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What Is the Egg Diet? How It Works, Diet Plan, Safety – Prevention Magazine

May 4th, 2023

From keto to GOLO, popular diet trends are nothing new, and one of the latest quick-fix weight loss fads that is making the rounds is the egg diet. While there are a few interpretations of this protein-rich, low-calorie eating pattern, the basic concept is the sameconsuming more eggs will help shed more fat. Heres the skinny on this short-term program with insights from registered dietitians.

In short, the egg diet is a plan where eggs are mixed into at least one meal per day. It is touted as a weight loss plan because its low in carbohydrates and high in protein and designed to help you shed pounds while preserving muscle mass, says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D, R.D.N., adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.

There are a variety of versions where each plan focuses on three meals a day, no snacks and zero sugary beverages, she adds. And while there isnt an official egg diet program, the most common egg diet is the 14-day egg diet (which is sometimes referred to as the boiled egg diet). Otherand stricterplans include the egg and grapefruit diet, the egg fast diet and the egg-only diet.

Keep in mind there are a limited number of books written on this weight loss strategy (weve tracked down three), yet two of the books claim that a total of 25 pounds can be lost after following the diet for two weeks.

Here is a sample week on the egg diet taken from the book Boiled Egg Diet by Joseph Lavin:

Day 11 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfastChicken and a salad for lunchSalad, 2 boiled eggs, and 1 orange for dinner

Day 21 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfast1 fruit and 2 slices of bread for lunchChicken and salad for dinner

Day 31 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfastChicken and salad for lunchSalad, orange, and 2 boiled eggs for dinner

Day 41 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfastSteamed vegetables, cheese and 2 boiled eggs for lunchSteamed chicken and salad for dinner

Day 51 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfastTuna salad for lunchSalad and 2 boiled eggs for dinner

Day 61 fruit and 2 boiled eggs for breakfastTuna salad for lunchA lean protein and salad for dinner

Day 72 boiled eggs for breakfastVeggies and steamed chicken for lunchA lean protein and a salad for dinner

Well, for starters, eggs, eggs and more eggs! Then, depending on the specific plan, lean proteins (such as chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin, sirloin and fish, including tuna, cod and salmon) are permitted. Leafy green vegetables (like kale, spinach and arugula) and other non-starchy veggies (mushrooms, peppers, broccoli and zucchini, for example) are allowed, along with fruits that are low in natural sugar, such as berries, grapefruit, oranges and lemons.

On the 14-day egg diet/boiled egg diet and the egg-only diet, only hard-boiled eggs are acceptable. Eggs can be boiled, scrambled, poached and fried on the egg and grapefruit diet, as well as on the egg fast diet.

In most versions of the egg diet, dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), grains (bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal), foods and drinks with added sugar (juice, soda, alcohol, desserts), highly processed meats (sausage, pepperoni, bacon, hot dogs) and starchy veggies (corn, peas, potatoes, legumes) are off-limits. Fruits that contain higher amounts of natural sugar, such as mangoes, grapes, cherries and bananas, are also banned.

However, dairy foods are a staple in the egg fast diet, which is a short-term (between three and five days) form of the keto diet designed to jumpstart a sluggish metabolism.

Also, all fruits except for grapefruit are forbidden on the egg and grapefruit diet.

In general, eggs are a nutrient-dense, versatile food that promotes satiety, states Young. Eggs are rich in protein, vitamin D, lutein, choline, and vitamin E, along with the fact that they contain all nine essential amino acids [which makes this animal-based food a complete protein].

Robin Foroutan, M.S., R.D.N., an integrative dietitian and faculty member of the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy, explains that most versions of the egg diet emphasize meals that combine low-calorie, high-quality proteins with non-starchy vegetables and low-glycemic fruit. Eggs provide protein and healthy fat to anchor blood sugar, and adding fiber-rich veggies and fruit offers a blood sugar balancing, high-fiber, high-antioxidant meal, she continues. If youre looking to lose weight, eating in this way can certainly be helpful.

Even though the great egg debate continues, a 2022 study published in the peer-reviewed journal eLife suggests that moderate egg consumption (defined as one egg each day) may help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The reason: Volunteers showed higher levels of a protein in their blood called apolipoprotein A1a building block of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), a.k.a. the good cholesterol.

Even though the four versions of the egg diet14-day egg diet/boiled egg diet, the egg and grapefruit diet, the egg fast diet and the egg-only dietare designed to be followed on a temporary basis (three to five days for the egg fast diet, two weeks for the others), restrictive plans, especially ones that eliminate entire food groups, tend to lack valuable nutrients.

For example, all of the egg diets are low-carb, which is not a good fit for everyone, states Foroutan. In fact, a systematic review of 10 studies published in the journal Obesity Reviews discovered that carbohydrate-restricted diets were associated with significantly decreased amounts of thiamine, folate, magnesium, calcium, iron and iodine. Plus, an eating plan that is low in carbs may leave you feeling hungry over time, adds Young.

Furthermore, consuming the same, limited number of foods on a daily basis could lead to more than vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In general, a healthy eating pattern includes variety, so very restrictive versions of the egg dietlike the egg-only diet and the keto egg fastare red flags, says Foroutan.

She explains that the egg fast diet emphasizes eating only eggs, cheese, butter, and diet soda. There are much more balanced ways of getting into and staying in ketosis, if thats your strategy. The egg and grapefruit diet eliminates all antioxidant-rich, non-citrus fruits, while the egg-only diet is the most extreme version since only one food is consumed (also known as a mono diet). Along with being concerning, Foroutan adds that these ultra-restrictive egg diets can result in egg fatigue.

Someone may lose weight from eating less food overall, but under eating over time can slow metabolism, stress the body and make it harder to keep the weight off.

Lastly, theres the cholesterol factor, which Young states could be an issue for anyone whos been diagnosed with heart disease or high cholesterol.

While the egg diet may be helpful in achieving weight loss goals in the short run, Foroutan emphasizes that this diet fad is not sustainable for most people. Its also important to point out that incorporating starchy vegetables and whole grains into a meal plan are key to keeping gut microbiome [the trillions of microorganisms that play a vital role in digestion] balanced, she adds.

Young suggests skipping this trend entirely. I dont recommend any fill-in-the-blank diet, she states. This leads to a diet mentality where your weight is often dependent on eating (or not eating) a certain food. There is nothing magical in eggsor any other food for that matterthat requires you to eat it in order to lose weight.

Amy Capetta has been writing health and lifestyle articles for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Weight Watchers, Womans Day and Prevention, as well as on AOL,, and Yahoo Health. When shes not on deadline or speaking with a nutritionist, doctor or wellness guru, shes more than likely tweeting, power walking or creating a fruit and veggie smoothie.

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What Is the Egg Diet? How It Works, Diet Plan, Safety - Prevention Magazine

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