Why Eggs are Good for Weight Loss (Hint: Blood Sugar)
Eggs are a great source of protein and can help balance blood sugar levels to support weight loss. Plus, they contain many other nutrients necessary for optimal health.
In this article, we'll take a deep dive into eggs, why including eggs in your diet can help you achieve your health goals, plus a few quick and easy ways to add them to your regular diet.
Egg Nutrition 101
Eggs are a good source of protein and contain many other nutrients essential for a healthy diet. Protein is often considered the most supportive weight loss nutrient (along with fiber) because it helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals.1
Eggs are often called the "perfect protein" because they contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need in ideal proportions—also known as high biological value. Foods with high biological values not only include all the protein we need, but they are easily digested and used by the body, and eggs have the highest biological value.2
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn about </strong><a href="/blog/protein-for-weight-loss">why protein can help you lose weight</a></p>
In addition to being a great source of protein, eggs can also help regulate your blood sugar levels.3 Stable blood sugar levels can help with hunger and cravings (versus spikes and dips that can leave you fatigued and hungry). This means that you will have steadier energy levels throughout the day and be less likely to overeat.
Nutritional Profile of Eggs
One large egg provides:4
- 70 calories
- 6 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat
- 0 gram of carbs
What About Eggs and Cholesterol?
It's impossible to talk about eggs without bringing up cholesterol, because that's what many people think of when the topic of eggs comes up. We were taught to only eat egg whites because the yolks were high in cholesterol and basically the poster child for heart disease.
Nutrition science adapts and constantly changes as we learn more and more research comes out. It turns out that it's saturated fat that tends to increase cholesterol and not dietary sources of cholesterol. Overall the evidence suggests eggs have little impact on your cholesterol levels.5
However, the overall quality of your diet in combination is important. Focusing on diet choices—like reducing refined carbohydrates and processed foods and increasing fiber-rich produce—matters much more for heart disease risk.6
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn more about </strong> <a href="/blog/lower-blood-sugar-cholesterol">lowering cholesterol and blood sugar</a>.</p>
How Eggs Can Help With Weight Loss
- Eggs stabilize blood sugar. The main reason eggs are good for weight loss is because of the impact on your blood sugar. Eggs contain no carbohydrates, so blood sugar remains virtually unchanged if you eat them alone.
Since they are primarily protein and fat, eggs also take longer to digest and break down, slowing down the absorption of any carbs you eat as part of the meal, keeping blood sugar more stable.
Why does stable blood sugar matter for weight loss? Variable blood sugar with spikes means your pancreas releases more insulin to bring blood sugar down to normal levels. Insulin is an anabolic hormone and promotes fat storage.7 You need insulin to do its job, but too much insulin can encourage weight gain.
- Eggs keep you fuller longer. Since eggs are a good source of protein, they tend to be digested slower, which also helps you feel fuller in between meals. Compare that to eating a muffin or low-fiber cereal for breakfast, where you probably feel hungry an hour later. Less hunger keeps you from overeating at your next meal.
One study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who ate a carb-heavy breakfast.8 Another study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast as part of a weight management program lost more weight and body fat than those who ate a high-carb breakfast.9
- Eggs support a healthy metabolism. Since eggs are a good source of protein, they support healthy muscle mass. More lean muscle tissue keeps your metabolism firing throughout the day, which means your burn more calories even at rest.10
It also takes more energy to break down protein than fat or carbohydrates, so eating eggs could increase your calorie burn because they contain protein.11
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn about </strong><a href="/blog/boost-metabolism">how to boost your metabolism</a></p>
How Many Eggs Can You Eat Each Day?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The amount of eggs you should eat depends on your calorie needs, protein needs, and health goals.
However, if you are at risk of heart disease, recent expert recommendations suggest no more than seven eggs a week.5 The problem is that many of the studies that make the association between increased risk of cardiovascular disease and egg consumption also find correlations with higher egg intake and low physical activity or other habits that increase heart disease risk.
Nutrition science is complicated, and it’s not enough to focus on one food because everything we eat works together to help or harm the body. For most people, if you are eating a nutrient-dense diet with a wide variety of healthy fat, high-fiber foods, and lean protein, eating eggs every day is likely not a problem. Working with a registered dietitian or asking your doctor is always helpful if you have any cardiovascular concerns or just aren’t sure.
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Read about </strong> <a href="/blog/high-fiber-low-carb-foods">the best high-fiber, low-carb foods for blood sugar</a>.</p>
Is There a Best Time of Day to Eat Eggs?
There's no best time to eat eggs. Some people prefer to eat eggs for breakfast because they are a good source of protein and can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Others prefer to eat them later in the day or as part of a post-workout meal because they are a good source of protein and can help to boost metabolism.
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn about </strong><a href="/blog/protein-before-after-workout">protein before or after a workout</a></p>
If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to consider eating eggs for breakfast or as part of a healthy snack since they can help you feel fuller and stabilize blood sugar levels. But the best time to eat eggs is whenever you enjoy them!
How to Add More Eggs to Your Diet
- Add eggs to your oatmeal for a creamy texture as you cook it on the stovetop. If you haven't tried this, it sounds a bit odd, but it's a delicious way to add protein to oats (especially if you are someone who finds oatmeal spikes your blood sugar). Keep the temperature on medium and stir to avoid clumping. Here's an example recipe.
- Top your favorite salad with a hard-boiled egg for extra protein. Hard-boiled eggs also make a great snack on their own, especially paired with berries.
- Make egg salad lettuce wraps (plain Greek yogurt also makes an excellent sub for mayo).
- Make a frittata or quiche with extra veggies and use it as a quick on-the-go meal.
