Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Nutrition Debate #211: Eggs and Satiety

Kris Gunnars at Authority Nutrition recently posted this PubMed link to a 2005 abstract from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (J Am Coll Nutr). It is titled, “Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.” Curiously, there were no comments on this article in Pub Med, an official governmental organ of ncbi/nlm/nih. Maybe, in 2005, eating eggs, due to their saturated fat and cholesterol, was still a no-no, and no one in the “scientific/medical” community could figure out how to support the idea that whole eggs (yolks included) could be part of a “healthy eating” pattern. Fortunately, that perception has since changed. Whole eggs are one of the healthiest foods on earth.
The OBJECTIVE of this small prospective, randomized, crossover-design study was clearly stated: “To test the hypotheses that among overweight and obese participants, a breakfast consisting of eggs, in comparison to an isocaloric equal-weight bagel-based breakfast, would induce greater satiety, reduce perceived cravings, and reduce subsequent short-term energy intake.” Thirty women with BMIs of at least 25 between the ages of 25 and 60 years were recruited to participate.
The RESULTS were clear: “During the pre-lunch period, participants had greater feelings of satiety after the egg breakfast, and consumed significantly less energy.” In addition, “Energy intake following the egg breakfast remained lower for the entire day… as well as for the next 36 hours.”
“CONCLUSIONS: Compared to an isocaloric, equal weight bagel-based breakfast, the egg-breakfast induced greater satiety and significantly reduced short-term food intake. The potential role of a routine egg breakfast in producing a sustained caloric deficit and consequent weight loss should be determined.” In other words, they want the NIH to fund more studies like this!!! Government funded research, remember, is a jobs program, but in this case, one that should be supported (LOL).
Personally, as my readers know, I ate a breakfast of 2 eggs and 2 strips of bacon (plus coffee with H&H and sweetener) for almost 10 years. Then, a couple of years ago, after reading Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet (pg. 321), I switched to 3 eggs and 1 strip of bacon (plus coffee) to get my daily dose of choline all in one meal. And I have been telling people for years that, when you eat this breakfast, and this breakfast alone (with no fruit or juice or bread products), you will not be hungry – not in mid-morning, not at lunch, not even at mid-afternoon. I haven’t been hungry at lunch for years.
You may ask, then, “Why do you eat lunch?” That’s a good question. Increasingly I have been asking myself that question too. I even drafted a column a few years ago, “Two meals or three meals a day?” but never published it. The reason, I suspect, is that, again as my readers know, I eat a can of sardines in olive oil for lunch (when I remember to eat lunch). And my editor thinks that the almost daily dose of sardines and olive oil is one of the reasons I have very high HDLs (~90mg/dL) and very low triglycerides (~34mg/dL). I am reluctant to give up such stellar lipids. For the record, my most recent Total Cholesterol was 207 and my LDL 110. But it wasn’t always this way. To see how my HDL and triglycerides changed after I started eating Very Low Carb, see The Nutrition Debate #67 (HDL) here and The Nutrition Debate #68 (triglycerides) here.
Another bit of self-promotion: Take a look at The Nutrition Debate #91, “Low Carb Breakfasts (and a no-carb lunch)” for more ideas on eggs and breakfast and The Nutrition Debate #176, “Eggs, Cholesterol and Choline,” for more information.
So, in conclusion, there’s no question (in my mind) of the “short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects,” like me. It also “reduce(d) perceived [“perceived”?!!] cravings, and reduce(d) subsequent short-term energy intake,” including the viable election not to eat lunch at all! I wouldn’t miss it, seriously. If fact, on many days it’s only the clock, not my stomach, that tells me I missed lunch. I also agree completely that “the potential role of a routine egg breakfast in producing a sustained caloric deficit and consequent weight loss should be determined.” Why don’t you try it?
N.B. The eggs I buy are raised by a local farmer who also raises beef and pigs and sells them all at our local farmers’ market. They use a hen mobile (a chicken coop on wheels) that they move from pasture to pasture week by week after the livestock have been themselves moved on to new grazing. Hens are omnivores (like pigs) and so they (and we) benefit from the insects and larvae that they find in the deposits the animals leave behind. This is all explained in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a book by Michael Pollan in which he canonizes the practices of JoelSalatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Trivia: Did you know that Abraham Lincoln’s usual breakfast was a 1 poached egg and coffee. No wonder he was so skinny.
PS: “Too busy to eat breakfast”? Pack one or two hard boiled eggs to eat at your desk. If that’s not enough, add a slice of smoked salmon wrapped around some full-fat cream cheese. There’s a hardy, healthy, very low carb “breakfast on the run.”


  1. Years ago some guy posted on a keto forum that he had no idea how to start, he had a basic regime, eggs and toast brekky then mid-morning muffin, then pasta or salad lunch, then meat and veg dinner.

    I said "just skip the toast at brekky to start", he got all in a huffy and made like the idea was pure blasphemy etc.

    Anyhoo he then reported later that after a few days of skipping the toast and not adding any extra eggs, he had barely realised it but he no longer needed a mid-morning snack and often wasn't even hungry for lunch. The guy was boggled. :D

    BTW if you want more studies on eggs to pore over, got ya covered:


    1. I'll say. You've got me covered "in spades." You have provided so many great links to authoritative sources,but the best "evidence" for any skeptics out there is the anecdote you began with. Thanks for leaving a comment, Ash.