Hard-boiled eggs are easy to work into your calorie budget, but that isn’t all they can do to help you lose weight. Eggs support weight loss by keeping hunger at bay and preventing big spikes in blood sugar. The protein in eggs preserves muscle mass so you can burn fat, and other nutrients in eggs support the metabolism of carbs and fat. Hard-boiled eggs also contribute essential nutrients, including vitamin B-12, vitamin D, selenium and protein.
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Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Low in Calories
Weight loss comes down to making the body used stored fat for energy, which is accomplished by consuming fewer calories than needed for energy. Hard-boiled eggs work well for cutting back on calories because one large egg only has 78 calories. The cooking method makes a difference though, as eggs gain extra calories and fat when they’re fried or scrambled in butter or other fat.
In spite of the moderate amount of calories, keep an eye on the number of eggs you eat. The cholesterol from eggs has only a small impact on blood levels of cholesterol for most people. Healthy individuals can eat up to one whole egg daily without worrying about increasing their risk of heart disease, reports the Harvard School of Public Health. Current recommendations for people who have high cholesterol, diabetes or cardiovascular disease is to limit egg yolk consumption to no more than three weekly.
If you want to eat more eggs, just remove the yolk. Even if a little yolk residue remains on the hard-boiled egg white, you’ll still eliminate the fats, including cholesterol. Without the yolk, you can eat quite a few additional egg whites because one large white only has about 17 calories. For example, an omelet made with 1 whole egg and 3 additional egg whites contains only about 130 calories.
Protein in Hard-Boiled Eggs Supports Weight Loss
High-protein foods move through the digestive tract more slowly; as a result, you feel full longer, and it’s easier to eat less. Proteins also help prevent spikes in blood sugar. When blood sugar spikes, it subsequently cycles down to low levels, which triggers hunger and leads to unnecessary eating. Avoiding high blood sugar also lowers the chance that excess sugar will be stored as fat.
Another important advantage you’ll get from eating protein is that it preserves muscle mass. When two groups of adults ate the same number of calories but different amounts of protein, the group who ate 30 percent of their daily calories from protein lost more fat and less muscle than the group who consumed half that amount of protein, reported Nutrition and Metabolism in 2012.
Eggs contain quality protein that’s highly digestible and contains a sufficient amount of all the essential amino acids. One large hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein. Since women need 46 grams daily, and men should get 56 grams, one egg supplies 13 percent and 11 percent of the daily intake, respectively. Since the protein is split fairly evenly between the yolk and white, you’ll lose almost half the grams of protein by eating just the egg white.
Eggs for Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss
Several studies point to the weight-loss benefits of eating eggs for breakfast. In one study, two groups ate the same number of calories for breakfast, but one group ate eggs and the other had bagels. After eight weeks, the egg-eating group lost 65 percent more weight and 16 percent more body fat, according to the International Journal of Obesity in 2008. The researchers concluded that eggs can improve weight loss when they’re part of an energy-deficit diet. An earlier study found that subjects who had eggs at breakfast ate less food several hours following their meal than those who ate bagels.
Eating a high-protein breakfast of eggs and beef helped adolescent girls eat less throughout the day and even reduced their after-dinner snacking, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013. Compared to girls eating a cereal-based breakfast, the high-protein group felt fuller and their levels of hunger-controlling hormones increased.
The Impact of Eggs on Metabolism
Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, an essential nutrient that must be obtained through your diet. Choline facilitates the digestion of fat and is used to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is important for memory and learning. It also regulates fat metabolism in the liver, where it helps prevent excess fat accumulation. While more research is needed to verify the results, one study found that choline helped female athletes rapidly reduce body fat, reported the Journal of Human Kinetics in 2014.
When eggs are part of a low-carbohydrate diet, they help increase levels of adiponectin, according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolism in 2008. Adiponectin is a hormone that boosts metabolism and helps the body break down fats. It also lowers inflammation and improves the body’s ability to respond to insulin.
Eating one egg daily improved inflammation better than a breakfast of oatmeal in people with diabetes, and didn't affect levels of blood glucose, reported the journal Nutrients in 2015. This study suggests that eggs may not increase the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes, but consult your physician to be sure they’re safe for your diet.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Cooked, Hard-Boiled
- Harvard School of Public Health: Eggs and Heart Disease
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, White, Raw, Fresh
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein, Carbs and Weight Loss
- Nutrition and Metabolism: Effects of Protein Intake and Gender on Body Composition Changes: A Randomized Clinical Weight Loss Trial
- Lab Door: Protein Quality: The Four Most Important Metrics
- International Journal of Obesity: Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Short-Term Effect of Eggs on Satiety in Overweight and Obese Subjects
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Beneficial Effects of a Higher-Protein Breakfast on the Appetitive, Hormonal, and Neural Signals Controlling Energy Intake Regulation in Overweight/Obese, Breakfast-Skipping, Late-Adolescent Girls
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Choline
- Journal of Human Kinetics: Effect of Choline Supplementation on Rapid Weight Loss and Biochemical Variables Among Female Taekwondo and Judo Athletes
- Nutrition and Metabolism: Eggs Modulate the Inflammatory Response to Carbohydrate Restricted Diets in Overweight Men
- Nutrients: One Egg Per Day Improves Inflammation When Compared to an Oatmeal-Based Breakfast Without Increasing Other Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Diabetic Patients