Does the Egg Diet Work? Pros, Cons, and How to Start

Every time you turn around, there seems to be another popular diet that claims to either help you build muscle or lose weight. Some actually have some nutritional merit, while many others are all but worthless and perhaps even dangerous.

One such popular diet that has gained plenty of attention in recent years has been coined the “egg diet.” Many people claim that the egg diet possesses the ability to help people lose large amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time.

But what exactly is the egg diet? Does it even work? 

In this article, we are going to explore the egg diet in depth by reviewing the various pros and cons of the diet.

What Is the Egg Diet?

Simply put, the Egg Diet is a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein diet. It is designed to aid weight loss efforts without sacrificing the proteins that are essential for building muscles. This can make the egg diet especially attractive for athletes and bodybuilders.

The egg diet has actually been around for quite some time; in the 1970’s, Vogue published an “egg and wine” diet that professed to help with weight loss. 

However, the recent popularity of the egg diet can be traced back to around 2010, when an “egg-fest” diet emerged from the growing keto diet movement. The diet is meant to help people progress past the weight-loss plateaus that they may find themselves stuck in. 

How Does It Work?

Eggs sitting in basket on dinner table

The egg diet bears some similarities with other keto diets since they both require limiting the amount of carbohydrate intake. Keto diets aim to put your body into the metabolic state of ketosis, during which your body begins to use ketones as it’s the primary source of energy rather than glucose. [1]

Egg Diet Rules

Many variations to the egg diet exist since people will make their own modifications to the diet to suit their needs. However, there are a few steadfast rules that many variations share with one another.

Firstly, the vast majority of egg diets require you to start the day off by eating eggs while consuming small portions of lean protein throughout the day.

The lean proteins that are generally allowed are:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

Many diets also allow you to eat specific fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, such as:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapefruit

Any kind of starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, and bread are strictly prohibited. Sweets and any kind of food or drink that is high in sugar is off-limits. Typically, those on the egg diet will only be allowed to drink water and zero-calorie, zero-sugar beverages.

The time that each diet requires one to adhere to its dietary regimen can vary, but generally, egg diets recommended anywhere from 14 to 21 days.

Pros of the Egg Diet

Egg and spinach omelet on a plate

Now that you have a general idea of what the egg diet entails, we can go over the pros of putting yourself on an egg diet. However, keep in mind that not all of the pros listed will apply to every variation of the egg diet. 

Quick Weight Loss

One of the major claims from those that advertise the egg diet is that one can lose weight in a relatively short amount of time, although the numbers claimed can vary from reasonable to wildly absurd.

However, the idea that the egg diet can help you lose weight does seem plausible as most variations of the diet are high in protein. In 2017, a randomized clinical trial found that those who adhered to a high-protein diet were able to increase the amount of fat-free mass (FFM) in their body substantially. [2]

There is also some evidence from studies conducted with mice to suggest that Keto versions of the diet may be able to help with weight loss. In a 2018 study, mice who were fed a ketogenic diet were shown to lose more weight substantially than those that weren’t. [3]

However, more research is needed to determine which kinds of egg diets are most effective for weight loss.

Eggs Are Nutrient-Dense

Compared to other proteins that a diet could center around, eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. Eggs are a good source of:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Several B-Complex Vitamins

Eggs can also be a good source of riboflavin, choline, and selenium. Additionally, eggs are a low-calorie food as there are only about 75 calories within a single egg.

May Be Compatible With Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetics, no matter which type, need to be extremely careful with their diet. Therefore, a lot of weight-loss diets that may work for non-diabetics are not a viable option for diabetics.

However, a 2018 study found that a high egg consumption weight loss diet had no adverse cardiometabolic side effects for those with prediabetes or Type-2 diabetes when compared to a low egg consumption diet. [4

Cons of the Egg Diet

Man leaning on squat rack with barbell

While there are potential positives to the egg diet, there are a fair amount of negatives as well. As stated above, these cons may not apply to every variation of the egg diet as each has their own restrictions and allowances.

Crash Diet

A potentially major problem with the egg diet is that many variations of the diet seem to fall under what would be called a “fad diet.” Fad diets are stylish weight-loss plans that promise dramatic results, but can instead be worthless, if not dangerous.

Furthermore, fad diets have a tendency to cause one to lose weight in the short term, but then gain back that weight in the long term. [5]

Side Effects

There have been some adverse side effects that have been associated with the egg diet. These can include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Constipation
  • Lack of energy (due to not enough calories)

Another potentially harmful side effect of high-egg consumption is raised cholesterol. There are several studies that have shown that egg consumption can raise the total amount of cholesterol in the body. This said a recent study has called this claim into question. [6] [7]

Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Another downside to the egg diet could be heart problems for men. A 2015 study found evidence suggesting that men who consume greater amounts of eggs than one a day may have a substantially higher risk of heart disease. [8]

How to Start Now

Couple eating food together in workout clothes

All things considered, there may be some potential in the egg diet for those wishing to lose weight. Here are some tips on how to get started on the egg diet safely.

Consult Your Doctor or Nutritionist

Before starting any new diet, it is never a bad idea to check in with your doctor or nutritionist. The dietary needs of every person are slightly different and consulting with a health professional can help you adapt the egg diet for your specific metabolism in order for you to lose weight safely.

Avoid Extreme Egg Diets

As mentioned before, there are many variations of the egg diet to be found. While none of the egg diets are known to be nutritionally balanced, some variations are downright dangerous. One such variation only allowed you to consume eggs and water and no other foods at all. 

Following any sort of extreme egg, diet is dangerous. Make sure that with any egg diet you wish to try that you are getting the essential nutrients that your body needs to operate.

Short-Term, Not Long Term

When going on the egg diet, do not make plans to stay on that diet for longer than 2 or 3 weeks without consulting a health professional. The egg diet is not meant to be sustainable in the long term and may cause severe health issues for those who try to hold to it for long periods.

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