Although the general agreement among scientists is that the most critical factor in weight management is total energy intake, the ideal balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat for weight loss is widely disputed, and more so today than ever before. In fact, until recently, the majority of the medical profession did not support high-protein, low-carbohydrate dieting; however, this diet regime was recently validated when short-term studies showed a lack of negative health effects. In fact, studies showed weight loss, which during today’s obesity crisis, is news worth spreading, and advice worth giving.
Dr. Donald Layman, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has found that a diet consisting of twice the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein, or 1.6 grams protein per kilogram bodyweight, is more satisfying, promotes weight loss and improves blood lipids compared to a traditional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet containing the current RDA for protein, which is set at 0.8 grams protein per kilogram bodyweight.
In a 10-week study, Dr. Layman examined the efficacy of two isocaloric weight loss diets among women aged 45 to 57 years old. The women who ate the higher protein diet lost slightly more weight, but of the weight lost, nearly twice as much was fat compared to those eating a carbohydrate-rich diet. In another study, overweight and obese women were placed on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, reduced-calorie diet for 16 weeks. These subjects lost 21.6 lbs compared to the 14.8 lbs lost by women on a high-carbohydrate, reduced-calorie control diet. The high-protein group also lost more body fat (19.4 lbs vs. 12.3 lbs.) and less lean body mass (-0.9 lbs vs. -2.4 lbs) than the carbohydrate group.
In addition to the weight control and lean body mass sparing attributes, a possible additional benefit includes stabilizing blood glucose and insulin during periods of energy-restriction encountered during weight management. Dr. Layman says that overweight women with abnormally high insulin levels can achieve a 3-fold greater reduction in plasma insulin on a high‐protein, low-carbohydrate diet compared to the high-carbohydrate control diet. Just how diets higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate improve body weight and body fat loss while preserving lean body mass is still unclear. Some theories include increased satiety (reduced food intake), increased thermogenesis (fat burning), reduced muscle protein loss, and improved regulation of blood glucose and insulin. Regardless, the diet is working, and consumers, as well as medical professionals are taking note, and food manufacturers are responding.
This is where egg products enter the picture. Naturally high in protein (one large egg contains 6.25 grams), and virtually free of carbohydrate, egg products assist in the formulation of high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods. Egg products are a tool to help boost protein levels in prepared foods— adding value to the food and assisting America with the obesity crisis.