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Eggs are good for you again… and can help with weight loss? What the what?! But wait… eggs are bad, right? Because of cholesterol in their yolks and stuff, right?
More and more experts agree that eggs are great for weight loss when added to a healthy calorie-controlled plan. And most healthy people can eat eggs daily without any negative effects.
In fact, eggs can increase your good cholesterol. Eggs are high in protein and contain healthy fats and vitamins and minerals that can help with more than just weight loss.
Eggs are low in calories
One large egg has only 78 calories. Successful weight loss depends on lowering your daily calorie intake. Even if you eat a generous serving of vegetables, you can still have up to three eggs at a meal without going over 300 calories.
Weight Watchers gives eggs a zero in its points system. The lower the points, the healthier the food — eggs are on par with broccoli and celery.
Pro tip: Be mindful if you choose to prepare eggs with a fat. Oil or butter can add at least 100 calories per tablespoon.
Eggs are super dense, in a good way
Nutrient-dense, that is. If you’re trying to eat less, you want the most bang for your calorie buck. Eggs are loaded with benefits.
People who eat one to three eggs a day have higher levels of:
- HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- zeaxanthin and lutein (antioxidants that contribute to eye health)
- vitamin D (which promotes bone health and immune function)
- choline (which boosts metabolism and aids fetal brain development)
Pro tip: For an added boost, look for eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are good for your body because they help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Omega-3s may increase circulation and decrease your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Our bodies don’t produce omega-3s naturally, so you need to get enough in your diet.
Eggs may boost metabolism
Eggs are nature’s perfect protein source — they have all the right ratios of essential amino acids, which are basically the building blocks of protein.
Eating a high protein diet can boost your metabolism by 80 to 100 calories a day. This is known as the thermic effect of food: You burn more calories when your body works to digest the protein in eggs.
Protein is no yolk: Eggs get grade A marks for their fullness factor
The science-y system for ranking how well a food fills you up is called the Satiety Index (SI).
Since a large egg has about 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, it’ll keep you feeling full longer than a snack with less protein. You’ll be less likely to snack or overeat at later meals.
The average male couch potato needs 65 to 70 grams of protein a day, and the average less-active female needs about 55 grams. If you live a more active lifestyle, you’ll need even more protein.
Protein also helps build muscle, which can improve weight loss results over time.
If possible, breakfast is the best time to eat eggs. When researchers have compared eggs at breakfast to carb-heavy breakfasts, eggs have come out on top.
In a small 2013 study, participants who ate eggs at breakfast felt full longer and ate less throughout the day than those who had eaten cereal or a croissant.
A 2005 study compared the effects of eating eggs for breakfast at least 5 days a week to those of eating bagels for breakfast. After 8 weeks, participants who ate eggs had lost 65 percent more weight.
They also lost 16 percent more body fat on average. Body fat loss is more important than overall weight loss for health gains. It can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
In a small 2010 study, men who ate eggs consumed fewer calories in the next 24 hours. And a 2005 study found that women who ate eggs instead of bagels at breakfast ate fewer calories for the next 36 hours.
Eating eggs can also help regulate blood glucose, insulin, and the hunger hormone ghrelin (which sounds an awful lot like “gremlin,” your hangry alter ego).
Like “poe-tay-toes,” eggs can be prepared many ways. Here’s the rundown if you’re an egg noob:
Soft-boiled: gently cooked eggs with jam-like centers and set whites
Medium-boiled: creamy, barely set yolks and set whites
Hard-boiled: sliceable, with mostly set yolks and set whites (Beware the green ring — that’s how you know they’re overcooked.)
Poached: boiled without the shell (best with eggs that are super fresh)
Fried: butter or bacon fat = less healthy but delicious option; olive oil or avocado oil = sustainable daily option
Scrambled: whisked in a bowl before cooking
Omelets: fancy folded scrambled eggs
Baked: casserole-style dishes great for a crowd or for reheating throughout the week — think quiche
Pro tip: Use leftover meats and veggies from the fridge in your omelets and scrambles. Your wallet will thank you.
Don’t worry about it.
The guideline that egg intake should be limited to seven per week is outdated. There’s not enough research to suggest any issues with eating more eggs.
You may have heard that cholesterol is a concern for egg eaters, but a 2015 review of 40 studies found no conclusive relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk.
A quick refresher on the two types of cholesterol:
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the bad one.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the good one.
The American Heart Association recommends people at risk of heart disease stick to eating one whole egg or two egg whites a day. But most healthy people can eat up to three eggs a day.
Portions still matter, though. If your goal is weight loss, make sure you’re swapping eggs for a high carb food choice and not just adding them to your overall calories.
Eggs are cheap, easy, and abundant. Use them to fill that gaping hole in your meal plans.
Eggs are a superb low-calorie swap for other proteins, and when consumed at breakfast they can have a huge impact on your long-term fullness.
And who doesn’t want to lose weight without hunger?