Eggs have long been an American breakfast staple in many homes. Some people prefer to eat them scrambled, sunny side up, or just the white separated from the yolk. Speaking of egg whites, a new study presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2015 FNCE founded that selecting a high protein breakfast, like egg whites, may affect how full and satisfied young women feel during the morning. Egg whites also help them eat less throughout the entire day.
The study found that college-age women ate 10% fewer calories when eating a breakfast made with Egg Beaters Original instead of toaster pastries. The research was led by Joan Eckerson, PhD, Professor at Creighton University. She talked to Brandi Walker about how she arrived at these findings, when she started conducting research on the study, and does she feel more restaurants should include egg whites on their menus.
Brandi Walker: How did you arrive at the study findings?
Joan Eckerson: We recruited 31 female college students and had them randomly consume two different breakfasts providing about the same amount of calories for five days each. One week, they consumed a protein-rich egg white breakfast with 1¼ cup egg whites (Egg Beaters® Original providing 140 calories, which is the same calories as 2 whole eggs) and two pieces of toast with spread (breakfast total, 350 calories, 35 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fat). The alternate week, they consumed two low-fat toaster strawberry pastries (360 calories, 4 grams of protein, 76 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fat).
Immediately before breakfast and for three hours after, participants were asked to rate their level of fullness, hunger, satisfaction and desire to eat. They also recorded what they ate throughout the day for three of the five days. When compared to the toaster pastries, the egg white breakfast significantly reduced the participants’ daily caloric intake by 10% (for an average reduction of 178 calories over the course of the day) and increased protein intake by 24% (for an average increase of 14 grams of protein over the course of the day). The egg white breakfast was also found to be more filling and satisfying than the toaster pastry breakfast over three hours.
B.W.: When did you start conducting this research?
J.E.: We began recruiting and screening women during September and October of 2014, and the breakfast data was collected during November and December. The findings were presented at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo in Nashville, TN in October 2015, and we currently have a manuscript for publication in preparation.
B.W.: Did other researchers worked with you on this study?
J.E.: I had three undergraduate students assist with data collection at Creighton University; Ms. Allison Lieb, BS, Ms. Katie Mullen, BS, and Ms. Nina Allen. The biostatistician employed by the university (Dr. Chris Wichman) completed all of the statistical analyses for us. Staff at an outside laboratory, Innovation Research, also packaged and weighed each breakfast before and after consumption.
B.W.: What do you mean by saying an egg white breakfast is satiating?
J.E.: Even though the two breakfasts were similar in calories, the egg-white breakfast resulted in greater feelings of fullness and satisfaction throughout the morning compared to the high carbohydrate breakfast. Our subjects were likely more satisfied because egg-whites are so high in volume and protein for the calories they provide.
B.W.: Do you feel more fast-food restaurants should include egg whites on the menu?
J.E.: Yes! Particularly since people have become much more health conscious – egg whites are low calorie, have zero saturated fat and cholesterol, and are a rich source of protein.
B.W.: Which is healthier- cook this breakfast at home or eat it in a restaurant?
J.E.: Making an Egg Beaters breakfast like the one we made in the study at home is easy, convenient and healthy, but I also believe that an individual can eat a healthy breakfast when eating out depending upon the choices they make. For example, most ‘sit-down’ restaurants offer egg whites or Egg Beaters® as an option; and if you don’t see it printed on the menu, ask if it’s possible to have egg whites as a substitute. Another example – if the menu states that the omelet you would like to order is made with three eggs, ask the wait staff to only use two eggs or to use only the whites of one or two of those three eggs – most places will accommodate you and may actually deduct the price of the breakfast if fewer eggs are ordered.
For more information on this study, visit http://www.conagrafoods.com.