Search “boiled egg diet” and you might be shocked to learn that, yes, there is a weight-loss trend that circles around eating hard-boiled eggs. Naturally, you probably have *a lot* of questions, so we’ll clear it up for ya.
To start, the boiled egg diet, which is based on a 2018 book by Arielle Chandler, doesn’t involve eating only eggs (whew!). In the book, the author claims eating at least two or three hard-boiled eggs per day can help you lose up to 11kg in two weeks, says Allie Echeverria, a registered dietitian and founder of Eaton Broshar Nutrition.
But are boiled eggs really the food to unlock weight-loss success? Spoiler: Probably not. There’s a lot to unpack here, so we chatted with registered dietitians about the boiled egg diet, the potential risks and if it actually helps you lose weight.
What is the boiled egg diet?
Yes, there are boiled eggs involved. “Although there are some varieties of this plan, it typically involves eating two eggs with fruit at breakfast and eggs or another lean protein at lunch and dinner, along with only non-starchy vegetables,” explains New York City-based dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade.
Meet The Experts:
Allie Echeverria is a registered dietitian and founder of Eaton Broshar Nutrition.
Erin Palinski-Wade is a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Keri Gans is a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Though it may sound relatively healthy, the boiled egg diet is a fad diet. “This is a version of a low-calorie, low-carb diet that will promote weight loss but will not be sustainable long-term and does not provide your body with balanced nutrition,” she says. You may lose weight temporarily, but the results won’t necessarily last.
How do you follow the boiled egg diet plan?
“There are different versions of the diet, but the most common consists of three meals per day and no snacks or desserts,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Throughout the day you need to make sure you’re eating three eggs, or two eggs at the very minimum. You’re also free to consume lean proteins, non-starchy veggies, specific fruits and a little bit of fat, Gans notes. Some samples of “allowed” foods, according to Gans, are the following:
- Skinless chicken
- Skinless turkey
- Skinless duck
- Pork tenderloin
- Pork sirloin
- Bell peppers
Small Amounts Of Fat
- Coconut oil
What foods must you avoid on the boiled egg diet?
There’s also a list of foods that you are not supposed to eat while following this plan. The following foods are considered off-limits, according to Palinski-Wade and Gans:
- Grains such as bread, pasta, quinoa, couscous and barley
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream
- Processed foods such as chips, pretzels, cookies and bacon
- Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, soybeans and beans
- Dried fruit
- Sweetened beverages such as soda, juice, sweet tea and sports drinks
So, if you’re aiming for a balanced diet that includes grains, dairy, various fruits and fats (which is totally understandable), it’s important for you to note these limitations before diving into a hard-boiled egg-focused plan.
Is the boiled egg diet healthy?
Not quite. “The recommended foods on the diet do have health benefits, but because there are also so many other foods to avoid, the diet is considered highly restrictive,” Gans explains.
You should also know there are long-term concerns. “This is a restrictive, unbalanced way to eat that could result in nutritional deficiencies long-term and is not sustainable,” Palinski-Wade reiterates.
Instead, Echeverria recommends opting for a balanced diet and eating protein, fibre and fat at every meal to keep you full and satisfied. From there, you can work with a physician or registered dietitian to tailor your unique eating plan based on your specific needs, she explains.
If weight loss is your goal, it’s always best to chat with a healthcare provider before trying any type of restrictive meal plan, including the boiled egg diet.
Will the hard-boiled egg diet help you lose weight?
Yes, you’ll probably lose weight on this diet, Palinski-Wade explains, since it’s low in calories and carbs. “The initial weight loss will include water losses, resulting in ‘exciting’ results, but not much actual loss of body fat.”
To break this down further, each gram of carbohydrate stored in the body as glycogen stores two to three grams of water, says Echeverria. “When we reduce the amount of carbohydrates we are eating, we release water as urine and this results in losing water weight, but not losing body fat,” she says. In other words, even if you *could* lose 11kg in a short time frame, a lot of that weight loss could probably be attributed to losing water weight and you will most likely gain that back as soon as you reintroduce carbohydrates to your diet, Echeverria explains.
Over time, the calorie deficit may lead to losses in body fat, but the chances of maintaining these results are low based on how restrictive it is, adds Palinski-Wade.
What are the potential dangers of this diet?
It’s true that eggs are a versatile, nutrient-rich food, packed with vitamins and minerals and “are a great addition to any eating plan,” Gans says. “But one should never simply focus on one food or nutrient in order to lose weight.” So if you’re going to try out the boiled egg diet, be sure to diversify your protein sources and eat a variety of foods so that you’re not getting all your nutrients from the same meals each day.
Plus, because this diet is extremely low in calories, consistently under-eating can slow down your metabolism, says Echeverria. A calorie deficit may be beneficial for weight loss, but when you drastically lower your calorie intake, your body essentially senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate it burns calories, according to Rush University Medical Center.
Another reason why results are hard to maintain? “Because the diet is highly restrictive, you’re not actually learning anything about how to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet for long-term success, but rather how to deprive yourself of eating foods you may enjoy,” Gans says. If you have a history of disordered eating or feel that you might be susceptible to an eating disorder, reconsider the boiled egg diet, Palinski-Wade says.
Most likely, you’ll end up regaining weight you lose and possibly more, since you may wind up overeating following such a restrictive plan, Palinski-Wade says. Proceed with caution and always talk to a doctor or registered dietitian to discuss the best plan for you.