Do you have a fondness for eggs? Is your affinity for eggs genuine? If so, the boiled-egg diet might catch your interest, especially if you seek rapid weight loss. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this trendy diet doesn’t bring about lasting health improvements. Interested in learning more? Continue reading to grasp the mechanics of this diet, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to adopt it safely.
What Is the Boiled-Egg Diet?
The boiled-egg diet is a dietary regimen that places a strong emphasis on eggs, specifically hard-boiled eggs. It entails consuming a minimum of two or three eggs each day, and there’s no requirement to include them in every meal. But why might someone opt for this dietary approach?
It has garnered some degree of celebrity endorsement. For instance, reports suggest that Nicole Kidman relied on a diet primarily consisting of hard-boiled eggs while preparing for her role in ‘Cold Mountain,’ as detailed in Vogue Italia. Additionally, Charles Saatchi, the former spouse of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and the founder of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, has reportedly adhered to the boiled-egg diet, as indicated in publications like the Daily Mail.
How Does the Boiled-Egg Diet Work?
There exist multiple variations of the boiled-egg diet, as detailed in Arielle Chandler’s e-book ‘The Boiled Egg Diet: The Easy, Fast Way to Weight Loss!’ Below, we’ll explore various options, but at its core, the basic version bears resemblance to the low-carb Atkins diet. According to Chandler, this basic version entails the consumption of:
Lunch Eggs or lean protein and low-carb vegetables
Dinner Eggs or lean protein and low-carb vegetables
Breakfast At least two eggs and one piece of fruit (low-carb vegetable or protein optional)
Is the Boiled-Egg Diet Safe for You?
In essence, this diet leans towards being health-conscious, yet it lacks the balance and variety characteristic of a well-rounded, healthy diet. The boiled-egg diet is highly restrictive, severely low in calories, and subject to fad dieting trends. According to Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, an author based in New York City who penned ‘Finally Full, Finally Slim,‘ she asserts, ‘I don’t believe in adhering to diets that demand an unhealthy fixation on a single food.’
The core component of this diet, which is eggs, is indeed a nutritious food option, but it shouldn’t serve as your exclusive or primary source of nutrition. According to the American Heart Association, incorporating one egg (or two egg whites) into your daily diet can be a part of a balanced and healthy eating plan. Dr. Young emphasizes, ‘Eggs are a nutritious choice for breakfast, and a hard-boiled egg can be a wholesome snack. However, I believe that a healthier approach to eating involves incorporating a variety of foods into your diet.
The appealing aspect of eggs lies in their high protein content. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a single large boiled egg provides 71 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fiber. Amy Shapiro, RD, CDN, the founder and director of Real Nutrition in New York City, notes that ‘Eggs are a complete protein source and contain essential nutrients like vitamin D and choline.’ (A complete protein is one that contains all the necessary amino acids, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA].) Choline is a nutrient that contributes to the production of neurotransmitters involved in memory and mood regulation, among other functions, as explained by the National Institutes of Health.
Although certain previous research has associated high-protein breakfasts containing eggs with assisting individuals in losing weight, Shapiro emphasizes that ‘there’s nothing inherently magical about eggs for weight loss.’
What are the Side Effects of Eating Mostly Boiled Eggs?
The boiled-egg diet is exceedingly low in calories and imposes restrictions on various high-fiber foods, such as whole grains and legumes. Consequently, it’s crucial to exercise caution, as you might fall short of your recommended daily fiber intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, men under the age of 50 should aim for a minimum of 38 grams of fiber, while women should strive for at least 25 grams. A lack of adequate fiber in your diet can lead to the development of constipation. This risk is notably elevated if you solely consume eggs since they contain zero grams of fiber.
Is It Safe to Follow the Boiled-Egg Diet?
If you decide to follow the boiled-egg diet for a brief period, and you’re generally in good health, it’s unlikely to pose any significant issues. Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian, describes it as a ‘red-carpet diet,’ suitable for those seeking rapid results and who are willing to endure short-term restrictions. She also notes that this diet draws inspiration from the 1960s, an era when ‘self-restraint was considered ladylike and modest.’ However, it’s essential to acknowledge that adopting such a restrictive mindset isn’t conducive to overall well-being.
Moreover, there’s ongoing debate surrounding the health implications of consuming eggs due to their dietary cholesterol content. Each egg contains approximately 184 milligrams of cholesterol, according to the USDA. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2019 found that an additional 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol daily was associated with a 17 to 18 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. However, another study from the American Journal of Nutrition in May 2018 indicated that cholesterol may pose fewer risks in adults with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This study reported that individuals following a ‘high-egg diet’ for three months did not exhibit changes in blood lipid levels or markers of inflammation, suggesting no adverse impact on cardiovascular health. In this study, a high-egg diet involved consuming 12 or more eggs weekly, while a low-egg diet entailed consuming fewer than 2 eggs per week.
Despite lingering concerns about dietary cholesterol, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines removed specific cholesterol limits. However, they emphasized that ‘this change does not imply that dietary cholesterol is no longer relevant when creating healthy eating patterns’ and recommended minimizing dietary cholesterol intake.
Eggs are also scrutinized for their saturated fat content, with each large egg containing 1.5 grams of saturated fat. For optimal heart health, the guidelines advise keeping daily saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total daily calories.