in people of all ages (4). In addition, new evidence suggests replacing refined carbohydrates with protein promotes a more favorable metabolic response. This research continues to reinforce the importance of higher protein intakes to various health outcomes.
It is clear that protein plays a role in promoting optimal health. Research shows that 25 – 30 grams of high-quality protein per meal may be optimal to maintain healthy muscles and bones for adults (5,6). This, of course, is where health professionals like you can help consumers stay abreast of the ever-evolving science regarding nutrition to achieve optimal health through well-rounded diets that contain adequate amounts of high-quality protein along with other healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Encourage your patients and clients to consume enough protein at each meal and snack, and guide them to choose lean, nutrient-rich sources like eggs to help them achieve their individual health goals.
- US consumers want more protein in their diets and look to a range of sources for it. NPD Group website. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/us-consumers-want-more-protein-in-their-diets-and-look-to-a-range-of-sources-for-it/. Updated March 17, 2014. Accessed March 19, 2014.
- Vander Wal JS, et al. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. JACN 2005; 24(6): 510-515.
- Leidy HJ, et al. Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli After a Normal vs. Higher Protein Breakfast in Breakfast-Skipping Teens: A Pilot fMRI Study. Obesity, published online May 5, 2011.
- Layman D and Rodriquez N. Egg Protein as a source of power, strength and energy. Nutrition Today 2009; 44(1): 43-7.
- Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12:86-90.
- Rasmussen BB, Tipton KD, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Wolfe RR. An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 2000;88:386-92.