Although eggs have been somewhat demonized for their high cholesterol content, evidence shows that eggs can be part of a healthy diet. Research indicates that eggs can even help you lose weight, as they are a healthy, high-protein breakfast option that keeps you full.
Here’s what you need to know about the nutritional benefits of eggs and how you can eat them as part of your goals for weight loss.
Eggs boast an impressive nutrition profile.
“Eggs are high-quality protein and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins, and folate,” says Natalie Rizzo, RD, a New York City-based dietician. “Eggs are also rich in choline, a micronutrient that is important for pregnant women and babies.”
“As far as weight loss, the protein in eggs can help keep you full and may contribute to eating fewer calories later in the day,” says Rizzo.
Part of the challenge when losing weight is satisfying your hunger while still being in a caloric deficit. One way to tackle this is by eating high protein foods that keep us fuller for longer. Eggs are high in protein with about 6 grams per large egg.
Protein is better at satiating our hunger than carbohydrates or fats because they take longer to digest. The process of eating, digesting, and storing food is called the thermic effect. The thermic effect of food is the slight increase in metabolism you experience after eating it. There are a variety of factors that go into increasing thermic effect, one of which is the amount of protein.
Boosting your metabolism is one way to help you lose weight. Metabolism is your body’s ability to burn calories for energy. While having a fast or slow metabolism is really subject to your genes, eating a high protein food, like eggs, slightly speeds up your metabolism and burns more calories.
Protein also benefits muscle health, helping you to preserve and even build bigger muscles. Increasing your muscle mass has a direct effect on raising metabolism. Muscles use more energy and burn more calories at rest, so the more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body is burning the food you eat.
Americans tend to start the day with refined carbohydrates like cereal, pancakes, or doughnuts, which can increase your risk of obesity and even type 2 diabetes. Swapping a carb-heavy breakfast for one with high protein foods like eggs may help you lose weight.
A small 2008 study of overweight and obese people aged 25 to 60 found eggs for breakfast led to more weight loss than a bagel for breakfast. Participants on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet were divided into two groups, one of which ate eggs for breakfast and the other a bagel. Both breakfasts contained the same amount of calories. After eight weeks, the egg group had a 61% greater reduction in BMI, a 65% greater loss in weight, and a 34% greater reduction in weight loss than the bagel group.
“I definitely recommend eggs as part of a healthy breakfast,” says Rizzo. “To balance the breakfast, also include some fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.”
Additionally, eating a healthy breakfast can reduce overall caloric intake by preventing cravings later in the day, says Rizzo. A 2016 review found eating a high-protein breakfast may be linked to lower weight, body fat, and a lower BMI.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule on how many eggs you should eat, but eating one every day is perfectly healthy.
Although nutrition experts once scrutinized eggs for their high cholesterol content, research indicates eating an egg a day will not raise cholesterol levels. Rather, saturated fat — not dietary cholesterol like that found in egg yolks — influences cholesterol levels.
Breakfast meats like bacon and sausage are high in saturated fat, so try to limit those with your eggs. Instead, healthier ways to eat eggs include a vegetable frittata or on top of a piece of avocado toast.
To kill harmful bacteria, it’s best to cook them until the eggs and yolk are firm. It’s healthy to cook eggs in the following ways:
Overall, eggs are a healthy and delicious way to start the day. Their high protein content can help you lose weight by keeping you fuller for longer and slightly boosting your metabolism. If you are trying to lose weight, prepare your eggs with minimal oil and be sure to pair them with other nutrient-rich low-calorie foods like vegetables or fruits.