Boiled Egg Diet
Almost everyone is either trying to slim down or leads a nutrition-conscious lifestyle to keep their health in peak condition. There are so many diets that monitoring them is a task in and of itself. There are more common diets like the vegan diet, the keto diet, the Atkins diet and so on. One of the less-talked examples is the boiled egg diet. There has been a lot of hype around it. When it comes to weight loss and muscle growth, people claim it ‘does the trick’. But what do the experts have to say about it? Is the boiled egg diet healthy? Is it a sustainable long-term weight loss solution? Read on to find out.
What Is The Boiled Egg Diet?
This is a diet the main component of which is eggs. This diet mostly encourages people to eat hard boiled eggs but the other variations of cooked eggs are also allowed. It is a low-carb, low-calorie, high-protein diet. A person on this diet is supposed to take a minimum of two to three eggs in a day. This diet involves three meals with no snacks. People on this meal plan are advised to drink a lot of water in between the three meals (3). Sweet beverages and high calorie carbs are not allowed. Apart from boiled eggs, lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and low carb fruits are allowed during the diet.
Variations Of The Boiled Egg Diet
This meal plan has many variations and this is expected as people are always trying to modify a diet to meet their needs. Some variations of this diet are very extreme while others are quite manageable. Here are the common variations of this diet.
14 Day Egg Diet
Also known as the traditional egg diet (7). It is the most common of the different variations of this meal plan. This variation does not only emphasize on eating eggs but it involves getting the majority of your protein from eggs. You are supposed to consume three meals every day if you are on this diet. This means no snacks or sweet drinks with lots of calories. One of the meals needs to be with eggs, most preferably breakfast. The rest of the meals can contain lean protein sources like fish and chicken.
In addition to the proteins, one can add low carb vegetables. A good example would be broccoli or spinach. It is advised to eat boiled eggs since they have very low calories and that is the whole idea behind this diet. Just from the name, you can tell this is not a long-term diet and it is supposed to last for a short period of time like two weeks.
Egg And Grapefruit Diet
This is very much similar to the traditional egg diet. The only difference is the introduction of the grapefruit in this diet (15). If you choose this variation, you are supposed to eat half a grapefruit with every meal you take; be it an egg meal or a lean protein meal. Other fruits are not allowed in this diet.
Read More: 7 Day Grapefruit Diet For Weight Loss: Benefits, Cons, And A Sample Meal Plan
This is one of those extreme versions of the boiled egg diet – a mono diet to be exact. A mono diet or a monotropic diet is a type of a fad diet that involves only eating one food item or one type of food. Mono diets are not recommended. This is because one food item cannot be able to provide one with the needed nutrients. Mono diets are quite unhealthy.
People practicing this variation eat only hard boiled eggs and water for a period of fourteen days (15). Even though eggs are said to be superfoods due to their nutritional value, this is still not recommended even if it will promise to make you lose 20 pounds in a month. Restrictive diets like this one can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other serious health consequences.
“Medical” Egg Diet
You are required to eat one egg and one slice of bread for the three meals of the day (15). You are also allowed to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you would wish. Drinks like water, black coffee, green tea, and other zero-calorie drinks are also allowed on the diet. You can also cook your eggs in any way you want as long as your method of cooking does not add calories. This means using things like butter to cook is out of the question. It gets its name from the belief that people are usually put on this diet to reduce their weight before undergoing a surgery. There is, however, no evidence to support this claim.
Ketogenic Egg Diet
Keto diets are low-carb high-fat diets. Their aim is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates until you force your body into a state of ketosis. This is where your body stops using carbs as a source of energy. Instead of using carbs, your body breaks down fats in the liver to produce energy sources referred to as ketones.
In this variation, one is required to eat the eggs with butter and cheese in order to induce ketosis (15). Most people usually use the ratio of one egg to one tablespoon of either butter or cheese.
Those are just some of the variations of the boiled egg diet. Some are quite extreme. Before you jump into any of them or any new diet, it is advisable to first consult an expert as the diet might not be best for you.
With that said, what are the benefits and shortcomings of the boiled egg diet?
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Benefits Of The Boiled Egg Diet
Just like any other diet, the boiled egg diet has a number of benefits. These benefits are the reason this diet keeps shooting up in popularity. Here are some of the advantages.
Eggs Are A Good Source Of Protein
The diet is a low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein diet. Its main food is eggs, as most of us know, eggs are very rich in protein. One boiled egg contains 71 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams fiber (11). You also need to remember that when you are on this diet, you will not be eating only one egg. There are days you will find yourself eating up to six eggs especially if you are on an egg only diet. Apart from eggs, some versions of this diet also incorporate other lean proteins like fish and chicken. These lean proteins are also a good source of protein.
Proteins are important to your body. They help build muscle mass and strength (2). They are good for your bones. Proteins help the body repair itself. They boost one’s metabolism and increase fat burning. Those and many other reasons make protein very important in your diet.
It Is A Good Source Of Mineral Salts And Vitamins
We all know mineral salts and vitamins are important for our bodies. This diet ensures you get essential minerals and vitamins. Eggs contain vitamins D, A, B6 and B12. They also contain minerals like iron and choline. Choline is a nutrient that helps produce neurotransmitters that regulate memory and mood as well as helping with other brain functions.
Limits Unhealthy Foods
This diet is very restricting. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The advantage is that this diet helps you keep away from processed food, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. It also restricts you from eating unhealthy snacks and fast foods (12).
