Eggs – It’s What’s for Breakfast

EggsStop the presses: A new study published online in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that eating two eggs for breakfast (and not just the whites!) is healthier than eating a bagel.

As avid Mark’s Daily Apple readers, this one is easy to chalk up as a “well…duh” type of study, but the researchers note that the importance of the study is that it lends further support to the importance of high-quality protein in the diet. In fact, a special issue published in May in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that not getting enough protein may increase your risk for obesity, muscle deterioration and chronic disease.

But back to the eggs. For the study, researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University assigned 152 otherwise healthy but overweight or obese participants to one of four groups: Egg, which required them to eat a breakfast containing two eggs; bagel, which required them to eat a breakfast containing bagels that was identical in terms of energy density and total energy to the egg breakfast; egg diet, which allowed the egg breakfast as part of a 1000 kcal energy-deficit low-fat diet; and bagel diet, which allowed the bagel breakfast plan, but this time with the calorie restrictions. Study participants were required to follow these diet parameters for at least five days per week

After eight weeks, participants in the egg diet group exhibited a 61% greater reduction in body mass index (BMI) than their peers in the bagel diet group. But we all know BMI is a bit of a tricky measurement and isn’t necessarily reflective of a healthy weight, so consider this: When compared to the bagel dieters, participants in the egg diet group also exhibited a 65% greater weight loss, a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference (which some experts would argue is far more indicative of future health risks) and a 16% reduction in body fat (now we’re talking!). However, the researchers note that the weight loss-enhancing benefits of eggs only appear to work when they are eaten as part of a calorie-restricted diet since the regular egg and regular bagel group exhibited no significant changes. We’d add that many people that follow a Primal Blueprint type diet generally eat fewer calories naturally as a result of upping fat/protein (which increases satiety) and decreasing carbs (which avoids the insulin roller coaster and related cravings).

Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that an egg breakfast helps overweight adults lose more weight and feel more energetic than those who ate a bagel of equal calories. Speaking to the mechanism behind the findings, the study’s lead author suggests that “the increased satiety and energy due to eggs helps people better comply with a reduced-calorie diet.”

If you’re reading at home and thinking “well that’s all well and good, but I haven’t had a whole egg in years,” consider this: The researchers note that between the groups, there was no discernible difference between total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels. In addition, a registered dietitian and chef drafted to comment on the study noted that “nearly half an egg’s protein, and many of the other nutrients, are found in the yolk, so make sure to eat the whole egg for maximum benefits.” And this speaks nothing of all that golden fat goodness in the yolk.

It’s Saturday morning. Get yourself some eggs and cook up a mean omelet (see Further Reading below…)!

427 Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Eggs for People on the Go

Spanish Omelet Recipe

Baked Eggs, Eggs Curry and More!

How to Eat Enough Protein

The Definitive Guide to the Primal Blueprint Diet

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27 thoughts on “Eggs – It’s What’s for Breakfast”

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  1. How timely.

    I just finished eating a spinach, broccoli, garlic, avocado, tomato omelet. (A Saturday morning special.)

    I used to eat only egg whites, but changed about 2 years ago to yolks too. And my cholesterol dropped
    both years.

  2. I like really big breakfasts, so I compromise–I usually have two whole eggs + 1/2 cup of egg whites. I have no idea what my cholesterol levels are, but I figure two yolks at a time is probably enough. Especially when you consider that I often have an entire avocado on top!

  3. It’s nice to see that eggs are being let out of the dietary doghouse.

    Maybe one day, we will be able to stop drinking skim milk /water and enjoy a glass of 2% or even, shudder, full fat milk.

    I won’t even hope for a comeback of raw milk.

  4. I love eggs!! Yolks and all. But can I point out the obvious? Anyone eating a 1,000-freaking-calorie diet is going to lose weight (and inches) like crazy. That’s a starvation diet. I don’t care if it is 1,000 calories of gummy bears and Hershey’s, you’ll still lose weight. Sometimes I feel really bad for people in studies…

  5. That’s a relief. I find the egg whites so tasteless. Good thing about eggs is not only are they tasty but they’re also quite versatile and simple to prepare.

    Now if only the rain would stop so I can go to the shops and get some 🙁

  6. I eat a dozen or more eggs a week – yolks and all! – and have for a year or more. My cholesterol, measured a couple months ago was 78 (hdl/good), 76 (ldl/bad).

    Eggs are freakin’ fantastic for you and they make for a great breakfast. I recommend them boiled hard: age them for a week so they peel easily, boil a dozen at a time (13 minutes covered w/burner turned off), store unpeeled in the fridge and grab a couple in the morning. Great lightly salted and the perfect compliment to whole wheat toast and hot tea.

    1. you probably have the “Methuselah” gene like me, we can eat all the cholesterol we want and not raise our cholesterol level. This study says eggs are better than a bagel? duh

  7. Andrew R –

    “these data suggest that high levels of egg consumption (daily) are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women.”

    “Associated” is the key word here. There may be a correlation, but there also may be a correlation between people who eat more eggs and their likelihood of eating a higher carb diet overall. This sort of study is good food for thought, but can be a bit misleading.

