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.

Chaotic Eating Contributes to Excessive Calories and Obesity

Today’s post comes from Dr. Donald Layman. Dr. Layman is the Director of Research at the Egg Nutrition Center and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois and a leading researcher studying dietary needs for protein and amino acids.

Variety may be the “spice of life” but it is also a factor leading to excess calorie intake and obesity. There is increasing evidence that the hectic American lifestyle that often leads to chaotic meal patterns combined with the almost unlimited availability of high calorie snacks and desserts plays a central role in expanding waistlines of adults.

Consuming a variety of foods is often recommended as an approach to good nutrition, but there is increasing evidence that consistency of meals and limiting variety of food choices – certainly snacks – may be important for controlling energy intake.

A recent study by Dr. Rena Wing at University of Tennessee (AJCN 95:1305, 2012) examined limiting the variety of high energy-low nutrient (HE-LN) foods consumed by adults during an 18-month weight loss study. These foods provide a lot of calories but with minimal nutrient density. Subjects were allowed to select two items from a list of snacks, desserts, candy, ice cream, breads, cereals and pastas. These two items could be consumed as part of any meal or snack throughout the study, but no other items from the list were allowed at any time. The researchers found that limiting the choices in the HE-LN categories to only two selections significantly reduced calorie intake.

Anyone trying to achieve weight loss must restrict total calorie intake; and calorie restriction creates the potential for increased hunger and desire to eat. Managing the desire to eat requires consistent meal patterns, including the types of foods, the amount of food, and the meal timing. It is unlikely that there is a single meal pattern that is ideal for everyone, however there is increasing evidence that skipping breakfast leads to increased snacking and consumption of excess calories late in the day. Consuming a consistent breakfast that contains about 30 grams of high quality protein and reduced amounts of high glycemic carbohydrates is an important factor for appetite regulation. Likewise, reducing the size of dinner is important related to portion control and total calorie intake.

Eating a variety of foods is important but a better message for adults may be to strive for consistent meals that are nutritionally balanced. There is nothing wrong with eating the same basic foods and having the same meals every day. Avoid chaotic eating and limit the variety of high energy-low nutrient foods to achieve weight management.

A Closer Look at the Effects of High Protein Intake on Weight Loss

image-300x225Emmaline studies Dietetics and Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and will be eligible to sit for the registered dietitian exam in December of 2012. She is an avid food and nutrition enthusiast as well as a certified yoga teacher.

In a nation where the number of overweight and obese individuals is rampant enough to be referred to as an “epidemic,” coupled with an aesthetic culture that emphasizes weight, it is of no surprise that many adults have contemplated or attempted weight loss at some point in their lives. While energy-restricted diets can elicit substantial weight loss and provide associated favorable benefits on cardiometabolic risk factors(1), the potential effects of the macronutrient profile in an energy-restricted diet prescription on these outcomes should not be discounted.

A cornerstone of energy-restricted diets for the treatment of obesity is the attention to low fat intake, yet there has been an apparent lack of definitive evidence or analysis that specifically evaluates the potential effects of a modified carbohydrate:protein ratio in controlled and structured studies matched for energy-restriction level.  Recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published ameta-analysis of 24 randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effects of high and standard protein diet prescriptions on weight loss, body composition, resting energy expenditure (REE), and cardiometabolic risk markers in isocalorically restricted low fat diets.   Based on exclusion criteria, there were a total of 520 high protein (HP) and 542 standard protein (SP) participants (N= 1063).

Findings of the meta-analysis revealed that the high protein diets elicited a small but significant 0.79 kg greater weight loss than standard protein diets. Additionally, there were favorable effects on body composition as demonstrated by greater loss of fat mass with mitigated reductions in fat free mass and REE. Reductions in triglyceride levels were significant in the group consuming a high protein diet as well. Though only 5 of the studies included in the analysis evaluated satiety as an outcome, it is noteworthy that greater satiety was reported in 3 of the 5 studies among the high protein group.

