Whether you prefer your eggs scrambled in the morning, hard-boiled in a salad for lunch, or soft-boiled in a big bowl of ramen for dinner, we can all agree that the incredible, edible egg is an amazingly versatile food.
But some people are taking their love for tasty egg recipes even further by following the “boiled egg diet,” a purported weight-loss regimen that includes — you guessed it — eating copious amounts of eggs. Before you fill your fridge with egg cartons, though, here’s what the experts say about this diet.
What Is the Boiled Egg Diet?
There are different variations on the egg diet, according to Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, and nutrition manager at Openfit — and all of them are pretty vague and devoid of clear instructions.
One version of the egg diet involves eating eggs and only eggs for a few days, while other versions simply incorporate eggs into every meal. A more flexible version of the boiled egg diet suggests you eat eggs or other lean protein sources — like chicken and fish — throughout the day for roughly two weeks. (How does that differ from any other high-protein, low-carb eating plan? We’re not exactly sure.)
And some versions of the diet are strict about eating your eggs hard-boiled, while others are more lenient with the cooking method.
What Can You Eat on the Boiled Egg Diet?
There’s no official version of the boiled egg diet, which means there’s also no official list of foods you can and can’t eat on an egg diet.
Needless to say, eggs get the green light on every version of the egg diet. Beyond that, it varies — some plans only include eggs, while others weave in fruits and veggies and other lean protein sources.
Can You Lose Weight on the Boiled Egg Diet?
The boiled egg diet — especially the more restrictive versions — might help you lose weight in the short term because it drastically reduces calorie intake.
But any weight loss will be temporary. “It’s not designed to produce sustained weight loss,” Giancoli says. And what’s more, a low-calorie diet that limits carbohydrate intake can leave you feeling fatigued, so you may not have the energy you need to get through a workout.
Instead of gulping down eggs like Rocky Balboa — or attempting any crash diet that can leave you feeling like utter garbage, for that matter — focus on building sustainable eating habits. “The key isn’t if a diet will help you lose weight,” says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The key is if it will help you keep the weight off.”
Chances are you won’t want to eat eggs at every meal for the rest of your life, so the boiled egg diet is inherently temporary. By making more manageable healthy choices — and gradually scaling back on high-calorie junk food — you’ll be more likely to lose or maintain your weight over the long term.
Is the Boiled Egg Diet Healthy?
Eating just eggs is not particularly safe or healthy. By going with the most extreme form of the boiled egg diet — nothing but eggs for a set amount of time — you cut out a lot of the vitamins and minerals you need to do just about everything. “This diet is deficient in many essential nutrients,” says Mascha Davis MPH, RDN, private practice dietitian at Nomadista Nutrition.
But eggs pack a lot of beneficial nutrients, so they should definitely be a part of your healthy eating plan (unless you’re vegan, of course). One large egg contains 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, and small amounts of iron and vitamins A, D, B6, and B12. “Eggs can absolutely fit into a healthy, balanced diet,” Giancoli says.
Eggs are also a great source of choline, which is important for brain function and cell membrane health. “They are also high in biotin, which is an important vitamin for hair growth and skin health,” Davis says.
How Many Eggs Should You Eat Per Day?
Researchers have looked into whether or not we should limit our consumption of eggs because of their potential to raise LDL cholesterol (often called the “bad” cholesterol, though it’s actually important to have a healthy balance of cholesterol in your body). But an analysis of 60 years of research found that the dietary cholesterol in eggs had a relatively small effect on blood cholesterol levels.
Still, the “everything in moderation” mantra applies to eggs. An egg yolk has 184 milligrams of cholesterol — the most concentrated form of dietary cholesterol, Angelone notes. She recommends sticking to around one egg per day on average, although there are some exceptions — someone with heart disease may want to eat fewer eggs each week, while some research suggests up to 3 eggs per day is fine if you’re healthy.
While egg yolks are the cholesterol culprit, egg whites are free and clear of cholesterol. Since the yolk has a lot of the nutrients in it, Giancoli says, you can combine a yolk with a few whites to get the best of both worlds.
Bottom line? Like any diet that’s limited to a single food, the boiled egg diet is bound to fail — eating eggs and only eggs is not a good call. But if your goal is to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, eggs can absolutely be a staple on your grocery list.