A series of studies have been published in the past few years about the dietary benefits of eggs. Unfortunately, way too many nutritionists and medical doctors are still offering the tired old advice to cut back on eggs. Here is what you should know instead.
One of the best studies is the following:
Vander Wal JS, Gupta A, Khosla P, Dhurandhar NV. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J Obes 2008 Oct;32(10):1545-51.
The objective of this study was to find out whether an egg breakfast would match up with a bagel breakfast regarding weight loss. I know for all you slow carb diet and low carb diet fans out there that this seems like searching for the obvious. The study design had a little twist, though, that makes their conclusions a bit murky.
Overweight or obese men and women (n=152) between the ages of 25-60 years were divided into four groups. They were assigned to one of the following dietary strategies: 1) Two eggs for breakfast, without daily caloric restriction; 2) Two eggs for breakfast, with total daily energy intake limited to 1000 calories; 3) Bagel for breakfast, with the caloric equivalent of two eggs, without daily caloric restriction; 4) Bagel for breakfast, with the caloric equivalent of two eggs, and a total daily energy intake limited to 1000 calories.
Overall results after 8 weeks:
Groups 1 and 3, which had no daily caloric restriction, showed no significant differences for BMI, weight loss, waist circumference, or body fat composition.
Groups 2 and 4, the calorie-restricted groups, showed the following changes for those who ate eggs for breakfast: 61% greater reduction in BMI, a 65% greater weight loss, a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference, and a 16% greater reduction in percent body fat. All changes were statistically significant except for the reduction in body fat.
A bonus for these groups is that total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, did not differ between the groups.
The conclusions of this study were: Breakfast eggs enhance weight loss when combined with a calorie-restricted diet but not when caloric intake is unrestricted.
What is Missing?
Just imagine what the results could have been if the researchers had compared a slow carb diet with eggs for breakfast and without caloric restriction. This would have been a really nice chance to assign a fifth group to this diet. Ah, well, an opportunity missed.
We can only speculate on the possibilities at this time. However, the slow carb diet is already well-known among its practitioners to be a highly effective approach to weight management. I’d bet that speculation would probably be accurate that the fifth (nonexistent) group would have shown even better results.
Worried About Cholesterol in Eggs?
It is high time that we lay to rest the myth that cholesterol in eggs is bad for anyone. For that matter, we should extend such silliness to include all dietary cholesterol. If you or your medical people are still clinging to the misguided notion that consuming cholesterol is a health risk, take a look at these two publications.
Harman NL, Leeds AR, Griffin BA. Increased dietary cholesterol does not increase plasma low density lipoprotein when accompanied by an energy-restricted diet and weight loss. Eur J Nutr. 2008 Sep;47(6):287-93.
Skipping to the conclusions of interest: An increased intake of dietary cholesterol from two eggs a day does not increase total plasma or LDL cholesterol when accompanied by moderate weight loss (7.5 to 9.5 pounds in 12 weeks). These findings suggest that cholesterol-rich foods should not be excluded from dietary advice to lose weight on account of an unfavorable influence on plasma LDL cholesterol.
(Once again, it is too bad they had to confuse the issue with calorie restrictions instead of food types such as those recommended on a slow carb diet.)
About Dr. Dennis Clark provides a scientist’s view of fat loss research. Be sure to get his free Belly Fat Book to see what good science really has to offer for weight loss.