The egg diet is a low carb, high protein plan that promises rapid weight loss without cutting into muscle mass. Unfortunately, like most diet fads, this plan is shady AF. For starters, it serves up side effects like fatigue, gas attacks, and irritability. Let’s get crackin’ on the deets.

Why it’s not a good idea

One review of studies showed that rapid weight loss isn’t healthy or sustainable. According to the National Health Service, the general rule is that you shouldn’t drop more than 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week can lead to disordered eating. Plus, rapid weight loss will likely lead to rebound weight.

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TBH, we don’t know. There are many different versions of egg diets and egg fasts. Egg diets originally popped up in a 1970s edition of Vogue. They could’ve (should’ve?) died in your mom’s stack of old magazines. But a few rogue keto fans revived them because of the low carb, high fat feels.

Some people may do egg-only fasts when all they eat are eggs. But most egg diets circulating the web contain other foods like fruit and vegetables or low carb foods like cheese. The more extreme fasts like the keto egg fast are typically only followed for a few days.

That said, there is a method to the egg diet’s madness. Eggs are a veritable superfood. Plus, they’re affordable and hella versatile. But mono diets — meal plans built around a single food — are as sketchy as they are simple.

Egg stats

One large egg serves up:

  • healthy fats
  • 6 grams of protein
  • vitamins A, B12, and D
  • choline (brain food!), selenium, and riboflavin
  • antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin (good for your 👀)

According to the American Egg Board, each egg has about 70 calories and less than a gram of carbohydrates.

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First things first: You can’t live on eggs alone. Your body has needs!

But if you want to know what the creators of this diet had in mind, here are the most common variations.

14-day egg plan

This diet is based on a book written by Arielle Chandler. Basically, you get three meals a day, and one of them must include eggs. You build your other meals with a lean protein + non-starchy veggies.

Citrus fruit is allowed on occasion, but only at mealtime. No snacks or sweetened drinks allowed! Stick to water, black coffee, or other no-calorie drinks.

Breakfast includes:

  • at least 2 eggs
  • 1 serving of non-starchy veggies
  • 1 serving of low carb fruit (e.g., blackberries, cantaloupe, or grapefruit)

Lunch and dinner include:

  • either eggs or another lean protein like chicken or fish
  • a side of vegetables

The 14-day egg diet is so boring. Even though this diet isn’t as extreme as other fast-type diets, it’s still not a healthy way to boost weight loss. It cuts out many healthy foods and is unnecessarily restrictive.

14-day plan + grapefruits!

One twist on the 14-day egg diet includes half a grapefruit at each meal. Any other fruit is a no-go.

Keto egg diet

Keto = a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb lifestyle. The idea is that when your body doesn’t get enough glucose (blood sugar) from carbs, it burns stored fat instead.

In the keto version of the egg diet, you should cook your eggs with butter or cheese. Most fans recommend a tablespoon of fat with each egg. This diet is only meant to be followed for a few days.

Some of the egg diets are OK-ish for a few days. Others are downright unhealthy. Other than an overabundance of eggs, most egg diets include some vegetables and other lean proteins.

Here’s a handy chart for the visual learners:

The Egg Diet Do’s and Don’ts
Do eat:Don’t eat:
eggs (duh)sugar
lean meats like fish, chicken, and turkey fried foods (byyye, fries!)
leafy greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chardrefined carbs like bread or pasta
fruits — berries, grapefruit, melon, etc.desserts of any kind
non-starchy veggies like peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoesstarchy veggies like potatoes, corn, and squash
unsweetened liquids — H2O, black coffee, tea, and other no-cal drinksalcohol

Hmm, can we get a sample menu?

Sure! Here’s a crack at 5 days on the keto egg diet.

Egg diet day 1

Breakfast: Use 2–3 eggs to fry up a cheese omelet in 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Serve with black coffee or tea.

Morning snack: 1 stick of string cheese.

Lunch: 2 or 3 deviled eggs.

Afternoon snack: 2 ounces of any cheese.

Dinner: Egg “crepe” made with just eggs and butter or oil. It’s basically a fancier plain omelet.

Egg diet day 2

Breakfast: Cream cheese “pancakes.” Blend 2–3 eggs with 2–3 tablespoons of cream cheese. Cook it on a pan greased with 3 tablespoons of butter. Serve with black coffee or tea.

Morning snack: 1 ounce of cheese, aka 2 little cubes.

Lunch: Egg salad made with 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of mayo.

Afternoon snack: 1 ounce of cheese.

Dinner: Crustless quiche.

Egg diet day 3

Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked in 2 tablespoons of butter + black coffee or tea.

Morning snack: 2 sticks of string cheese.

Lunch: Leftovers from yesterday’s quiche dinner.

Afternoon snack: 1 ounce of cheese.

Dinner: 2 or 3 deviled eggs.

Egg diet day 4

Breakfast: Use 2–3 eggs to fry up a cheese omelet in 2 tablespoons of butter + black coffee or tea.

Morning snack: 1 ounce of cheese.

Lunch: 2 hard-boiled eggs.

Afternoon snack: 2 sticks of string cheese.

Dinner: Egg “waffles” (2–3 eggs cooked in a waffle maker greased with butter).

Egg diet day 5

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs + black coffee or tea.

Morning snack: 1 stick of string cheese.

Lunch: Egg salad made with 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of mayo.

Afternoon snack: 1 ounce of cheese.

Dinner: More crustless cheese quiche!

Let’s not throw the 🥚 babies out with the bathwater, y’all. Here are some healthy ways to work in more egg noshing.

