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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on November 9, 2007

Egg protein power rediscovered

Protein can play an important role in helping to control this problem, through its satiety effect and ability to retail muscle tissue.

Egg protein contributes to satiety, lean tissue retention, and muscle tissues accretion. "These benefits offer you great promotional potential," Don McNamara, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center, said at the recent International Egg Commission meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

"Currently one of our biggest health concerns in the western world is obesity. Protein can play an important role in helping to control this problem, through its satiety effect and ability to retail muscle tissue when you try to lose weight," he added.

McNamara said that latest research findings have confirmed that:

  • Protein exerts an increased thermic effect as compared to fat and carbohydrates
  • Higher protein diets increase satiety as compared with lower protein diets
  • Higher protein diets facilitated weight loss (greater loss of fat versus lean)
  • Egg yolk protein had a satiety effect greater than previously predicted
  • Adding eggs to a low-calorie diet could enhance weight loss and increase dietary compliance

Proteins Suppress Food Intake

McNamara said dietary proteins suppressed food intake more than fats or carbohydrates. "Dietary proteins contribute to satiety and delay a return to hunger," he said. Proteins also support the maintenance of lean tissue mass and the loss of adipose tissue. Protein digestion also leads to physiological and metabolic changes associated with food intake regulation. In addition, dietary protein and exercise facilitates weight loss.

A diet with higher protein and reduced carbohydrates combined with exercise improves body composition during weight loss. McNamara said that high protein diets spare lean body mass loss, enhance glycemic control, increase thermogenesis and satiety, and reduce weight gain. Apart from the quantity, the quality of protein impacts satiety and weight loss.

He went on to explain that there was a difference between fast and slow dietary protein. Not all proteins are the same. In a study comparing ham with egg on the intake of glucose and insulin, the egg intake lowered the blood glucose response more than ham. Eggs also lowered the insulin response more.

Egg yolk is better than egg white with regard to the impact on glucose and insulin. Whole egg and egg yolk intake lowers the blood glucose and blood insulin responses more than egg white. And, egg yolk intake induces a delay in gastric emptying more than egg white.

McNamara concluded by reminding everyone that there are at least a dozen good reasons to eat eggs: they offer high-quality protein, are nutrient dense, have essential fatty acids, are high in choline, are lutein rich. They are versatile, affordable, delicious, satisfying, convenient, and can be used as a single serving or as a great snack food.

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