Other advantages of this diet is that the nutrients in eggs and other healthy foods allowed on the diet may help boost immunity and enhance skin quality. Avoiding processed foods may lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. These are some of the reasons this diet is becoming more and more popular.
Read More: Take Up This 7-Day No Junk Food Challenge
Shortcomings Of The Boiled Egg Diet
This diet has a number of shortcomings. These are:
The Diet Is Very Restrictive
Although this can be a good thing as mentioned earlier, it can also have a deleterious effect on your health. The fact that it advocates for only certain types of foods, it means one cannot eat other foods that your body might need. The fact that it is restrictive makes it very hard to follow over a long period of time. Imagine eating eggs every day for three months? Would you be able to do it? This is why this diet should only be taken for a short period of time only.
Lacks Needed Nutrients
This is an add-on to its restrictive nature. Since it advocates for only certain foods, it increases the likelihood of missing out on important nutrients that your body needs. A good example is whole grains. Whole grains are not allowed in the diet yet they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fiber helps with digestion and prevents constipation (9). This increases the chances of constipation if you are following this diet. Another example is vegetables with starch like potatoes are also not allowed. Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
The diet goes for low-carb foods and low-calorie foods. This makes it difficult for it to provide the required energy to most people. People new to this diet might experience lack of energy and fatigue. This is why it is always advisable to consult an expert before trying a new diet as they will tell you if the diet is a good fit for you and prevent such things from happening.
Eggs Are Rich In Cholesterol
There have been a lot of claims when it comes to the cholesterol in eggs and if it can be harmful to one’s body. A lot of studies have been done on the matter. An egg has 184 milligrams of cholesterol (11). With that in mind, what do these numerous studies say about it?
A study that was published in March of 2019 showed that each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol consumed in a given day is associated with a 18% increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (11). Since an egg has 184 milligrams of cholesterol then one should only consume one and a half an egg at most. The hard boiled egg diet advocates for more than this.
Another study was done. It had 28024 individuals participating in it. This study had different results from the first study. It showed that there were no significant differences in all-cause mortality between including 7 or more eggs per week or less than 1 egg per week (8).
Another study in 2019, that involved men of ages 42-60 years found that egg consumption is not linked to the risk of stroke (8).
Still on this, a study showed that eating seven eggs and above weekly increased the risk of heart failure by 30% (10). This was only observed in men and not women. Eating less than seven eggs in a week was, however, not associated with an increase in the risk of a heart attack, hemorrhagic stroke or heart failure in both genders.
Another study was done in the year 2018 to see how eating a dozen eggs and more in a week would affect people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This was compared to eating a maximum of two eggs in a week. The individuals followed a weight loss diet for the first 90 days and then continued to eat a dozen or more eggs for another 270 days (9 months). The results showed that there was no impact of eating these many eggs when it came to cardiovascular risk factors (8).
This shows there is still a divide when it comes to the cholesterol in eggs. To be on the safer side, it is better to eat less eggs especially if you have a high risk of getting any heart conditions.
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Boiled Egg Diet And Weight Loss
The boiled egg diet is known to cause weight loss which is something most people want. This diet helps in weight loss in a number of ways.
The egg diet advocates for low-calorie ingredients, non-starchy vegetables, and low-carb fruits. Eggs themselves contain 78 calories which are also very few calories. This helps lead to calorie deficit. This is to say you will consume less calories than you will burn in a day. A calorie deficit diet is always important in promoting weight loss.
A study was done on a low carb diet just like this diet. It followed 164 people. The people had a body mass index of 25 and more. The study took 20 weeks and showed that people who follow low-carb diets have an increase in their metabolism. In addition to this, there was also a decrease in the level of ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone associated with hunger (5).
High-Protein Diets And Weight Loss
High-protein diets also promote weight loss. This diet, as mentioned earlier, is really high in protein. In 2015, a study was done on the benefits of a high-protein diet. The results showed that high-protein diets may help prevent metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes as well as other cardiovascular conditions (8).
Proteins are also known to make a person fuller for longer. This in turn reduces your frequency of eating, resulting in you consuming less calories in a day and of course it translates to weight loss. Eating eggs for breakfast is also known to induce satiety in people. A study on 30 women aged 25- 60 with a BMI of 25 and above was done. The women were to eat eggs for breakfast. It was observed that during the lunch period, the participants were still full and this led to them consuming less (2).
Proteins are also known to help build muscles (4). Muscles are thermogenic and they help boost metabolism and this in turn helps burn even more calories compared to fat mass. Proteins also require extra calories to digest and process. This makes them use up even more calories. Fats and carbohydrates also boost metabolism but not as much as proteins do.
A study done in 2014 shows: (6)
- Proteins increase a person’s metabolic rate by 15–30 percent.
- Carbohydrates increase the metabolic rate by 5–10 percent.
- Fats increase the metabolic rate by as much as 3 percent.
How Many Eggs Are You Supposed To Eat In A Day?
The number of eggs one should eat differs. Most people look at the cholesterol composition of eggs when deciding how many eggs they should consume. As mentioned earlier, an egg contains 184 milligrams of cholesterol and anything above daily intake of 300 milligrams would increase your risk of certain heart conditions. Some experts hence advise people to stick to one egg a day. An exception comes if you are healthy and not at risk of getting a heart condition. If this is the case, you may be able to eat up to 3 eggs in a day (14).
The Bottom Line
The hard boiled diet has a number of advantages and shortcomings as shown above. It is also highly effective when it comes to weight loss. One thing to note is that it is easy to regain the weight you lost with this diet. This is because this diet is not sustainable for a long period of time (13). It advisable to eat healthy while cutting your calories and exercise.