Chicken eggs are a common item on our shopping lists, and while they form part of numerous dishes, we mostly associate them with breakfast.
Nutrient and energy-dense, eggs pack quite a punch when it comes to macronutrients, nutrients your body needs in large amounts for optimal health.
Eggs contain significant amounts of protein and fat, along with vitamins and other nutrients, and are a nutritious way to kick off your day.
Research was conducted on whether the protein in eggs is superior to cereal protein.
A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health looked at the amount of high-quality protein in a breakfast that included eggs versus a breakfast that did not.
In the study, predominantly sedentary volunteers ate breakfast either with or without eggs for a week.
The meals contained similar energy and macronutrient density, but the proteins differed – one had egg protein, whereas the other contained wheat protein.
the data was recorded and analysed, and researchers concluded that a breakfast including eggs was actually superior in protein content and left volunteers satiated for longer, and also reduced what the researchers called “lunchtime energy intake”.
The ghrelin gremlin
The controversy around eating eggs lies in their cholesterol content – they are naturally high in cholesterol – but studies claim that moderate egg consumption does not necessarily raise your risk of heart disease.
A study published in the journal Nutrients investigated whether consuming two eggs a day for breakfast instead of oatmeal would decrease ghrelin (also known as the hunger hormone because it stimulates appetite) and maintain good levels of cholesterol.
In the study, 50 young, healthy participants ate either two eggs or a packet of oatmeal for breakfast for four weeks.
After data had been collected and analysed, researchers concluded that eating two eggs a day did not increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and negatively affect cholesterol levels, but that it did increase satiety levels throughout the day.
Eggs and weight loss
People with high cholesterol and heart disease should of course continue to practise caution with their egg intake, especially egg yolks.
But when it comes to weight loss and eggs, it’s said that even though eggs are high in cholesterol, they are low in calories and have a substantial protein content, along with other nutrients.
They also boost metabolic activity and help curb hunger, which means that people who have egg-based breakfasts may end up consuming fewer calories throughout the day.
“When battling hunger pangs associated with weight loss diets, high-protein foods or meals are known to reduce appetite and increase fullness (satiety) when compared to food or meals containing no protein, or less protein.
“Several studies have indicated that eggs, because they are protein-rich, can suppress hunger and this can be important for those struggling with weight loss or maintenance to manage hunger,” said North West University expert in nutrition, Professor Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau.
More benefits of eggs
Besides the fact that eggs are an inexpensive source of protein (a macronutrient everyone needs), they are also packed with other nutrients, like choline, selenium and lutein, to name just a few.
Choline is a nutrient that plays an important part in brain and nervous system functionality. It’s needed to regulate muscle control, mood and memory. The body creates very little choline and we need the nutrient in our diet.
Selenium is important to protect our bodies against infection and elements that damage the cells. It’s also important for thyroid gland functionality, DNA production and reproduction.
Lutein, also known as “the eye vitamin”, is a type of vitamin known as a carotenoid. It is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A and is best absorbed when consumed with a high-fat meal, which means that whole eggs are important for effective lutein absorption.