  • Hit up your farmers’ market! You can buy affordable organic eggs from local farmers. Why not boost your nutrition game and shop local at the same time?
  • Get creative. Eggs don’t need to be boring. Mash up egg yolks with different condiments or herbs to spice up your egg salads or deviled eggs. Try your hand at poaching, frying, and scrambling. Pack your omelets with pungent cheeses or unusual veggie combos.
  • Make hard-boiled eggs in advance. Rather than cooking up an egg each morning, refrigerate a half-dozen hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week. They’re the OG grab ‘n go snack. They also add protein to lunchtime salads.
  • Whole eggs > egg whites. Eggs have gained a reputation as cholesterol bombs. But they’re more like nutritional powerhouses. So, what about eating egg white omelets to cut the fat? Well, one study found that peeps who ate whole eggs instead of an equal amount of protein from egg whites had 40 percent more muscle-building response. Unless you have high cholesterol, there’s no reason to ditch the yolks.

Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks.

Egg diets lead to fast weight loss.Egg diets aren’t a healthy way to lose weight.
Eggs are packed with nutrients. Rapid weight loss often leads to rebound weight gain.
Crash diets could cause digestive probs.
Crash diets could cause extreme fatigue.

The egg diet could backfire even if you lose a few stubborn pounds in the beginning. More on that:

  • It’s not a path to sustainable weight loss. The egg diet isn’t a healthy long-term solution. Research suggests that you lose more water weight and muscle mass than fat on a super low calorie diet.
  • Weight loss probably won’t last. This kind of restricted eating isn’t sustainable. It won’t help you be a more mindful, healthier eater. You’ll likely regain any lost weight once the diet ends.
  • It’ll make you stink. Eggs = farts for days. Oh, and you might get constipation, bad breath, and tummy aches. The lack of fiber may wreak havoc on your digestive system. Pro tip: Fibrous veggies can help get it moving again.
  • You’ll be riding the struggle bus. Jumping into a low carb, high protein diet = an energy nosedive. You’ll likely feel drained most days.
  • It might raise your cholesterol. Current research shows no clear link between cholesterol consumption and heart disease risk. For example, a recent meta-analyses that included 28,024 people found that the intake of 7+ eggs per week was not associated with increased risk of ischemic heart disease. But this doesn’t mean that eating the amount of eggs recommended on typical egg diets is appropriate or healthy. Def talk to your doctor before trying an egg diet (especially if you have heart issues, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol).
  • Finally, it’s just not fun. You’ll be hungry. You’ll be tired. You’ll be sick of eggs. It’s no wonder restrictive diets usually inspire junk food cravings instead of meaningful mealtimes.

Short answer: No!

The egg diet just isn’t well-balanced. It’s super strict and isn’t great if you want to develop a healthy relationship with food.

Eggs can totally be part of a healthy diet. But your body needs more than yolks and whites, like fiber and nutrient-dense carbs.

Finally, even if you do drop some stubborn poundage on a short-term egg fast, it’s likely that you’ll quickly gain it back once you’ve returned to your normal diet. Research shows that restrictive diets usually result in weight regain.

Cool, but what SHOULD you eat to be healthy?

Although dietary recommendations vary depending on many factors including metabolic health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has some pretty clear recommendations for healthy eating.

Some tips for a well-rounded diet:

  • Limit saturated fat, salt, and added sugar intake.
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies.
  • Make sure half your grain intake comes from whole grains.
  • Switch up your proteins (meats, eggs, plant-based) for healthy variety.

The USDA also recommends back-to-basics healthy foods like:

  • beans
  • fruits instead of sugary desserts
  • lighter oils like olive and avocado
  • lean meats like fish, turkey, and chicken
  • calcium-rich dairy such as cheese, yogurt, and milk
  • whole grains (e.g., oats, Ezekiel bread, and quinoa)
  • veggies and dark greens — three cheers for salads and broccoli!
  • nuts and seeds, and legumes — almonds, walnuts, 🌻 and 🎃 seeds, etc.

The egg diet doesn’t come close to meeting the USDA guidelines. Womp-womp.

Instead of restricting yourself to a single food, use this handy-dandy calculator to figure out how to meet your weight loss goals.

Any diet focused on rapid weight loss instead of healthy eating isn’t great. These are some of the crash diets you might’ve noticed on your feed (and should avoid):

Cabbage Soup diet. This soupfest is super restrictive. Its lack of vitamins, protein, and fat could cause health issues for anyone who sticks with it for more than a week.

Tuna diet. Here’s another model mono-diet. It’s not sustainable and can actually be dangerous.

Grapefruit diet. This plan includes grapefruit or grapefruit juice at every meal. It’s another crash diet that results in short-lived weight loss.

Military diet. This is a strict 1-week meal plan that includes, of all things, vanilla ice cream. Will it help you shed weight quickly? Probs. But it’ll mostly be water weight.

Juice Fasting. Liquid diets might rev up weight loss, but they also come with worrisome side effects. We recommend keeping the “juice” part and ditching the “fast.”

Just say no to fad diets

None of the above diets are healthy ways to shed pounds. Check out these diet and exercise alternatives for more effective ways to lose weight.

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Friends don’t let friends do fad diets!

Some versions of the egg diet are better than others. But they’re all likely to result in temporary weight loss — not sustainable fat loss.

Instead of jumping into a restrictive diet, consider healthier options to jumpstart excess weight loss that will last. Even better, talk to your doc or a dietitian about your goals. Make sure you start a plan that supports your lifestyle, body, and long-term health needs.