This story advances the claim that egg protein may be better than other types of protein for curbing your appetite and helping you lose weight. But like its competition at the LA Times, this story never fully explains why readers shouldn’t accept that conclusion based on this very preliminary evidence. Here’s what we would have emphasized:
Our nation is struggling with a big weight problem. It is useful to know if small, attainable behavior changes — like eating eggs for breakfast instead of cereal — can help people lose weight or stop them from gaining it in the first place.
The cost of eggs and cereal is not in question.
There was no quantification of results, like hunger levels or changes in hormone levels. The story also didn’t tell us how much less participants ate at the buffet following the egg breakfast vs. cereal breakfast. We really need such details in order to figure out if the findings are a big deal or not.
We’ll rate this not applicable, as the potential harms of eating eggs are minimal. In just a line, though, the story could have addressed whether eating an egg a day, as participants did during this study, is safe from a heart health standpoint (eggs contain a lot of cholesterol). Most research from large cohort studies (Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow Up study) of diet have shown no increased risk of cardiovascular disease among regular egg eaters. Nonetheless, just as it popped into our reviewers’ minds, we bet it popped into readers’ minds as well – yet wasn’t addressed.
The story did a decent job of explaining how the study was conducted, and it does alert us to the fact that certain details about the design are uncertain (e.g. “It’s unclear how the eggs were prepared, how many were served, or what other foods were included in the breakfast meals.”) It also nods to the fact that the study was presented as an abstract at a conference and hasn’t yet been peer reviewed.
With that being said, the story still tilts too far in favor of the idea that “Starting your day off with an egg may help curb your appetite better than cereal” — something that this vague abstract, which presents no actual data, just doesn’t support very strongly. The story should have found a way, perhaps via an independent source, to more forcefully bat this down.
No disease mongering.
The story notes that the study was funded by egg producers, but the only source quoted is the study author. This story would have benefited immensely from an independent perspective.
The story doesn’t mention other approaches, besides eating eggs for breakfast, that are helpful for weight loss. Even one additional line could have addressed this idea.
The availability of eggs and cereal is not in question.
This research builds upon many previous studies suggesting that protein calories may be more satiating than other types of calories. The story doesn’t mention this background.