Eggs have its own share of pros and cons when it comes to weight loss. They had been viewed as good for weight loss because of their protein content, yet considered as unhealthy due to their cholesterol content (1).
Amidst all the confusion, it is evident that eggs do have a potential weight-management power (1). A study found that those who ate an egg breakfast as part of a calorie-restricted diet lost more weight compared to those who had a similar eating pattern yet ate a bagel for breakfast (2).
This proves that, just like any weight loss food, eggs alone are not effective in helping you lose weight. Rather, incorporating it into a healthy diet can help you achieve and maintain your weight loss goals over time (1). To get the most from the weight loss benefits of eggs, you have to prepare eggs and consume them the right way (4).
Eggs have an impressive nutrition profile. As per NYC registered dietitian Natalie Rizzo, eggs have high-quality protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals that include vitamin A, folate, vitamin D, and B vitamins. She adds, “Eggs are also rich in choline, a micronutrient that is important for pregnant women and babies (3).”
Both the egg white and yolk contain protein. Furthermore, the yolk has the highest concentration of fats, vitamins, and minerals. To give you an idea, one large egg contains about (3):
- Calories: 71.5 kcal (3)
- Fat: 4.8 grams (3)
- Vitamin A: 160 mcg (3)
- Calcium: 56 mg (3)
- Vitamin D: 2 mcg (3)
- Riboflavin: .475 mg (3)
- Vitamin B12: .89 mcg (3)
- Folate: 47 mcg (3)
- Vitamin E: 1.05 mg (3)
- Niacin: .075 mg (3)
- Iron: 1.75 mg (3)
It’s All About Protein
In general, the protein found in eggs keeps you full and may even boost metabolism (3). According to experts, high-protein diets can actually promote weight loss. On that note, a registered dietitian in Brooklyn, NY, Allison Knott, MS, RDN, CSSD, mentions, “One large egg has about six grams of high-quality protein, making them a good choice as part of an eating pattern that supports a healthy weight (4).”
Feeling of Fullness and Satiety
The main weight loss benefit of eggs comes from their protein content, making eggs incredibly nutrient-dense and filling. High protein foods like eggs have been proven to reduce appetite and increase fullness compared to those who only have less protein (5).
Studies show that pairing egg meals with a fiber source promotes feelings of fullness and reduces food intake during later meals than with other meals with the same calorie content. In addition, consuming a high-protein diet may reduce your desire to eat by 15 percent and may even prevent unhealthy late-night snacking (5).
Eggs also rank high on the satiety index – a scale that evaluates the extent to which foods help you feel full and reduce calorie intake later in the day (5).
According to the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers, Jessica Cording, MS, RD, eggs offer a nice balance of fat and protein, and this “can be helpful with staying full (1).”Similarly, Rizzo says, “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 (3).”
This points out the fact that part of the challenges in weight loss involves satisfying hunger while still avoiding calorie intake. One way to fulfill this is by eating high-protein foods like eggs to stay fuller for longer (3).
Thus, eating an egg-based, high-protein diet helps you burn more calories burning energy known as meal-induced thermogenesis. People who ate a high-protein diet had higher thermogenesis than those who consumed a high-carbohydrate diet. The researchers of the study speculate that burning more energy to digest high-protein could be the reason why people lose weight on high-protein diets (2).
When it comes to satiating our hunger, protein satiates our hunger better than carbohydrates and fats, because it takes longer to digest (3).
Eggs contain a good balance of all essential amino acids that your body needs. Thus, your body can easily use the protein in eggs for maintenance and metabolism. Consuming a high-protein diet has been proven to improve metabolism by up to 80-100 calories daily through the process called the thermic effect of food (5).
The thermic effect, which is the process of eating, digesting, and storing food, is also the slight increase in metabolism that you experience after eating. One of the factors that affect this effect is the protein amount in food (3).
Thus, a simple way to effectively lose weight is to boost your metabolism, which is your body’s ability to burn calories for energy. While having either a fast or slow metabolism depends on your needs, eating high-protein foods like eggs can slightly speed up your metabolism and help you burn more calories (3).
Moreover, protein benefits your muscle health, allowing you to keep and even build bigger muscles. The increase in muscle mass has a direct effect on improving metabolism. Muscles use more energy and burn more calories at rest. With this, the more muscles you have, the more efficiently your body burns the food you intake (3).
Studies have also shown that protein (when taken in moderation) can keep your metabolism moving quickly, keep your energy levels high, and keep you full longer – all of which are factors in weight control (4).
Health and Weight Loss Benefits of Eggs
As part of a balanced diet, eggs offer tons of health benefits. They are rich in protein and are low in calories. Moreover, there is a growing body of research that suggests that consuming eggs can aid in weight loss (6).