- Enjoy deviled eggs as a healthy snack (here's a recipe idea).
- Scramble them up with veggies for a quick and easy meal.
- Try a salad for breakfast (or anytime) using baby kale, olive oil, avocado, chopped nuts, and a soft-boiled egg on top.
What to Avoid When Preparing Eggs for Weight Loss
Be mindful of how you cook your eggs. Cooking your eggs with healthy fat sources like olive oil or avocado oil is a good way to make sure you are getting the most nutrition from your eggs. If you’re a bacon lover, keep your intake to special occasions.
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn about </strong><a href="/blog/holiday-healthy-eating-tips">healthy holiday eating tips</a></p>
Pair your eggs with fiber from veggies or complex carbs from whole grains, fruits, or veggies, but skip the white toast or muffins. Eggs can be a beneficial part of your overall diet, but as mentioned early, the other foods really matter too.
Benefits of Eggs Beyond Weight Loss
Protein and blood sugar balance aren't the only health benefits linked to eggs. They also contain several other essential nutrients, including:
- Choline. Choline is a nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.12
- Selenium. Selenium is a mineral that plays a role in thyroid function, reproduction, and DNA synthesis.13
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, immune function, and reducing inflammation.14
- Lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that can help protect against age-related macular degeneration, a type of vision loss.15
Interestingly, all these nutrients are primarily found in the egg yolk, so don't be afraid to eat it! The yolk contains at least a small amount of every trace mineral and vitamin except vitamin C, including the B vitamins and vitamin A, although the amounts of all the nutrients can vary depending on what the hen eats.16
Considering all of the above, the egg is quite the powerhouse when it comes to nutrition.
You Can Use a CGM to See How Your Body Responds to Eggs
If you want to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and see how your body responds to eating more eggs, you could try using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) paired with the Signos app.
A CGM is a small device you wear on your body that continuously monitors your blood sugar levels. It gives you real-time data to see how your body responds to different foods, activities, and stressors. The Signos app can give you immediate feedback to see exactly how your body responds to adding more eggs with this data.
<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn about </strong><a href="/blog/cgms-for-weight-loss">the scientific evidence of using CGMs for weight loss</a></p>
- Gosby, A. K., Conigrave, A. D., Lau, N. S., Iglesias, M. A., Hall, R. M., Jebb, S. A., Brand-Miller, J., Caterson, I. D., Raubenheimer, D., & Simpson, S. J. (2011). Testing protein leverage in lean humans: a randomised controlled experimental study. PloS one, 6(10), e25929. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025929
- Hoffman, J. R., & Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein - Which is Best?. Journal of sports science & medicine, 3(3), 118–130.
- Franz M. J. (1997). Protein: metabolism and effect on blood glucose levels. The Diabetes educator, 23(6), 643–651. https://doi.org/10.1177/014572179702300603
- “FoodData Central.” Accessed May 25, 2022. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients
- Drouin-Chartier, J. P., Chen, S., Li, Y., Schwab, A. L., Stampfer, M. J., Sacks, F. M., Rosner, B., Willett, W. C., Hu, F. B., & Bhupathiraju, S. N. (2020). Egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: three large prospective US cohort studies, systematic review, and updated meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 368, m513. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m513
- Anand, S. S., Hawkes, C., de Souza, R. J., Mente, A., Dehghan, M., Nugent, R., Zulyniak, M. A., Weis, T., Bernstein, A. M., Krauss, R. M., Kromhout, D., Jenkins, D., Malik, V., Martinez-Gonzalez, M. A., Mozaffarian, D., Yusuf, S., Willett, W. C., & Popkin, B. M. (2015). Food Consumption and its Impact on Cardiovascular Disease: Importance of Solutions Focused on the Globalized Food System: A Report From the Workshop Convened by the World Heart Federation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 66(14), 1590–1614. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2015.07.050
- Ludwig, D. S., & Ebbeling, C. B. (2018). The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity: Beyond "Calories In, Calories Out". JAMA internal medicine, 178(8), 1098–1103. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.2933
- B Keogh, J., & M Clifton, P. (2020). Energy Intake and Satiety Responses of Eggs for Breakfast in Overweight and Obese Adults-A Crossover Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(15), 5583. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155583
- Vander Wal, J. S., Gupta, A., Khosla, P., & Dhurandhar, N. V. (2008). Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. International journal of obesity (2005), 32(10), 1545–1551. https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2008.130
- Speakman, J. R., & Selman, C. (2003). Physical activity and resting metabolic rate. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 62(3), 621–634. https://doi.org/10.1079/PNS2003282
- Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & metabolism, 11(1), 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53
- DiBella, M., Thomas, M. S., Alyousef, H., Millar, C., Blesso, C., Malysheva, O., Caudill, M. A., & Fernandez, M. L. (2020). Choline Intake as Supplement or as a Component of Eggs Increases Plasma Choline and Reduces Interleukin-6 without Modifying Plasma Cholesterol in Participants with Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 12(10), 3120. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103120
- Kieliszek M. (2019). Selenium⁻Fascinating Microelement, Properties and Sources in Food. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(7), 1298. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071298
- Browning, L. C., & Cowieson, A. J. (2014). Vitamin D fortification of eggs for human health. Journal of the science of food and agriculture, 94(7), 1389–1396. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.6425
- Goodrow, E. F., Wilson, T. A., Houde, S. C., Vishwanathan, R., Scollin, P. A., Handelman, G., & Nicolosi, R. J. (2006). Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. The Journal of nutrition, 136(10), 2519–2524. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.10.2519
- Réhault-Godbert, S., Guyot, N., & Nys, Y. (2019). The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health. Nutrients, 11(3), 684. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030684