Eating eggs for breakfast reduces hunger and decreases calorie consumption at lunch and throughout the day, according to a new study published in Nutrition Research.

 University of Connecticut researchers found that men who consumed an egg-based breakfast ate significantly fewer calories when offered an unlimited lunch buffet compared to when they ate a carbohydrate-rich bagel breakfast of equal calories.

The authors say their study supports previous research which revealed that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped overweight dieters lose 65 percent more weight and feel more energetic than dieters who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume.

Twenty-one men participated in this study and each ate two different test breakfasts. On one test day the participants ate an egg-based, protein-rich breakfast including three scrambled eggs and one-and-a-half pieces of white toast. On another test day they ate a bagel-based, carbohydrate-rich breakfast including one plain bagel, one half tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese and six ounces of low-fat yogurt.

The two breakfasts contained identical calories, but when the men ate the egg-based breakfast the researchers observed that men ate roughly 112 fewer calories at a buffet lunch three hours following the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast, consumed approximately 400 fewer calories in the 24-hour period following the egg breakfast. Blood tests showed that ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger when elevated, was significantly higher after the bagel breakfast

"There is a growing body of evidence that supports the importance of high-quality protein in the diet for overall health and in particular the importance of protein at the breakfast meal," said Maria Luz Fernandez, Ph.D., study author and professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut.

Citation: Ratliff et al., 'Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men', Nutrition Research, February 2010, 30(2), 96-103; doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.01.002