Weight Management & Satiety

Obesity is a multi-factorial and complex health issue. Current guidance for weight management encourages physical activity along with consuming an overall healthy eating pattern which includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat and fat-free dairy products. A growing body of research suggests that dietary protein, specifically, can help promote satiety, facilitating weight loss when consumed as part of reduced energy diets.

Several clinical trials have specifically assessed the effects of high-quality protein from eggs on satiety and weight loss. For example:

  • In a study in overweight adults, calorie-restricted diets that included either eggs or a bagel for breakfast were compared; the people who consumed eggs for breakfast lowered their body mass index by 61%, lost 65% more weight, and reported feeling more energetic than those who ate a bagel for breakfast.
  • Men who consumed an egg breakfast versus a bagel breakfast showed that appetite hormones were suppressed following eggs at breakfast, as was energy intake over the course of the day.
  • A study of overweight premenopausal women that evaluated satiety responses to eating a turkey sausage and egg breakfast sandwich versus a low-protein pancake breakfast showed better appetite control and few calories consumed at lunch following the egg-based breakfast.
  • In a 3-month trial among subjects with type 2 diabetes, those who consumed 2 eggs per day for 6 days a week reported less hunger and greater satiety than those who consumed less than 2 eggs per week.

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Eating morning protein keeps you fuller longer

We’re all creatures of habit, and most of us tend to fall into a rut a meal time. Particularly at the breakfast meal. When you’re tired and sleepy it’s easy to go with the patterns you’re familiar with, and if getting up in the morning, pouring a cup of coffee and reaching for the breakfast cereal is your general routine, you’re not alone. But maybe you should take more time to think about your meal choices, particularly if you’re trying to cut calories. Did you know that a recent British Journal of Nutrition study indicated that when subjects were on a lower calorie weight loss diet they tended to eat fewer calories at lunch when they consumed a higher protein breakfast? Or that subjects who drank skim milk in the morning rather than fruit juice ate 200 kcals less at lunch (Am J Clin Nutr 2009)? Or that overweight subjects lost 65% more weight when they habitually ate an egg-centric breakfast than peers who ate a high carbohydrate breakfast of equal calories (Int J Obesity 2008)?

If you know the literature in this area, none of this should be overly surprising in light of the fact that many studies suggest that protein is more satisfying than carbohydrate or fat. So it stands to reason that a higher protein meal in the morning might prompt you to eat less at subsequent meals. But high carb, sugar laden foods (think donuts and Pop Tarts) have been staples of the American diet for some time because they taste good, and they’re convenient. Good reasons to indulge, but poor choices if your waistline and your health are priorities. Something to think about next time you wake up in a fog and you head to the cupboard for the “old standbys.” Sometimes change is good, and changing your breakfast eating habits can yield positive results.

– Mitch

Program helps obese kids keep weight off long-term

Childhood obesity continues to be a major problem that afflicts many children in the US. According to the CDC, over 20% of the kids in America are considered obese, based on BMI. In spite of various high profile weight control programs recently developed to combat the epidemic, the sad fact is that overweight children tend to become overweight adults, and overweight adults are more prone to chronic disease conditions including CHD and Type 2 diabetes.

A recent study conducted at Yale University (MedlinePlus) offers some hope. In this long term project, overweight children participated in an intensive weight control program that included physical activity and frequent nutrition education. Initially, the children met twice per week to perform physical activity and attend classes on proper eating. After six months, they met twice per month. After two years, long after the activity and nutrition classes were curtailed, many of the kids who participated in the program maintained BMI. Control subjects who did not participate in the program continued to gain weight and increase their BMI. The moral of the story- -educational intervention in young, susceptible children may pay dividends. A cure for the epidemic? Hardly. But a step in the right direction. Certainly.

The recent Dietary Guidelines stressed nutrient density, among other things, as a way to eat healthier while consuming fewer calories. Relatively simple advise that by no means is a cure for the obesity epidemic. But it is sound advice. The Yale study is a good reminder that looking for foods and snacks that provide good nutrition without a lot of calories is the right thing to do for our kids. As parents, we’d do anything to protect our children’s health. Seeking nutrient dense food options is a form of health protection that is often overlooked.

Breakfast is important; tips for making it nutritious


breakfast egg bagel

An article posted the other day in the Washington Post, Consumer Reports Insights: Breakfast is important; tips for making it nutritious, discusses the importance of the breakfast meal. With respect to eggs, the author states, “…having (eggs) at breakfast helps dieters lose weight … possibly because they’re so filling that they reduce the chance of overeating later. People with normal levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol who limit their intake of saturated fat can safely eat up to seven eggs a week; those with high LDL should limit themselves to four, or use egg whites or an egg substitute.” Recent research conducted at the University of Connecticut and Louisiana State University, among other places, supports the author’s contentions.

In addition, newer data from the University of Illinois indicates not only the importance of eating breakfast, but also the importance of consuming adequate protein during the breakfast meal to support muscle growth and repair. The typical American eating pattern consists of marginal protein intake at breakfast and lunch, with the largest amount of protein consumed doing the dinner meal. Researchers suggest that protein intake should be spread more evenly throughout the day, with similar quantities (some say as much as 30g per meal) consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eggs are a great way to ensure optimal protein intake during the breakfast meal.