Keep Hunger at Bay with Egg Protein, Says Pennington Biomedical Research Center Study

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Released: Friday, May 11, 2012

LYON, FRANCE - A breakfast containing egg proteins is better than a breakfast of wheat protein in keeping hunger at bay, according to a research study conducted at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D.

Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D.
Pennington Biomedical 
Research Center
(click image for larger file)

Research study results were presented by Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., professor at Pennington Biomedical, in Leon, France on Saturday, May 12, during the 19th European Congress on Obesity and the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Obesity.

The randomized crossover study, funded by the American Egg Board and conducted at Pennington Biomedical's clinical research facilities in Baton Rouge, LA, evaluated 20 overweight or obese but otherwise healthy individuals. Researchers compared the hunger-satisfying effect of eggs to a ready-to-eat cereal breakfast matched for energy density and macronutrient composition, but with differing protein quality. The participants were tested under supervision for one week, with a two week gap period between crossover groups, who then swapped diets. A structured buffet lunch was provided on days 1 and 7 of each test week, in order to evaluate how hungry participants were following their respective breakfasts.  Researchers found that individuals given the egg breakfast felt fuller before lunch and their lunchtime food intake on days 1 and 7 was lower when compared to the cereal breakfast.

In addition, researchers noted that participants also had lower concentrations of the hunger-stimulating hormone acylated ghrelin and increased PYY3-36, a hormone that signals satiety secreted by the intestines, during the three hour period after breakfast.

"This study shows that diets with higher protein quality may enhance satiety, leading to better compliance and success of a weight loss diet," said Dhurandhar.  He adds that consuming normal amounts of a high quality protein, such as that from eggs, alleviates concerns about diets high in protein consumption affecting liver and/or kidney functions.

According to Dhurandhar, "The study has raised the question:  'Are some foods with higher protein quality nature's appetite suppressants?'.  Long term weight loss trials to compare the manipulation of protein quality without increasing protein quantity should be explored."  



The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.