Another day, another fad weight loss diet… Doesn’t it seem like there is a new trendy “must-try” diet everywhere you look? Well here’s another one… have you heard about the newest trend: the boiled egg diet?
Are eggs really the secret to weight loss? Let’s get down to the science and dive into how this diet works and whether or not following this diet is healthy or even safe.
What is the boiled egg diet?
Just as you’d probably expect from its name, the boiled egg diet is all about eating boiled eggs… but luckily there are some other foods involved. If you enjoy eggs, this may sound like the diet of your dreams… but even if you love eggs, do you really want to eat them all day, every day?
At its core, this plan is essentially just a very low calorie and low carb diet that is touted for its ability to help one lose weight quickly and efficiently.
There are a few variations of this diet, but the general outline looks like this:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs and 1 piece of fruit
- Lunch and dinner: eggs or lean protein with non-starchy vegetables
Foods that are allowed on this diet include:
- Boiled eggs
- Lean proteins (like skinless chicken or turkey and fish)
- Non-starchy vegetables (like greens, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and asparagus)
- Some fruits (like watermelon, berries, and citrus fruits)
As you can see, your food options are pretty limited when following this plan. There are a lot of nutritious foods that are left off the list like plant-based fats, vegetables, grains, and dairy. Which means that not only can this diet get boring fast, but you may be missing out on key nutrients these restricted foods can provide.
How does it work?
Simply said, this diet works for weight loss through its restrictive nature.
Since the plan is so low in carbs, much of the initial weight loss is likely to come from the loss of water stored within your body rather than from body fat. So keep in mind that looks can be a bit deceiving, and much of this weight will be regained once you stop following the diet.
It is important to note that any diet and exercise plan that puts you in a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, so there is nothing inherently special about this plan for weight loss. Nothing against eggs – I love them – but eating only eggs and a few select fruits and vegetables is not a magic bullet for weight loss. It just puts you in a calorie deficit and weight loss follows.
Is The Boiled Egg Diet Good for You?
There is often some confusion surrounding the consumption of eggs in a healthy diet. Let me set the record straight: eggs are a nutrient-dense protein source that are perfectly healthy to consume on a daily basis.
Although eggs are an egg-cellent (*wink*) addition to any well-rounded diet, this plan is restrictive and lays the framework for developing nutrient deficiencies long-term due to its inherent lack of variety.
Another crucial issue with this diet is that many fiber-rich foods like whole grains and legumes are not permitted in this diet plan. Fiber is essential for digestive health, heart health, lowering cholesterol, longevity, weight regulation, and blood sugar control. Most people already don’t consume enough fiber, so opting for a restrictive diet that limits fiber intake even further is not exactly ideal.
Is it safe?
As the focal point of the diet, eggs are a nutritious food that is safe to incorporate on a regular basis to your diet. But they shouldn’t be the only thing you eat either.
Focusing on a single food and having a restrictive list of permitted foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies over time if you’re not careful. Eating the same foods every day means that you’re consuming the same types of nutrients consistently, making it easy to miss out on other essential nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies can cause a wide variety of major health issues, so maintaining variety in the diet is one of the easiest ways to get a good balance of nutrients in daily to help prevent and manage disease.
Another big issue I want to call attention to is how restrictive this diet is. Restrictive diets can be triggering to those who have struggled with disordered eating. And even without a history of disordered eating, this kind of dietary restriction can lead to binges and more weight gain after the end of the diet plan.
My last concern about this meal plan is how easy it can be to fall short of your daily fiber goals. And you know I am a big fan of eating enough fiber! You should be consuming between 25 to 38 grams of fiber minimum, everyday. And most people get around 14 grams, so we don’t need to follow a diet that will cause us to eat even less! Fiber consumption is also especially important for people with prediabetes and diabetes because it is so critical for both blood sugar regulation and heart health. So take note of that if you are considering this diet plan to help improve blood sugar levels.
Who should follow the boiled egg diet?
Um…. let’s say no one. This isn’t a diet I can recommend. It’s just too restrictive and is not based on any science. Will you lose weight if you follow it? Probably, but that’s because you are barely eating anything. Will you stick with it and keep the weight off? Not likely. It’s too restrictive and unrealistic. And if you did follow this meal plan long term, your diet won’t be balanced enough which can increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
So, here’s my advice. Don’t follow this diet. If you are looking to improve your health and lose weight, there are much better alternatives.
Alternatives to the boiled egg diet
Yes, the boiled egg diet may lead to weight loss. But you are unlikely to keep that weight off or gain any health benefits from this plan.
Here’s the verdict: the best diet for weight loss is the one that you can be consistent with. And that means eating foods you enjoy.
Eating a wide variety of flavors and foods keeps your meals interesting and won’t lead to food “burn out.” Getting bored with food is often one of the major reasons people can’t stick to diets long term.
Eggs may be a great source of protein, but they definitely shouldn’t be your only protein source. Plus, you’ll be sick of eggs after a couple days no matter how much you love them! In addition, you don’t have to give up carbs to lose weight. If you want to reduce body fat and lose weight, focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes you can stick with. The weight may come off slower, but that’s OK. It’s not about how fast you can lose body fat, it is about improving overall health and doing so in a way that works with your lifestyle, keeps you happy, and that you know you can maintain. That’s how true health changes (and weight changes) happen.
Here are some tips to lose weight in a healthy way without unnecessary restriction:
- Consume plenty of protein, healthy fats, and complex fiber-rich carbohydrates
- Eat the rainbow every day by adding colorful fruits, vegetables, and spices to each meal
- Limit highly processed foods and added sugars
- Focus on blood sugar control, especially if you have diabetes
- Add foods that lower blood sugar to your meal plan
- Stay active throughout the day and add in types of exercise you enjoy
- Work with a dietitian (like myself) to help you reach your health goals!
The bottom line
The boiled egg diet is just another method for restricting caloric intake, making it an effective tool for quick weight loss.
On the flip side, it is extremely restrictive, unsustainable, and is definitely not a diet that I would recommend anyone to follow, especially long-term.
In addition, since it can provide quick weight loss, that also comes with a high likelihood of quick weight gain once you inevitably stop following the diet.
There are much more sustainable and healthier ways to eat to help with weight loss, if that is something you care about. And let’s be honest, do you really want to eat hard boiled eggs for each meal every day? I sure don’t! Let’s ditch the restriction and say NO to the boiled egg diet.
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