Fad diets seem so magical when they first cross your path, but the more you get to know about things like the 14-day egg diet plan, the more you should be able to see behind the curtain. Any diet that limits you to just a few foods is not going to be sustainable for much longer than about two weeks before you either get very bored with it or start having adverse physical effects.
The key to healthy, sustainable weight loss is a combination of a nutritious diet, consistent exercise, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. So while the 14-day egg diet is not recommended, it is also not as restrictive or as lacking in complete nutrition as so many fad diets are, and the high protein content will ensure that you are not starving or malnourished.
The other plus is that this plan includes grapefruit, plenty of leafy green vegetables and some lean protein aside from the eggs, so it does offer more nutrition than most fad diets. The key, then, is to be cognizant of your portion control — and do not stay on this diet for more than two weeks.
Nutrition in Eggs
The best thing about the 14-day egg diet is the eggs. They are about as close to a superfood as anything can get, according to clinical dietitian Rachel Simson, MS, RD, CDN, at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Most of the nutrition in eggs is concentrated in the yolk, so don't rely on the whites alone while you are on this diet.
Simson goes on to explain that all eggs are similar in their nutritional profile, so it does not matter if they are brown or white, free range or conventionally raised. Eggs contain no carbohydrates, sugar or gluten, Simson says, though they are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as the amino acids that make up the protein of the egg.
Egg nutrients include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B2, B5 and B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
Concerns About Cholesterol
Eggs have gotten a somewhat rotten reputation because of the cholesterol they contain, but that has proven to be more of a rumor than a fact. According to researchers at Fairfield University, eating as many as two eggs per day had no effect on the cholesterol levels in the people involved in a peer-reviewed study as compared to a control group who had oatmeal — which contains no cholesterol — for breakfast.
This is important, because too many low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, in your bloodstream can clog your veins and arteries, raising your blood pressure and putting you at risk of heart attack, stroke and some types of cancer. While it used to be believed that high cholesterol was caused by eating foods high in cholesterol, this is not true for everyone, as the Fairfield University researchers discovered.
While eating a diet based around eggs for two weeks may or may not raise your cholesterol levels, depending mostly on your genetic makeup, it is a good idea to make sure that you also eat foods that raise your level of high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs. These are the so-called good cholesterol that scrubs away the LDLs, keeping your bloodstream clear of obstruction, taking the strain off of your heart and allowing your red blood cells to do their job of carrying oxygen, water and nutrients to your cells.
The Power of Protein
Protein is referred to as the building block of life, and for good reason. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are themselves microscopic building blocks. They can be broken down and reconfigured to serve whatever need your body has for them. The health experts at Harvard Health Publishing explain that protein is a macronutrient, as are fat and carbohydrates.
The Harvard experts advise that there is no standard answer as to how much protein you should consume in one day, though general guidelines advise 46 grams of protein per day for women and 56 grams of protein for men. According to the USDA, one large egg contains about 6 grams of protein, which means you would have to eat a bunch of them to reach that goal.
Fortunately, with most versions of the 14-day egg diet, you are allowed other forms of protein. Choose lean types of protein such as chicken, turkey and fish. You don't need to be eating high-cholesterol beef on top of all of those eggs. Prepare your chicken or fish with no added fat by grilling, broiling or roasting them. Season it well with herbs and spices to keep the diet from becoming too bland and uninteresting.
Read more: How Protein Can Help You Lose More Weight
14-Day Egg Diet Menu
As with so many weight loss fads, there are several versions of the 14-day egg diet, some of which have been around since the 1970s. The first diet plan is an extreme mono diet: For the entire 14 days, you consume nothing but eggs and water. This is a bad idea for so many reasons, the most important of which is that you will not be getting complete nutrition. You will, however, almost certainly get bored.
The second type of egg diet offers a bit more nutrition, but not much variety. It is usually referred to as the boiled egg diet. You may have hard-boiled eggs for one meal and have vegetables — which are low in carbohydrates — such as spinach and broccoli, along with lean protein and a small amount of fruit.
The third, most varied and most nutritious option is the egg and grapefruit diet. In this version, you have eggs at one meal and then lean proteins and vegetables, but you eat one-half grapefruit at each meal. As in the other versions, you may not have bread, pasta, cereal, alcohol, soda or any beverages that contain calories. A good way to round this diet out would be to add salads to help you avoid the constipation that can plague high-protein dieters.
Nutrition in Grapefruit
Adding grapefruit to your 14-day egg diet is a good idea for a variety of reasons, but mostly it is because grapefruits are packed with phytonutrients. According to the experts at Colorado State University, phytonutrients occur naturally in plants, and they have a ton of health benefits, including supporting your immune system to help colds end sooner; helping wounds to heal; keeping your bones, teeth and skin healthy and your joints and cartilage supple. The fiber in grapefruit can help keep you regular as well.
CSU explains that one kind of phytonutrient in grapefruit is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. When you are exposed to environmental toxins such as exhaust fumes, air pollution and cigarette smoke, it creates free radicals. These grow on your cells from exposure to toxins but also as a byproduct of normal metabolic functions such as breathing and metabolizing the foods you eat.
If left unchecked, these radicals grow on your cells the same way rust forms on iron or moss can grow on concrete. Eventually, free radicals can damage your cells, threatening their integrity and even changing your DNA. Antioxidants such as the vitamin C in grapefruits scrub away free radicals from your cells. This is not only good for your health, but it can also help slow down the visible signs of aging.
Making Scrumptious Salads
Adding salads to your 14-Day Egg Diet will help you feel full and give you some color and variety without adding a whole lot of calories. There are several key techniques for building a better salad, according to the foodies at the University of California - San Diego. You will have a somewhat limited number of ingredients because of the strictness of the diet, but you can still get creative.
Start with a bed of dark, leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, chard, arugula or a mixture of more than one kind of lettuce. UC - San Diego cautions against using spinach alone because it can make it harder for your body to absorb calcium. Add whatever vegetables your version of the 14-Day Egg Diet allows. Add chopped or sliced hard-boiled egg and grapefruit pieces as well.
Make your own dressing with olive oil, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Liven it up with a little grated fresh garlic or red pepper flakes. Dress only as much of the salad as you will enjoy at one sitting, because the vinegar and lemon juice can make greens wilt if they sit in the dressing for too long. If your 14-day egg diet allows them, add nuts to your salad for crunch, or blend almond butter with balsamic vinegar for a savory salad dressing that offers a bit of protein.
Read more: 23 Healthy Salads Nutrition Experts Eat
Tips and Hints
As with any diet, it will be easier to stick to if you prepare in advance. Make sure you have all of the eggs, grapefruit, lean protein, salad fixin's and whatever else your version of the diet calls for to keep you out of the grocery store for at least the first week.
Clean out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, if you can, to rid your kitchen of anything that might tempt you to stray. Consider enlisting a buddy to go on the diet with you. Failing that, it might be wise to limit your socializing in restaurants or bars while you are on this diet.
If you start to have any physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, weakness or any other indication that you are not receiving proper nutrition, discontinue the diet and seek the advice of your health-care provider.
- Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center: "Are Eggs Good For You?"
- Fairfield University: "Consuming Two Eggs per Day, as Compared to an Oatmeal Breakfast, Increases Plasma Ghrelin While Maintaining the LDL/HDL Ratio"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "When It Comes to Protein, How Much Is Too Much?"
- Colorado State University: "6 Health Benefits of Citrus"
- University of California - San Diego: "How to Build a Better Salad:
- The Yale Tribune: "Fad Diets Can Be Dangerous for Individual Physical Health"
- USDA: Basic Report: "01123, Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh"