The 3 day egg diet, otherwise known as an egg fast, is a diet in which one consumes primarily eggs, butter, and cheese for a short period of time. This temporarily restrictive diet is low-calorie, low-carb, and high-protein and typically results in fat loss mass without losing muscle.
While some variations of the diet date back to the 1970s, today this diet is commonly practiced by people on a ketogenic diet because of its low-carb nature. This meal plan is to help people push through a weight plateau because it’s believed to help trigger ketosis (a state in which the body is burning fat for fuel)(1).
It may sound strange, but could this egg diet really help to promote fat loss and ketosis? Let’s take a deeper look.
Rules of the 3 day egg diet
Following a 3 day egg diet may seem simple, however, there are some specific rules some claim are crucial in order to get the maximum benefits. The following is a list of requirements:
- Consume a minimum of 6 whole eggs every single day making sure to eat every 3 to 5 hours (hard boiled eggs are allowed)
- The first egg needs to be consumed within 30 minutes of waking up
- For every egg consumed, you need to eat 1 tablespoon of fat (butter, olive oil, or any other healthy oil) and up to 1 ounce of cheese (cheddar, blue cheese, swiss, mozzarella, string cheese)
- You should stop eating 3 hours before bedtime
- Drink plenty of water and other zero-calorie beverages
The fast should last anywhere from 3-5 days. Anything longer than that can cause potential health risks.*
What to eat besides eggs
It’s important to note that even though this diet is called an “egg diet”, you can also consume other foods. This includes:
- Lean proteins (fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, lamb, pork)
- Low-carb vegetables (dark leafy greens, spinach, collard greens, steamed vegetables)
- Some fruits (tomatoes, lemons, limes)
- Black coffee is fine in small amounts
Foods that are prohibited
It is vital for optimal results to omit the following foods:
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
- Starchy vegetables
Health benefits of an egg diet
Quick Weight Loss
The yolk in the eggs contain high amounts of choline (an essential nutrient in the body), which helps to enable the liver to be able to metabolize fat. As mentioned before, when the body metabolizes fat for energy it’s referred to as ketosis. Ketosis therefore promotes fat loss. The diet is also more restrictive than most which means fewer calories are consumed, which also aids in the burning of stored fat as energy.
May Reduce Cravings and Increase Satiety
Eggs are high in protein which means they will keep you satiated for longer periods of time and also help from consuming more calories throughout the day. Because the diet is super strict with what you can and cannot eat, you learn to stop eating processed foods that are traditionally seen in the Western diet.
Health risks and side effects of an egg diet
Irritability and Increased Constipation
The diet is pretty restrictive in both caloric consumption and what you can eat specifically. Common symptoms include increased hunger, low energy, headaches and irritability. Similar to the keto flu, the diet puts you in a state of ketosis and doesn’t use carbohydrates to boost energy. The diet is low in fiber, which can also cause constipation.
The diet restricts many other healthy food groups, which is important for overall health and wellness. As a result, if continuing this diet for too long it may increase your risk of nutritional deficiency and actually cause more harm than good.
Who should and shouldn’t try an egg diet
The 3 day egg diet is definitely not for everyone and the following are specific groups of people who are better suited for this plan.
- People who have reached a weight loss plateau and need to kickstart their weight loss (This will help you lose weight quickly.)
- People looking to increase ketones levels
- People intending to lose weight or kickstart a low-carb, or keto diet
There are other groups who shouldn’t try this diet and include:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
- People allergic to eggs
- People who have been guided by a physician to stay away from this type of diet
As always, it’s always a safe bet to consult your doctor before trying an extreme diet such as this.
Bottom LineA 3 day egg fast may aid in weight loss short term, however, the overly restrictive fad diet is unlikely to product lasting results. A balanced diet is a healthy way of eating instead.