Nov. 18, 2004 -- Do eggs belong on a diet breakfast menu? Perhaps, if the goal is to feel full and eat fewer calories all day long, according to new research.
The news doesn't focus on fat, proteins, carbohydrates, or cholesterol, all of which may be important to dieters and nondieters alike.
Instead, the study concentrates on satiety, the feeling of fullness. As any dieter can tell you, feeling satisfied after a meal can make a big difference in sticking with a weight loss program.
The researchers included Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, executive director of The Rochester Center for Obesity Research in Michigan and chair of obesity research at Wayne State University's nutrition and food science department.
Dhurandhar and colleagues wanted to find out which breakfast was more filling: a bagel, cream cheese, and yogurt (339 calories); or two eggs, toast, and jelly (340 calories).
Thirty women aged 18-60 who were not diabetic participated in the study. Their body mass index (BMI) was 25-35, putting them in the overweight to obese range. BMI indicates total body fat; a BMI of 25-29.9 is overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more is obese.
The women tried the breakfasts on two test days, two weeks apart, without knowing the study's true purpose.
The researchers told them they were studying breakfast's effects on blood pressure and alertness. They snuck in periodic questions on satiety and quietly monitored what the women ate at lunch and their food journals, which participants kept for 24 hours.
The egg eaters felt fuller after breakfast and stayed full longer than the bagel group.
That fullness prompted them to eat less at lunch. The egg group ate 568 calories at lunch, compared with 732 calories eaten by the bagel group.
The egg breakfast "induced greater satiety and reduced energy intake at lunch by 29%," say the researchers, who presented their findings in Las Vegas at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity's annual scientific meeting.
The trend held all day long. The egg eaters ate 1,761 calories on the test day, compared with 2,035 for the bagel group.
Calories were still lower for the egg group on the day after the test, when participants were free to eat whatever they wanted.
"Till noon on the day after the egg breakfast, no compensatory increase in energy intake occurred, which remained lower by 431 [calories] during this time," say the researchers.
"Eggs have a 50% greater satiety index than breakfast cereal or bread," they say, calling for further testing of satiety and egg breakfasts for weight loss diets.