London: Feeling sleepy at work? Just have an egg, as its proteins, especially those found in the white, can help one stay awake and feel alert, scientists say.

Researchers at Cambridge University have found that egg proteins are much more effective than carbohydrates found in the chocolates, biscuits and sweets often relied on for a quick energy boost.

The researchers, who wanted to know how nutrients affect the brain cells that keeping us awake and burning calories, found that a mixture similar to the protein content of egg whites activated these cells, triggering the release of the stimulant orexin, a daily reported.

Sugar, however, blocked the release of orexin.

Researcher Dr Denis Burdakov said: "What is exciting is to have a rational way to 'tune' select brain cells to be more or less active by deciding what food to eat.

"Research suggests that if you have a choice between jam on toast, or egg whites on toast, go for the latter.

"Even though the two may contain the same number of calories, having a bit of protein will tell the body to burn more calories out of those consumed."

The findings were published in the journal Neuron.

More recently, researchers at the British Nutrition Foundation found that the type of cholesterol found in eggs has minimal effect on raising the risk of heart disease.

Previous research has also shown that it is healthy to go to work on an egg, contrary to popular perception.

The researchers concluded the type of cholesterol found in eggs has minimal effect on raising heart disease risks.

It is saturated fat, rather than the cholesterol found in eggs, that is the main dietary culprit in raising cholesterol levels, they said, adding that smoking, obesity and lack of exercise also influence blood fat and cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.

(Agencies)