"Research has shown that higher-protein diets, those containing 18 to 35 percent of daily calorie intake from dietary protein, are associated with reductions in hunger and increased fullness throughout the day and into the evening hours," said Heather Leidy, Ph.D., study author and professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri. "In our study, the two groups ate either 25 or 14 percent of calories from protein, while the total calories and percent of calories from fat stayed the same between the higher-protein and normal-protein diet patterns. "
During the study, Dr. Leidy and associates also conducted an eating frequency substudy in which the 27 participants on both normal- and higher-protein diets consumed either three meals or six meals per day. The researchers found that eating frequency had no effect on appetite and satiety on the normal-protein diet. However, subjects on the higher-protein diet who ate three meals per day experienced greater evening and late-night fullness than those who ate six meals per day.
Dietary Protein and Reduced Calorie Consumption
This study supports previous research that demonstrates higher-protein diets, including egg breakfasts, are associated with decreased calorie consumption. A study published last year in Nutrition Research showed that men ate roughly 112 fewer calories at a buffet lunch and 400 fewer calories in the 24-hour period following a protein-rich egg breakfast compared to a bagel breakfast. (2) Another study demonstrated that overweight dieters who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight and felt more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume. (3)
Protein: A Component of a Healthy Meal Pattern
Protein not only plays a role in weight management but is also important in muscle maintenance and the prevention of sarcopenia which is age-related muscle loss. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight that healthy Americans can have an egg a day to help meet dietary protein needs, and eggs are included in the protein foods section of MyPlate.
"Americans should include dietary protein sources at every meal," says Serena Ball, MS, RD, registered dietitian, nutrition consultant and advisor to the Egg Nutrition Center. "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate education series highlight that protein is an important component of a healthy diet."
Give Eggs the Company They Deserve
Serena Ball suggests pairing protein-rich eggs with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy for a complete, healthy breakfast. Some meal and recipe ideas include:
- Cherry Tomato & Portobello Omelet with whole-grain toast, an orange and low-fat or fat-free milk
- Mini Breakfast Pizzas on a whole wheat English muffin with sliced apples and yogurt
- Basic Scrambled Eggs with low-fat mozzarella cheese and veggies along with fresh strawberries and a bowl of oatmeal made with low-fat or fat-free milk
(1)Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CLH, Martin CB, Cambell WW.The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity. 2011;19:818-824.
(2) Ratliff J, Leite JO, de Ogburn R, Puglisi MJ, VanHeest J, Fernandez ML. Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research 2010;30:96-103.
(3)Vander Wal JS, Gupta A, Khosla P, Dhurandhar NV. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. International Journal of Obesity. 2008;32:1545-1551.
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