When it comes to weight-loss diets, there are certainly a lot of options. Eating six eggs a day, however, may not be the best way to go. While eggs offer many benefits to those who are trying to slim down, more eggs don't necessarily mean more weight loss. In fact, eating six eggs a day sounds more like a fad diet than a diet plan that can help you achieve long-term weight loss success.
Eating six eggs a day to lose weight isn't advisable. Not only would it lead to an excessive intake of cholesterol, but it's not the type of diet that you can follow long term.
Exceptional Egg Nutrition
For many, many years eggs were considered a "bad" food you needed to limit because of the cholesterol content. High blood cholesterol increases your risk of coronary artery disease, which is a type of heart disease that leads to the narrowing of your blood vessels due to a buildup of plaque. But, as it turns out, the cholesterol in food doesn't contribute to the cholesterol found in your blood.
More important, according to a July 2013 meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating eggs doesn't increase risk of heart disease for the general population. However, this study noted that egg consumption may be linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes. If you have concerns about diabetes, talk to your doctor about how eggs may fit into your meal plan.
When it comes to nutrition, eggs are actually an exceptional choice. They're low in calories, rich in high-quality protein and an excellent source of many essential nutrients. Hard-boiled egg calories and nutrients break down like this for one large hard-boiled egg (50 grams):
- 78 calories
- 5 grams of total fat
- 6 grams of protein
- 0.5 grams of carbohydrates
- 187 milligrams of cholesterol
- 1.6 grams of saturated fat
- 28 percent of the daily value (DV) for selenium
- 23 percent of the DV for vitamin B12
- 20 percent of the DV for riboflavin
- 23 percent of the DV for choline
- 9 percent of the DV for vitamin A
- 6 percent of the DV for vitamin D
How You Lose Weight
Whether you're drawn to the keto, low-carb or low-fat diet, they all have the same thing in common. They help you lose weight by limiting your calorie intake. The same is true for any egg-focused weight-loss plan, and there are quite a few — the 12-day grapefruit and egg diet, the egg and chicken diet, the extreme egg diet, or simply the egg diet. For the record, these popular egg diets are a bit extreme in the calorie department, and eating too few calories tends to set you up for failure when it comes to long-term weight loss.
To lose weight you need to alter your calorie equation so that your body is burning more calories than you're eating. You can use an online calorie calculator to estimate your calorie needs based on your age, gender, activity, height and current weight. It's generally understood that one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories and to lose weight, you should subtract 500 to 1,000 calories from your estimated calorie needs.
However, if you're a woman you shouldn't eat less than 1,200 calories a day, and if you're a man no less than 1,500 calories. Eating too few calories may thwart your weight-loss efforts by slowing down your metabolism. Most of the calories you eat are burned to maintain body functions you don't think about, such as your heartbeat, digestion and brain function. When you dip too low in your calorie intake, your body does everything it can to conserve energy (ahem, calorie burning) to support these vital functions.
Eggs and Weight Loss
The key to weight loss is finding a diet filled with foods that you not only enjoy eating, but that also keep hunger away. When it comes to satiety, protein has more staying power than either carbs or fat. Eggs are a high-protein food and can help keep hunger pangs away and may also help support your weight loss when following a reduced-calorie diet, according to an October 2009 study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
During this eight-week study, healthy overweight and obese participants were assigned to eat either an egg or a bagel breakfast — each meal contained the same calories — at least five days a week while following a reduced-calorie diet. The researchers found that the egg-breakfast eaters lost 65 percent more weight than the bagel eaters. Note that this study also included people not on a calorie-restricted diet eating either eggs or bagels and found no difference in weight loss between the two groups. Again, it's not the food, it's the calories that count.
In addition to keeping hunger away, the protein in the eggs also helps you maintain more of your calorie-burning muscle mass. As the number on the scale goes down, your body needs fewer calories to sustain itself, which means you need to continue to eat less in order to keep losing. Maintaining more of your muscle mass while you lose the fat, may help limit the number of calories you need to restrict in order to keep losing.
Eating Too Many Eggs
While eggs may no longer be on the bad food list, they're still a source of cholesterol and saturated fat. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans says you should keep your intake of cholesterol as low as possible, and more specifically suggest no more than 10 percent of your daily calories, which translates into about 100 to 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day. It's not so much the dietary cholesterol that's the issue, but that most foods high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat, including eggs.
If you consumed six hard-boiled eggs a day, you'd get 1,119 milligrams of cholesterol, 465 calories and nearly 10 grams of saturated fat.
The Dietary Guidelines recommends you limit your intake of saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calorie needs. On a 1,500-calorie weight-loss diet that means no more than 17 grams of saturated fat a day. Those six eggs meet more than half your daily saturated fat intake, not to mention more than 300 percent of your recommended cholesterol intake.
Eating Eggs to Lose Weight
While it may not be wise to eat as many as six eggs a day, eggs make a healthy addition to your weight-loss diet. There are numerous ways you can incorporate eggs to help support your weight-loss efforts. Hard-boiled eggs make a great on-the-go breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. You can also slice your hard-boiled eggs and add them to your garden greens at lunch for an extra protein punch.
If you like the idea of adding more egg protein to your diet, but the cholesterol and saturated fat make you a bit wary, consider using only the egg white. The egg white from one large hard-boiled egg has 17 calories and 4 grams of protein. It's also fat- and cholesterol-free. You can use your egg whites in the same manner as your whole hard-boiled egg.
- USDA: FoodData Central: "Egg, Whole, Cooked, Hard-Boiled"
- USDA: FoodData Central: "Egg, White, Raw, Fresh"
- MyFoodData: "Egg Whites (Raw), Hard-Boiled Eggs"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Egg Consumption in Relation to Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- MedlinePlus: "Coronary Artery Disease"
- International Journal of Obesity: "Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss"
- British Journal of Nutrition: "Dietary Protein - It's Role in Satiety, Energetics, Weight Loss and Health"
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: "2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines: Answers to Your Questions"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Eggs"
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Healthy Eating Plan"
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "What It Takes to Lose Weight"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "4 Ways Low-Calorie Diets Can Sabotage Your Health"