The Egg Diet Might Work, But You\u2019ll Likely Crack
EGGS ARE a power food for any meal of the day, especially for breakfast.
That’s largely because they’re high in protein, but also choline, a brain-aiding nutrient found in the yolk (you are eating the whole egg, right?).
Eggs are so beloved that there’s a whole diet centered around eating them in order to help you lose weight—or at least that’s what the (not-that-creatively named) The Egg Diet promises.
What, exactly, does that entail? The Egg Diet is a low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein eating plan that leads to rapid weight loss without losing muscle mass, which often happens when you drop pounds too quickly. Again, that’s the promise.
The reality: “This fad diet is based around the idea that eggs are a nutrient-dense, inexpensive, and complete protein source, but rather than eating highly processed, packaged, and artificial foods, The Egg Diet is centered around a whole-food approach,” says Ilyse Schapiro R.D.
To further complicate matters, there are also different variations of The Egg Diet. Some are egg-only diets or revolve around eating only hard-boiled eggs (!), but all types require three meals per day without any snacks.
These meals tend to include lean proteins, 1 to 2 servings of fruit per day, dark leafy greens, and non-starchy vegetables. Adequate water intake is also encouraged along with any zero-calorie beverage of your choice (think black coffee and unsweetened teas).
Like Schapiro says, The Egg Diet is a fad diet, though, so we have to wonder if it works and if it’s healthy for short- and long-term weight loss.
Let’s take a closer look.
Does The Egg Diet Work?
In terms of immediate results for weight loss, yes, The Egg Diet works. But there’s a catch (of course).
“Given that all versions of The Egg Diet result in eating fewer calories, it is likely that you will achieve short-term weight loss,” says Schapiro. Any time you eat fewer calories than your body requires, you’ll lose weight. If you’re able to maintain the strict diet long-term, you will be able to maintain the weight loss.
“However, this plan is too restrictive and regimented to be considered a well-balanced, sustainable way of eating,” Schapiro says. So, you wouldn’t want to consider this a type of eating plan as sustainable or beneficial long-term.
“The problem comes in when it comes to real-life and not wanting to feel so limited and follow such a strict diet all of the time,” adds Lyssie Lakatos, R.D.N. When you go back to eating normally, it’s likely you will gain the weight back.
“Also, if you were to continue on the diet long-term, you’d miss out on a lot of important vitamins and minerals that you need to keep you healthy,” Lakatos says.
Many versions of these egg-based diets are too low in calories to be healthy long-term, and can ultimately also slow metabolism. There are healthier and more sustainable ways to seek weight loss—a loss that you can also maintain without jeopardizing your metabolism or mental and physical health.
Is The Egg Diet Dangerous?
There’s one extreme version of an egg-based diet that may be.
It’s known as the “egg fast diet,” and is sometimes connected to ketogenic diets. Take note: the keto egg diet is only meant to last for a few days and involves eating six whole eggs per day along with sources of fat, such as butter, cheese, or oil.
“This ‘egg fast’ can induce ketosis, which is a metabolic process that occurs when your body runs out of enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, so instead, the body burns stored fat and creates ketones for a source of fuel,” says Schapiro.
This type of eating strategy is extreme—and a crash diet worth avoiding.
What is a Healthy Number of Eggs to Eat Daily?
While there is currently no consistent answer, The American Heart Association generally recommends one egg, or two egg whites, per day as part of a healthy diet. But that recommendation might be based off old science.
“Recent research has found that the dietary cholesterol in egg yolks has little effect on raising total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels,” says Schapiro.
So, you’re safe to enjoy a higher number of eggs than you may have previously thought were allowed.
Plus, the yolk is rich in nutrition. “The egg center is … high in protein, fat soluble vitamins, folate, and vitamin B12, so, it’s both delicious and nutritious,” says Schapiro.
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