What Is the Egg Diet?

the egg diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff 

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your health care provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

What Is the Egg Diet?

The egg diet is a weight loss program that requires you to build at least one meal each day around the traditional breakfast staple, the chicken egg. It is a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, high-protein plan designed to help you lose weight quickly without losing muscle mass.

The egg diet is not a formal plan outlined in a book or available for sale. There are different versions of the egg diet, including an egg-only diet or a boiled egg diet. In all variations of the plan, you'll eat three meals a day with no snacks and drink only water or zero-calorie beverages. More flexible forms of the egg diet include foods like grilled chicken, fish, and steamed veggies but eliminate starchy foods and sugar.

What Experts Say

"Eggs are little nuggets of nutrition, providing protein, choline, vitamin D, lutein and more, but the egg diet, on the whole, is low in carbs which can leave you hungry. Also, eating the same food over and over (like eggs for breakfast) can get boring for some, which can lead to non-compliance."

Kelly Plowe, MS, RD

The 7-Day Diet Plan

While there are many different versions of the diet, including egg-only diets, here is one example:

  • Day 1: Boiled eggs, grapefruit, steamed asparagus; Baked fish, steamed broccoli; Poached chicken breast, steamed mushrooms and spinach.
  • Day 2: Poached eggs, steamed broccoli; Sirlion steak, steamed spinach and kale; Pork tenderloin, grilled asparagus.
  • Day 3: Lean ham, steamed kale; Boiled eggs, spinach, chopped mushrooms; Steamed fish, asparagus.
  • Day 4: Boiled eggs, orange slices; Grilled turkey breast, steamed broccoli; Sirloin steak, grilled mushrooms, steamed kale.
  • Day 5: Mixed berries, lean ham, steamed asparagus; Baked sole, steamed spinach; Pork tenderloin, broccoli.
  • Day 6: Poached eggs, steamed spinach, grapefruit; Baked chicken breast, steamed broccoli; Grilled turkey breast, steamed kale, mushrooms.
  • Day 7: Boiled eggs, berries; Tuna fish, spinach, asparagus; Poached chicken breast, steamed kale, mushrooms.

What You Can Eat

Since there is no one standard egg diet, what you eat will depend on the type you follow. In general, you can expect to eat many eggs, other lean proteins, vegetables, and some fruit. All versions of the egg diet require you to eat primarily egg-based meals. Besides the eggs, here are some examples of foods you might eat on various egg diets.

Lean Protein

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Sirloin steak
  • Lean cuts of pork

Vegetables

Fruit

What You Cannot Eat

What you cannot eat on the egg diet depends on the variation of the diet.

Fruit

In one variation of the diet, all fruit other than grapefruit is eliminated. In other variations, other fruits are acceptable.

Starches

Starchy carbohydrates from grains or vegetables are avoided in most versions of the egg diet.

  • Grains
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Corn

Non-Nutritive and Processed Foods

  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • Processed meats
  • Fried foods
  • Juice

Dairy

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt

How to Prepare the Egg Diet & Tips

While eggs can be part of a healthy diet, a nutrition plan built almost exclusively on eggs is not. Some variations of the egg diet are better for you than others, but none of them provide balanced nutrition.

14-Day Egg Diet

If you choose this two-week version of the diet program, you’ll consume three meals daily. Snacks are not allowed, nor drink with calories. Each day, eat one meal with eggs. The remaining meals can be built around other sources of lean protein, such as chicken or fish.

You can add low-carbohydrate vegetables such as broccoli or spinach to supplement the protein on your plate. Citrus fruit is sometimes allowed. This diet is sometimes called the “boiled egg diet” and requires you to eat hard-boiled eggs rather than poached, scrambled, or fried eggs.

Egg and Grapefruit Diet

This is a variation of the 14-day egg diet and lasts for the same amount of time. On this version of the diet, you eat half a grapefruit at each meal with your egg or lean protein. No other fruit is allowed.

Egg-Only Diet

This version of the egg diet is a mono diet. Mono diets are extreme, unhealthy weight loss programs where you eat only a single food for an extended period. People on this program eat only hard-boiled eggs and water for two weeks.

As you might imagine, exercise is not recommended on this plan because of the extreme fatigue that you are likely to experience.

“Medical” Egg Diet

This version of the egg diet requires you to eat one egg and one piece of bread thrice daily. You can also eat as many fruits and vegetables as you like. Beverages allowed include water, black coffee, and other zero-calorie drinks. Eggs can be prepared any way you want as long as no calories are added. That means you can’t use butter or oil for cooking your egg.

Some followers believe that this version of the egg diet is used in medical settings to reduce a patient’s weight before surgery, but there is no evidence to support that rumor. While some bariatric physicians put their patients on diets before surgery, it is typically a liquid diet (including meal replacement shakes), and a physician or other medical expert supervises the program.

Keto Egg Diet

Ketogenic diets also called keto diets, require increasing fat intake to put your body into a state of ketosis. The most popular ratio promoted on the internet is one egg to one tablespoon of fat (cheese or butter). This version of the egg diet recommends eating eggs with butter and cheese to get your body to produce ketones.

