Humans have eaten eggs for millions of years. Today, eggs are used in all sorts of dishes and drinks, from meringues to eggnog. Perhaps more commonly, they are used to make breakfast.

Fried, poached, or scrambled eggs might make a tasty breakfast, but could they also help suppress hunger, preventing us from snacking throughout the day? We asked 4 experts in nutrition "Do eggs help suppress hunger?", they all said 'yes' – here is what we found out.

What's in an egg?

One medium chicken egg contains about 70 kilocalories of energy. It also contains a significant amount of protein, approximately 6 grams per egg, along with various other vitamins and nutrients.

Eggs also contain fat, as their biological purpose is to provide developing chick embryos with nutrients and energy. One of the facts they contain is cholesterol, which meant that for many years eggs were considered unhealthy and could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, a relationship which has since been contested.

What is the evidence that eggs suppress hunger?

Multiple studies have assessed the effect of eggs on appetite by dividing up a group of people and asking one half to eat a certain egg-based diet and the other half an egg-free diet. Many different measurements, including questionnaires can then be used to try and assess whether the different diets affect satiety (fullness).

Professor Maria-Luz Fernandez, an expert in nutrition from Connecticut University, says, "I conducted a study in which we used two types of breakfast, one was egg-based and the other bagel-based, the number of Kcal [calories] were the same… Subjects had lower levels of ghrelin (appetite hormone) after the egg breakfasts, and they ate 400 less kcal in the next 24 hours after the egg breakfast."

Several similar studies have found that breakfasts containing eggs suppressed hunger more effectively than wheat-based breakfasts, oatmeal, or cereal.

Do egg breakfasts aid weight loss?

As eggs help suppress appetite, it could be assumed that eating them would promote weight loss. However, the relationship between eating eggs and weight loss is not yet clear.

Dr Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau, an expert in nutrition from North-West University, says, "Based on the evidence from the experimental studies, the incorporation of eggs into breakfast may be more effective than cereal or grain-based breakfasts to increase feeling full for longer and to limit short term energy consumption. However, the potential role of a routine egg breakfast in producing a sustained energy deficit and consequent weight loss, should be determined by additional research."

Professor Peter Clifton, an expert in nutrition and endocrinology from South Australia University, agrees: "There is good evidence of increased satiety from protein in general and eggs in particular. However, in a calorie-controlled diet the additive effect of protein is not seen and weight loss is the same after 3 months."

The takeaway

Eggs help suppress hunger, but it is not clear if they can be used to aid weight loss.

Article based on 4 expert answers to this question: Do eggs help suppress hunger?

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