The egg diet is a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It is also low in calories.
As the name implies, eggs are a big part of this diet, and they are also one of its main sources of protein. In some versions of the diet, eggs are the only food eaten.
In this article, we look at whether this fad diet has any merits and whether it is healthful and safe to try.
There are several different versions of the egg diet. In each one, eggs are the main source of protein.
Starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, rice, and bread are not allowed. Sweets and foods high in sugar are also eliminated from the diet.
Water and zero calorie beverages are permitted in all versions of the egg diet.
The exact amount of calories and servings recommended in the egg diet vary depending on a person's sex, height, and activity level.
Eggs that are boiled, poached, or scrambled are permitted, but they should be prepared without butter or oil.
The main versions of the egg diet include:
Traditional egg diet
In the traditional egg diet, protein from other sources is allowed. The traditional egg diet is the most popular version and is similar to other diets with high protein and low carbohydrates.
Lean protein and low carbohydrate vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, are allowed. Fruits are usually limited to 1 or 2 servings a day.
Carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread, and rice, are off limits.
An example of a meal plan could include:
- Breakfast: Two eggs and a low-carb vegetable.
- Lunch: Lean protein with a green salad.
- Dinner: Eggs or lean protein and low-carb vegetables.
Egg and grapefruit diet
On this meal plan, a person follows the same low carbohydrate, high protein guidelines as above. They also eat half a grapefruit with each meal.
An example of a meal plan could include:
- Breakfast: Two eggs and half a grapefruit.
- Lunch: One serving of lean protein with spinach and half a grapefruit.
- Dinner: One serving of lean protein, such as fish or eggs, with half a grapefruit.
Extreme egg diet
This version of the egg diet only allows for eggs and water at every meal. It is very strict and probably difficult for most people to stick with for any length of time.
Eating one type of food is not a safe way to lose weight. The extreme egg diet is not recommended and may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
All versions of the egg diet result in eating fewer calories, so maybe effective for losing weight in the short-term. The diet is high in protein, which has been shown to help with weight loss.
In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, research indicated that a high protein diet helped participants feel full and lose weight.
Although eggs do contain essential nutrients and weight loss may occur, an egg diet may not be the best approach for losing weight and keeping it off.
Even if a person does lose weight, they are unlikely to maintain such a strict diet long-term, so they may easily regain what they have lost.
Also, the diet may leave some people fatigued and sluggish throughout the day because of its carbohydrate restrictions.
Eggs can be a healthy protein source when eaten in moderation, but they are also high in cholesterol.
Some research has indicated that eating eggs in high quantities may increase the risk of certain medical conditions.
One study found that eating more than six eggs a week increased the risk of heart failure by 30 percent in men, although not for women.
The same study also reported that both women and men who ate six eggs or less per week did not have an increased risk of a heart attack, hemorrhagic stroke, or heart failure. A hemorrhagic stroke involves ruptured blood vessels in the brain.
The safety of the egg diet also depends on the version that is followed. Eating only eggs at every meal is not a well-balanced diet and is unsafe, as it can result in nutritional deficiencies.
Also, eggs do not contain any fiber. Eating only eggs may disrupt proper digestive function and lead to constipation.
The egg diet may be just another fad diet. Although eggs can be a healthful source of protein, they should not be the only food a person eats.
While people may lose weight initially, the egg diet is neither a well-balanced diet nor a safe weight loss plan in the long-term.
Although the traditional egg diet allows other sources of lean protein and vegetables, it is also restrictive and may lead to unwanted side effects.
For most people, it may be hard to stick with the egg diet. Once most people go back to their old eating habits, they may regain the weight they have lost.
The bottom-line is there are better ways to lose weight than the egg diet. Making sustainable changes, such as cutting out processed foods, reducing meat and dairy intake, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, can help a person maintain a healthy weight over time.