Pros of the Egg Diet

The egg diet doesn't offer notable health benefits when compared to a more varied and sustainable eating plan. Fast weight loss (not typically a positive effect of a diet due to unsustainability) on the egg diet is more attributable to its low-calorie count than any particular effects of the diet.

  • Eggs are nutrient-dense: Eggs are a highly nutrient-dense food with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and bioavailable protein. However, this isn't enough to say the egg diet is healthy because of its low calories and reduced variety of foods.
  • Eliminates processed foods: Although you never have to eliminate processed foods to eat a nutritious diet, the egg diet does take out foods that don't offer nutritive qualities to your eating plan. However, the egg diet is also very restrictive and doesn't offer balance in terms of food choice.

Cons of the Egg Diet

Eggs are a common food allergen, so anyone allergic to eggs should not attempt the egg diet. The limitations of the egg diet can pose risks to bone density, heart health, and digestion, especially if followed for an extended period.

  • May cause calcium deficiency: The egg diet doesn't provide adequate sources of calcium since dairy isn't included in the plan. Stricter versions of the egg diet don't include high-calcium veggies or fortified foods to help meet your needs. Adults require 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. One large egg has about 24 milligrams of calcium. A cup of cooked greens or other non-starchy vegetables have under 100 milligrams per serving.
  • May reduce bone density: Not getting enough calcium can pose a health risk for individuals with low bone density, especially post-menopausal women who are generally at higher risk. Insufficient calcium intake may also play a role in developing cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
  • High in cholesterol: Dietary cholesterol and eggs don't have the bad reputation they once did. However, individuals with a high risk of heart disease are still advised to limit their intake to one egg per day.
  • Low in calories: Eggs only have about 78 calories each, so you're unlikely to consume enough to meet your calorie needs each day (since the other foods allowed on the diet are low-calorie as well). You won't have the energy to maintain regular workouts to support your metabolism on such a restrictive plan.
  • Low in fiber: Fiber is essential for healthy digestion and regularity. Like other animal products, eggs are naturally fiber-free. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends at least 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams for men. Even if you're eating some fruits and vegetables on the egg diet, it would be virtually impossible to reach this level when eggs are your primary food. Beyond just the digestive system, fiber benefits individuals with diabetes and heart disease and helps support weight loss.

Is the Egg Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein. They provide several beneficial vitamins and minerals, including choline and vitamin A. Compared to expensive diets that require special powders and supplements, the egg diet is a whole-food approach to weight loss. However, depending on how strictly you follow it, the egg diet is missing essential nutrients, like fiber.

Current dietary guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture include recommendations and tips for a healthy, balanced diet. The following nutrient-dense foods are recommended as part of a healthy diet:

  • Beans and legumes (all beans, lentils, peas)
  • Dairy products (reduced-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, including fortified soy-based dairy alternatives) 
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits (apples, berries, melon)
  • Grains, especially whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats)
  • Lean protein (chicken breast, fish, turkey breast, seafood)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds)
  • Oils (olive oil, avocado oil) 
  • Vegetables of all types and dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, green beans) 

The egg diet does not provide well-rounded nutrition and does not meet USDA dietary guidelines. It is not considered a healthy, long-term diet.

If you're looking to lose weight, nutrition experts advise counting calories to meet your goals. The USDA recommends a reduction of 500 calories per day for weight loss. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that's around 1,500 calories per day, but this can vary based on age, sex, weight, and level of physical activity. If you're interested in determining your calorie guidelines, you can use a calculator.

Although eggs are nutritious, the egg diet doesn't have enough variety or calories to be considered a healthy or sustainable way of eating. With such restriction, weight regain is likely. You'll also miss out on fiber, calcium, and other essential nutrients by sticking to the egg diet for more than a few days.

A Word From Verywell

Although the promise of fast weight loss can be appealing, the egg diet is an overly restrictive fad diet that's unlikely to produce beneficial lasting results. Learning to practice healthy eating habits that include all the food groups will give you the flexibility and variety for building a positive relationship with food.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition.

  2. Eggs, grade A, large, egg whole. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium: Fact sheet for health professionals.

  4. Hidayat K, Chen G-C, Zhang R, et al. Calcium intake and breast cancer risk: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studiesBr J Nutr. 2016;116(1):158-166. doi:10.1017/S0007114516001768

  5. Wang L, Manson JE, Sesso HD. Calcium intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: a review of prospective studies and randomized clinical trialsAm J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2012;12(2):105-116. doi:10.2165/11595400-000000000-00000

  6. American Heart Association. Are eggs good for you or not?.

  7. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fiber.

  8. Kaczmarczyk MM, Miller MJ, Freund GG. The health benefits of dietary fiber: Beyond the usual suspects of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and colon cancerMetabolism. 2012;61(8):1058-1066. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.01.017

  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. I want to lose a pound of weight. How many calories do I need to burn?

Additional Reading

By Malia Frey
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.