Here are some reasons why eggs are great weight-loss foods:
1. Eggs yolks contain calorie-burning choline.
According to dietitians, choline is a micronutrient that most of us neglect in our normal diet. A registered Brooklyn-based dietitian named Allison Knott, MS, RDN, CSSD, explains that the body usually synthesizes only a small amount of choline, but not enough to meet its needs. However, people who eat eggs are at an advantage (4).
Egg yolks are a good source of nutrients; thus, eating eggs ensures that you have the right levels of choline. On that note, Knott says that the micronutrient takes part in several functions in the body, which include nerve function, brain development, and metabolism (4).
Dietitian, founder of NutritionStarringYou.com, and author of the Protein-Packed Breakfast Clube, Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, says that one large egg offers about 145 milligrams of choline, which is more than a quarter of the 550-milligram daily value (4).
You can eat eggs as part of your daily routine. A study by the Journal of Human Kinetics revealed that supplementing your diet with choline leads to female athletes’ lower body mass as well as positive athletic performance (4).
2. It has a belly-fat-burning Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that takes part in bone health and immunity. As per Knott, this nutrient is not usually found in many foods, but eggs contain a hundred percent of it in their yolk (4).
Moreover, a 2018 study found a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and excess belly fat and concluded that healthy levels of Vitamin D can potentially reduce your ab fat (4).
3. Eggs are high in protein.
Protein is an essential contributor to weight loss, and eggs are a healthful source of it. On that note, Knott says, “One large egg has about six grams of high-quality protein, making them a good choice as part of an eating pattern that supports a healthy weight (4).”
Studies also show that moderate levels of protein keep the metabolism moving quickly, energy levels high, and feelings of fullness longer – all of which are factors in weight control (4).
4. Eggs are low in fats.
Contrary to popular beliefs, eggs are lower in fat than what you might think. Concerning this, Knott explains that a large egg contains about five grams of fat, which is less than 10 percent of your daily total fat needs (4).
In addition, research in the journal Diabetes and Endocrinology proves that consuming fats is not the reason you gain weight. As a matter of fact, adhering to a high-fat Mediterranean diet helps you maintain lower body weight (4).
5. Eggs contribute to healthy brain function.
As per Pincus, the choline content of eggs is important for brain development, especially before birth and in early childhood. In relation to this, Harvard Health explained that there is a possible connection between healthy brain function and maintaining a healthy weight (4).
Eggs contain another brain-boosting nutrient called lutein. As per Chicago-based registered dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, LDN, lutein is present in the brain and has been linked to academic performance in children and optimal cognition in older adults (4).
Eating processed, sugary foods make you gain weight and may even harm your brain health. Moreover, it contributes to anxiety and other mental health issues. Rather than consuming these unhealthy foods, eating eggs is a healthy way to consume these nutrients (4).
6. Eggs help improve thyroid functioning.
Eggs contain a substantial amount of iodine and selenium, which are both crucial in synthesizing thyroid hormones. Your thyroid is key to weight management. It regulates your body’s metabolism, thus helping you maintain a healthy weight (4).
7. Eggs improve mood.
This is another benefit offered by choline found in eggs. As per a nutritionist and trainer at a personal training and nutrition facility in New Orleans, Sara Artigues, RD, choline is involved in producing cells that deal with brain functions like mood, memory, and muscle control (4).
Several studies suggest that mood disorders like anxiety and depression seem to be connected to unhealthy weight and metabolism. That’s why good mental habits and having a healthy diet can positively influence metabolism (4).
8. Eggs are a great source of energy for pre- and post-exercise.
Exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy weight. Lemein explains that, thanks to their lean source of protein, eggs work great as refuel sources for pre- and post-exercise. More specifically, the protein content of eggs helps to rebuild and repair muscles post-workout.
Research suggests that, if you don’t get enough protein for a workout, your muscles can suffer (4).
9. Eggs are low-calorie foods.
You won’t have to worry about calories taking over and hampering your weight loss goals with a solid, filling low-calorie food like eggs (4).
As Artigues, eggs are a great way to ensure that you still get the essential vitamins, protein, and nutrients that you need while reducing your calorie intake, and they also fit right into your routine (4).
She adds, “As far as weight goes, since eggs contain about six grams of protein each and the necessary fat and vitamins the body needs, they help people stay satisfied or fuller longer, which may help decrease overall calorie intake (4).”
10. Eggs are rich in antioxidants.
Egg yolk contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that, according to studies, accumulate in our retinas and encourage proper eye function (4).
In general, there is no evidence that suggests antioxidants spurs weight loss, but they do save body cells by protecting them from damage caused by harmful chemicals called free radicals. Plus, they have been known to reduce the risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers (4).
Similar weight management benefits are found in high-antioxidant foods like blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes (4).
