Cholesterol warnings have scared a lot of people away from eggs. But if you want to lose weight, the high quality protein in eggs may outweigh their high cholesterol. A recent study has found that having eggs for breakfast can help you control cravings and eat less throughout the day.
Cholesterol and eggs
There’s no question that eggs are high in cholesterol. The yolk of a single large egg contains a little more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol. So-called heart healthy diets advise you to limit cholesterol to 300 mg a day. Eating eggs every day will increase bad LDL cholesterol, but eggs also increase good HDL cholesterol.
What’s more, a 2006 study from the University of Connecticut found that when people ate more than three eggs a day their bodies made larger LDL and HDL lipoprotein particles than when they ate no eggs. Other research also suggests that larger bad LDLs are less likely to stick to artery walls and larger good HDLs are better at carrying cholesterol out of the bloodstream and away from the body.
Control hunger with eggs
People shouldn’t be scared of eating eggs, especially if they want to eat less. According to scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., eggs are “nature’s appetite suppressant.
Several studies have suggested that egg proteins are better at helping people feel full longer than the proteins found in wheat and meat. In the Pennington study, it took longer for people eating eggs for breakfast to get hungry than it did for people eating a bowl of cereal.
Winning a hormone tug-of-war
Researchers fed 20 overweight or obese people a either breakfast with eggs or cold cereal for one week. The meals were equal in calories, carbs, protein and fat. At a buffet lunch on the first and last day of the week, researchers recorded their calorie intake. They also measured blood levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and a fullness hormone called PYY3-36.
Those who ate eggs for breakfast had fewer cravings before lunch and ate less at the buffet than the cereal-eaters. The egg-eaters also had higher levels of PYY3-36 and lower levels of ghrelin in their blood.
For people who want to lose weight, it’s become apparent that the type of protein in the diet, rather than the amount of protein, is more important. A 2009 meta-analysis of several protein studies found that many Americans exceed recommended amounts of protein consumption, but primarily by eating meat.
The analysis also found that proteins were not nearly as high-quality as those found in eggs. Eggs were also found to deliver benefits for muscle strength and energy levels, as well as appetite control.
The knowledge gained in the past few years about eggs makes it seem a shame that so many people who could really benefit from eating them have been scared away by cholesterol fears. Eggs are abundant, affordable and as the science about them shows, the pros appear to far outweigh the cons.