A 0.79 kg difference in weight loss may seem modest; however, it is significant that in the high protein group a relatively larger portion of the weight lost was fat mass, with a greater preservation of fat free mass. Fat free mass—specifically skeletal muscle—is the primary metabolically active tissue in the body, which draws a potential connection between the mitigated decrease in REE and the relative preservation of fat free mass seen in the high protein group.

Because loss of fat free mass typically contributes to approximately 20% of total diet-induced weight loss (2), macronutrient distribution—with special attention to protein intake—could be paramount in both mediating and augmenting certain outcomes of weight loss and subsequent maintenance.

Knowing there are many factors that may impact results, the study does show modest benefits in areas of interest, especially as we look forward to more long term studies.


  1. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2012/10/23/ajcn.112.044321.full.pdf+html
  2. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/2/260.full?sid=0917f6d2-5484-4ff0-9c7e-edcd7ed99065



Breakfast Eaters Reap the Benefits

For various reasons, breakfast is one of the most commonly skipped meals of the day. We all lead busy lives and often in the morning, we are more worried about getting our coffee than something to eat! However, research has repeatedly demonstrated the importance of making time for even a quick morning meal.

The Huffington Post recently featured a slide show on the many benefits of breakfast. The article shared research on breakfast eaters, showing that they tend to be leaner, have lower serum cholesterol levels and better overall health. Additionally, studies report that breakfast eaters consume more nutrients, experience improved memory and report feeling more energized than those who skip.

Moreover, as mentioned in the article, there are some foods that may have additional benefits. Choosing high-quality protein foods, like eggs, in place of breakfast options high in carbohydrates has been shown to provide greater satiety and contribute to reduced caloric intake throughout the day.

Research by VanderWal et al. found that an egg breakfast had a greater effect on subsequent food consumption, when compared to a bagel breakfast. Those who ate the egg breakfast consumed significantly less at lunch and over the course of the entire day.

In a later study, the authors investigated these effects in the context of weight loss and found that  individuals who consumed an egg breakfast as part of a low-calorie diet lost significantly more weight than those who ate bagels for breakfast. Of note, there was no impact on the participants’ blood lipids.

For these reasons, most health professionals recognize this importance of consuming breakfast for health. Since hectic mornings make convenience of the utmost importance, below is a simple, quick breakfast idea you can share with your patients or clients.

Mexican Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble

Mexican coffee cup scramble






Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Servings: 1 serving


½ c. frozen shredded hash browns

1 Egg

1 Tbsp. water

Black bean and corn salsa

Shredded Mexican cheese blend


COAT 12-oz. microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray.  ADD hash browns.  MICROWAVE on HIGH 1 minute.  Add egg and water; beat until blended.  MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; stir.  MICROWAVEuntil egg is almost set, 15 to 30 seconds longer. SEASON with salt and pepper, if desired.  TOP with salsa and cheese.

Nutrition (per serving):

Calories: 228, Total Fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 199mg, Sodium: 320mg, Carbohydrates: 23g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 12g, Vitamin A: 520IU, Vitamin D: 41IU, Folate: 27.7mcg, Calcium: 138.9mg, Iron: 2.3mg, Choline: 125.6mg

Portion Distortion and Portion Control

Today’s post comes from Araceli Vázquez, MS, RD, LD. Vázquez is one of the few bilingual/bicultural dietitians in North Texas. She began her career in nutrition in 1996 after a successful career as a microbiologist and now offers nutrition counseling as part of her private practice, DietGenics. Vázquez is also a member of ENC’s Health Professional Advisor panel.

In the last two decades the portion sizes of foods and beverages served at most restaurants or prepared at home have gotten larger. Some foods such as bagels, cheeseburgers, spaghetti with meatballs, sodas, and muffins have doubled or tripled in size and in calories. These super or jumbo sizes influence and promote a higher consumption of calories. Consequently kids, adults and even seniors perceive all these super or jumbo sizes as being normal. This “portion distortion” runs parallel to the increase in the number of obese and overweight people.