11. Eggs do not contain sugar.
Unlike most foods you eat for breakfast – such as cereals, granolas, yogurt, and toasts – eggs are virtually sugar-free. According to research, sugar causes weight and fat gain and is the main cause of obesity in the U.S, as well as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes (4).
The World Health Organization recommends that both adults and children consume 25 grams of added sugar at most each day. So, to start your weight loss journey, an egg-filed breakfast, lunch, or dinner is a great way to start (4).
12. Eggs are great alternatives to carbs.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that participants who ate eggs consistently for breakfast obtain a 34 percent decrease in inches off their waist as well as a 16 percent decrease in body fat, as compared to those who consistently ate bagels instead (4).
On that note, Pincus added that people who consumed eggs for breakfast versus a high-carb breakfast with bagel showed less hunger, greater satiety, and lower calorie consumption later in the day (4).
13. Eggs are essential to liver health.
Eggs are great breakfast foods to cure your hangover. Research shows that the egg’s choline content helps with liver health, specifically in rebooting liver cells. It also aids in a healthy fat-melting metabolism in general (4).
14. Eggs don’t impose risks for stroke and heart disease.
High triglyceride levels have been a common health issue faced by a lot of overweight Americans. A popular myth about eggs is that they can be detrimental to your cholesterol levels – and eventually your heart health. However, dietitians disapprove of this notion (4).
Pincus expressed his thought about this topic saying, “The available evidence indicates that eggs, when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet pattern, do not affect risk factors for cardiometabolic disease (4).”
Artigues explains that keeping eggs in your weekly food rotation can maintain levels of certain fats in the bloodstream, which can be harmful in high amounts. She adds, “Consuming one to two whole eggs a day does not appear to negatively affect one’s blood cholesterol level or heart disease risk factors. In fact, omega 3-enriched eggs may even help lower triglyceride levels (4).”
15. Eggs can be prepared in various ways.
You can consume eggs at any time of the day – may it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As per Lemein, eggs can be tailored to any taste. They are also easy to add to salads, sandwiches, and for any type of meal of the day. Plus, they adhere to a number of weight loss programs and diet plans, such as the keto diet, gluten-free diet, low-carb diet, and Whole30 diet, making weight loss easier to achieve (4).
As per Artigues, eggs are minimally processed sources of protein, fat, and other vitamins. With this, eating more eggs in our diet also helps us to eat more vegetables. In the study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, it was found that adding more vegetables to your diet has been linked to increased weight loss (4).
What are the Best Ways to Consume Eggs for Weight Loss?
Several people cook eggs in a lot of different ways, but you can only get the most out of their nutrients with the right cooking methods. Otherwise, the wrong cooking method can make them unhealthy (2).
To help you keep your egg dishes low in saturated fats and calories, it’s best to implement simple cooking methods, as this will also help you preserve the quality and nutrients in eggs (2).
Below are some of the healthiest ways to cook eggs.
This cooking method does not require any added fat, which makes it even healthier. However, make no mistake in devilling these eggs with mayonnaise-based fillings or mixing them in a mayonnaise-based salad, as this can make it unhealthy (2).
As a simple alternative to meats on salads and sandwiches, a simple hard-boiled egg works well. If you prefer a soft, jam-like center, go for a soft-boiled egg. This only differs from the hard-boiled egg in the cooking duration it took (2).
Poaching is similar to boiling – only without the shells. Since the eggs don’t have protection during cooking, treat your eggs gently with barely simmering water. For the best results, use the freshest eggs (2).
Contrary to popular belief, avoid adding vinegar or salt to the poaching liquid, as this can affect the taste of the delicate whites. For a more flavorful liquid, you can use slightly tinted and flavored whites with poaching liquids like wine, soup broth, milk, and tomato juice (4).
3. Cook in Healthy Oil
Although water-based cooking methods are the healthiest options, oil is usually used for frying or scrambling. In doing so, avoid using animal fats like bacon fat and butter, as these are not heart-healthy for you as vegetable-based fats (2).
If you still want to make a dish with these types of animal fats, better to do so on special occasions. For daily consumption, however, opt for healthier oil like olive oil, as it has less saturated fats (2).
Eggs are one of the most convenient and least expensive weight loss foods out there. With its high-protein content paired with low-calorie content, you get to feel full without consuming any unwanted calories throughout the day (5).
As a highly nutritious food, eggs are also a great source of tons of vitamins and minerals that are usually not found in other diets. Thus, eating eggs, especially for breakfast, can be a great addition to a healthy weight loss eating plan (5).
Take note, however, that eggs should not be the only food that you’ll eat when aiming to lose weight. Although they initially lead to weight loss, taking this type of diet is not recommended as a long-term plan (6).