Chicken eggs have long been a diet staple, especially if you’re trying lose weight or gain muscle.
And now new research suggests that there could be an optimal number to eat per week if you are looking to lose some belly fat.
The study, recently published in the science journal Clinical Nutrition, found participants had “significantly” smaller wastlines, lower BMIs, and higher lean muscle mass after consuming at least five eggs per week. To find this link, Spanish researchers used electrical currents and X-rays to determine the body composition of 355 university students, before conducting a thorough 137-item food survey.
The study found that the high protein in the diet of those who ate five or more eggs was a key reason for their having smaller stomachs and more lean muscle. This is because our bodies take longer to burn proteins, and so eating this popular breakfast food makes you feel full for longer, while also encouraging your body to build muscle.
This research from the University of Castille could help dieters find a better food routine, as it suggests that eating one egg for each of the five days that we are typically at work could be the ideal diet. In fact, starting the day with a quick hit of protein in the form of a healthy boiled or poached egg, could be the perfect way to get energy for the day ahead and put off those 11am tummy rumbles.
Previously, people believed that only eating the egg whites of a whole egg was the best way to cut weight and build muscle, but this research builds on the recent consensus that consuming both the yolk and the white actually boosts weight loss and muscle mass.
Authors of the observational research say this is because the wide variety of nutrients contained in eggs make them a gold standard for protein intake, stating: “This may be because egg yolks contain various nonprotein components that may modulate the anabolic response, such as vitamins, minerals, palmitic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and microRNAs, among others.”
This research adds to a growing body of evidence that regular egg consumption should be a part of most healthy balanced diets, with another recent study finding that women who eat lots of eggs typically have lower cholesterol.
This mounting pile of research is yet to filter through to official guidance. Current NHS healthy eating guidelines lump eggs in with other foods high in protein and healthy fats, such as oily fish and lean meat, stating: “Eggs and fish are also good sources of protein, and contain many vitamins and minerals.”