There is much confusion or misinterpretation about the proper portions and serving sizes. Serving sizes are recommendations to consume a measured amount of food in cups, ounces, grams, milliliters, teaspoon, or tablespoons. Serving sizes are the basis for the government recommendations of what consumers should eat, and are easily identified in the Nutrition Facts Label and indicate the number of servings in the container. Portion size is the actual amount of food being served. In this way, a person eating at a restaurant can consume one portion but several serving sizes enough for two, three or even more people. Therefore, consumption of calories is increased in a single portion of food.

Weight management requires physical activity, healthful foods and portion control.  This means avoiding supersizes and overeating. MyPlate offers an easy way to visualize a reasonable portion for every food group.  Half of the plate should be fruits and vegetables, and the other half divided between the protein and grain groups.  Protein intake is very important, especially during the weight loss phase of weight management.  Protein helps to control appetite by sustaining the feeling of fullness. The key is to choose the proper portions of good quality protein. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, at an affordable price, and an exceptional and easy way for portion and calorie control with only 70 Kcal/egg.

Other strategies for portion control include using smaller plates and bowls;  slowing the pace of eating by putting the fork down after each bite, and chewing foods completely before swallowing as well as leaving some food on the plate.  For successful outcomes it is also recommended  to have several opportunities to eat including three main meals and nutritious portion-controlled snacks such as a hard-boiled egg dipped in salsa; sliced bell peppers and carrots with hummus or a low-fat yogurt.  When eating out, ordering a child-size portion can be enough for an adult, or sharing a meal with a friend or family member also helps to control the portions.

When it comes to portion control, consider eggs as part of the strategies for weight management. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is associated with positive outcomes for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.


What’s For Dinner Wednesdays: Get the “Full” Benefits of Protein

While protein receives much attention in traditional media for its role in muscle growth and repair, as health professionals, we know polypeptides are very versatile molecules with many benefits. In particular, protein has a profound effect on satiety, which can aid in weight management. Protein slows gastric emptying to the small intestine, allowing food to remain in the stomach for a longer period of time and sustain that feeling of fullness. Thus, you are not reaching for a snack an hour after your meal. The mechanism is pretty simple, but it is a great appetite-control strategy for those looking to cut their calories throughout the day.

Research shows eggs in particular are a great protein choice to promote satiety. For example, one study provided men with either an egg-based breakfast or carbohydrate-rich bagel of equal calories followed by an unlimited lunch buffet. The results, published in the February 2010 issue of Nutrition Research, showed egg-eaters consumed significantly fewer calories at lunch. A similar study found overweight dieters eating eggs for breakfast as part of a calorie restricted diet consumed 330 fewer calories, lost 65% more weight, had a 61% greater reduction in BMI and felt more energetic than their bagel-breakfast counterparts.

However, for some people, morning and mid-day snacking is not a problem- it’s late-night snacking.  Since late-night snacking often involves high-calorie foods consumed while watching TV or surfing the web, portions may not be controlled.  Eating just an extra 100 calories each night through mindless eating can lead to 10 pounds of weight gain over the course of a year! This week’s recipe contains 19 grams of protein and 240 calories per serving and is a protein-packed recipe to help keep you satisfied.









  • 12 slices (1/2″ thick, 4″ diameter) French OR Italian bread (4 oz.)
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (4 oz.)
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham (4 oz.)
  • 8 oz. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 6 EGGS
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder


HEAT oven to 350°F. PLACE 1/2 of the bread in single layer in greased 8-inch square baking dish. TOP evenly with layers of 1/2 of the cheese, ham and asparagus. COVER with remaining bread, placing slices flat or in shingled pattern. REPEAT cheese, ham and asparagus layers. BEAT eggs, milk, lemon juice and garlic powder in medium bowl until blended. POUR over layers in baking dish. BAKE in 350°F oven until puffed, golden and knife inserted near center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 240, total fat: 11g, saturated fat: 5g, polyunsaturated fat: 1g, monounsaturated fat: 3g,
cholesterol: 213mg, sodium: 540mg, carbohydrates: 16g, dietary fiber: 1g, protein: 19g, vitamin A: 774.8IU, vitamin D: 66.0IU, folate: 74.1mcg, calcium: 228.7mg, iron: 2.5mg, choline: 155.7mg