What Is the Boiled Egg Diet and Is It As Crazy As It Sounds?

Eggs are a popular food known for their protein content as well as a source of nutrients including vitamin D.

A fad diet known as the boiled egg diet seeks to take advantage of the benefits of eggs by incorporating them heavily into one's daily food routine.

Despite the diet's name, it does not only feature eggs. Followers can also eat other foods such as non-starchy vegetables with the aim of losing weight.

Nutrition experts have spoken to Newsweek about the diet's pros and cons. People may consider speaking to their healthcare provider before making any changes to their diet.

How does the boiled egg diet work?

The boiled egg diet involves eating several servings of hard-boiled eggs per day.

Erin Palinski-Wade, a nutrition consultant and author of several diet books, told Newsweek: "The boiled egg diet is a low calorie, low carbohydrate diet that will promote weight loss due to a calorie deficit.

"It is a very restrictive meal plan and not likely to be sustainable long term. There are a few variations of the diet, but the general outline of the meal plan is to eat two eggs with fruit at breakfast and then eggs or another lean protein with non-starchy vegetables at the other two meals during the day."

Lean protein in the diet could include fish or chicken. Snacking is generally not permitted on the diet.

Other foods encouraged in the diet are low carb fruits such as oranges, berries, and grapefruit; fats and oils like coconut oil in small amounts; and, in some variations, low fat dairy products.

At the same time, the diet limits high carb foods such as bread, starchy vegetables like potatoes, processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

One popular version of the diet is based off of a book of the same name by author Arielle Chandler.

Boiled eggs
A stock photo shows hard boiled eggs on a wooden table. Restrictive diets can be unsustainable, nutrition experts said. ToscaWhi/Getty

What can you drink on the boiled egg diet?

While the diet restricts sugar-sweetened drinks, calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea or coffee can be consumed.

Why is bread cut out of the boiled egg diet?

Palinski-Wade said: "This is most likely to help 'speed' weight loss with carbohydrate restriction since cutting carbs will accelerate water losses."

Eating carbohydrates can lead to water retention, which translates to the number on the scale, because of how they are stored in the body.

There is also some evidence that reducing the intake of carbohydrates in one's diet can aid weight loss in the longer term.

How legitimate is the boiled egg diet?

A number of experts told Newsweek that they would not recommend this diet even though it might result in some weight loss in the short term.

Part of the reason for this is the diet's restrictive nature, which many people may find difficult to stick to.

"To sum it up, including eggs, lean meats, and vegetables into your diet is a healthy way to boost protein as well as vitamins and minerals," Ashley Irwin, research project manager at the Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Newsweek. "However, limiting yourself to only a handful of foods often takes a lot of the joy out of eating and isn't sustainable for the majority of people.

"A restrictive diet, such as this, will likely result in some weight loss in the short term, but that can be expected when the calories consumed are so low."

Richard Mattes, distinguished professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, told Newsweek that diets encouraging high amounts of one type of food are "as old as the hills" and may have short-term results. However, he said that such diets are "often nutritionally unbalanced" and "generally fail" as people may struggle to follow them.

Similarly, Palinski-Wade said the diet includes foods that are rich in nutrients but that "the long list of 'foods to avoid' is the real problem."

"The meal plan is very restrictive, unlikely to be sustainable long term, and cuts out many beneficial nutrients found in foods such as nuts, seeds, oats, beans, and lentils," she added.

Irwin recommended that people speak to a registered dietitian if they're looking for an eating approach that is best for them. "A dietitian can help you to tailor your eating in a way that can help you meet your goals whether you like eggs or not," she said.

Eggs and a salad
A stock photo shows a hard-boiled egg on a leafy salad. The boiled egg diet encourages lots of eggs or other lean protein sources while cutting out processed foods among other things. gbh007/Getty