Individuals who consume egg proteins for breakfast are more likely to feel full during the day than those whose breakfasts contain wheat protein. Results from the study, conducted by Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana, USA, and colleagues were presented at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.

The researchers enrolled 20 overweight or obese, but otherwise healthy individuals to participate in the study in order to compare the satiating (hunger-satisfying) effect of an egg breakfast (EB) to that of a ready-to-eat cereal breakfast (CB) – matched for macronutrient composition and energy density (ED) – but containing differing protein quality.

Participants were randomly assigned to eat either an EB or CB for one week under supervision. After a two-week gap period, the two groups swapped over. On days 1 and 7 of each test week, the researchers provided a structured buffet lunch in order to examine how hungry participants were after their breakfasts.

The researchers found that participants who ate an EB felt fuller before lunch, and ate less at lunch on days 1 and 7 during the EB week, than during the CB week.

During the three hour period between breakfast and lunch, the team found that participants in the EB group also had lower concentrations of the hunger-stimulating hormone acylated ghrelin, as well as increased PYY3-36 (a hormone that signals satiety secreted by the intestines).

Dhurandhar explained:

“This study shows that diets with higher protein quality may enhance satiety, leading to better compliance and success of a weight loss diet.”

Boiled eggs
Waking up to an egg-breakfast keeps you feeling fuller for longer

Concerns regarding diets high in protein consumption affecting liver and/or kidney function could be addressed by using lower quantities of high quality protein, such as that from eggs.

Dhurandhar continues:

“Long-term weight loss trials to compare the manipulation of protein quality without increasing protein quantity should be explored.

This study raises the question: are some foods with higher protein quality nature’s appetite suppressants?”

Written by Grace Rattue