      1. I find the study curious because it omits the most important factor. Did the subjects eat eggs only, or did they in fact eat eggs the way everybody eats eggs….with toast and probably toast spread with margarine since the study involved people already being treated for heart “problems”? My issue with all of these studies (even the ones against grains) is that they never identify the particulars of additional foods in the study. I also wonder if the problem is actually the grains in the bagel, or the conglomeration of ingredients that are nicely listed in size 4 font on back of the packaging. Extra gluten, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, mono and di-glycerides….and a whole host of questionable ingredients…..on top of which most commercial bakers use bromated flours to increase fluffiness? I will end this with a personal observation. I did the low carb for a while. I did lose weight but looked and felt horrible. I came across a book written by Rachel McClish that included an eating plan which is low carb and low fat. Since eating egg whites seemed absurd to me, I did tweak the diet to include whole eggs instead of whites, buttered toast instead of dry, left the skin on the chicken…because common sense even back then told me fat was important… and then pretty much followed the diet as it was written. Lost weight, looked and felt fantastic and of course holidays and other diet wrecking incidences came along and I was back to 140 lbs within the year. Back to the diet only this time the bread, instead of being homemade sourdough was homemade with commercial yeast. Did not have the same fantastic results. Would appreciate any thoughts.

  8. On an egg day, I consume 15-20 eggs in one sitting, ~20 minutes post exercise.

    Eggs are good for all of you, and your cholesterol levels. It is CARBS which messes upp the cholesterol (or better yet, the quotient between HDL /LDL).

    Sincere regards from Sweden / V.

  9. Not only are eggs delicious they have all the nutrients to sustain a new life! Brilliant that eggs are finally getting the attention they deserve!

  10. I’m extremely low on money since I’ve been in the job hunt for so long, and being poor makes it hard to eat right. Eggs are a major staple of my diet, eating as many as a dozen a day (tho usually only 6), and I’ve never felt healthier. They are incredibly cheap, high in protein, high in fat, and I always feel full and energized after eating them. I honestly don’t feel the need to eat again for most of the day; I never had that effect from eating breakfast cereal!!

  11. I eat at least 2 dozen eggs a week and I’m ripped and full of energy. Eggs are the single most nutritionally dense food period. They are like natural multivitamins.

    Yet when I try to tell this to people they gasp and tell me I will have a heart attack soon.


    1. I am really glad to hear this. I am on a high fat, high protein, low-ish carb diet right now and was worried about the amount of eggs I am eating daily (about 6 full hard-boiled with yolks). Good to also hear the above comment about LOWER cholesterol from eating eggs on a regular basis. Very cool.

  12. Gyday Guys and Gals;

    I eat 6-10 eggs per day.

    I have them with Steak-Bacon-Mackeral-Onion-Olive Oil in the morning without bread ofcourse.

    AMAZING RESULTS(fat loss-strength-recovery) and energy. Feel amazing all day.

    I get my blood tested every 6 weeks.

    Thyroid issue is better and my Testosterone issues also better.

    I gave up Porridge and all cereals and grains cold turkey. Breads and Milk’s cold turkey ….

    I feel amazing…

    People think its the eggs that kill you…its the Bread under them that ruins you.


  13. I’ve suddenly become intolerant to eggs since low carbing! I feel sick and have cramps for the rest of the day!
    I guess I’ve had too many of them then.

    1. If I have more than one egg at a time I get horrible cramps too. However, having them fried seems to be a little better (versus scrambled). I am not sure what it is. I guess a trigger food, some food irritate the bowel more than others for certain people? Same with cantaloupe and pineapple for me.

  14. Don’t get me wrong I love eggs. I would eat 6 a day if I could. But I don’t.

    There are studies floating about now praising eggs as an excellent source of protein , as well as demonstrating weight lot benefits. Occasionally there are new studios that claim eggs have now effect on cholesterol. However, there are just as many recent studies that continue to warn us against excess egg consumption due to high cholesterol in eggs.

    Yes, eggs are full of protein. Perhaps can help you lose weight. There are plenty of people (many of them in this comment section apparently) who see no difference in their cholesterol levels while eating cartons of eggs. That is fantastic for them.

    I simply hope that readers exercise caution and don’t assume they can begin eating 6-10 eggs a day without consequences because of this article. One study is not representative of the whole. Be wary. Consult your physician, educate yourself, and don’t follow in blind faith, especially if you have a family history of heart disease like me.

      1. This whole post is about disputing supposed “science”. If you are going to follow, you might as well give up Paleo. He is a meat hating Vegan who cherry picks his studies. He even says coconut oil is bad for you.

  15. Eggs are an incredibly nutrient-dense superfood. (1) They offer complete protein, with all essential amino acids, including sulfur-containing amino acids that directly build Glutathione, the master antioxidant (which is a tripeptide). (2) They contain the crucial B vitamins, and thanks to the lipid content, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K are bioavailable. (3) They contain bioavailable minerals such as selenium, iodine & zinc (not “bound” and unavailable, as in nuts, seeds & grains), and (4) heme iron that is more absorbable than plant-based iron. But wait- there’s more. (4) They are rich in choline, a methyl donor that is critical for liver health. Choline is also the precursor to acetylcholine, the ‘learning neurotransmitter’. (5) No animal died for you to eat eggs (the eggs we eat are not fertilized). Eggs are satiating and tasty, they blend beautifully with every vegetable, and to top it off they’re inexpensive. What’s not to like?

  16. Eggs are not a suitable every day food for those with the ApoE4 gene.

    If you have the ApoE4 gene, a high saturated fat or high cholesterol diet will cause heart trouble.