Forget counting calories and cutting out carbs. The key to losing weight could be as simple as having two eggs for breakfast.
Scientists have shown that those who start their day with poached, boiled or scrambled eggs can lose up to two-thirds more weight than others.
So the old adverts which urged us to “Go to work on an egg” could have been right after all.
The secret of the egg’s success lies in its ability to make us feel full for longer than many other foods.
Researchers from Louisiana State University in the U.S. looked at the eating habits of a group of overweight and obese women.
The women, who were following a low-fat diet, were asked to eat either two eggs a day for breakfast, or have a bagel.
The two meals contained the same number of calories and weighed roughly the same amount.
However, after eight weeks of breakfasting, the slimmers who had eaten eggs had lost the most weight.
As well as shedding 65 per cent more pounds than the bageleaters, they had lost almost twice as many inches from their waistline, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s annual conference heard yesterday.
The study, which was part-funded by the American Egg Board, also showed that those who had breakfasted on eggs felt as if they had more energy.
Previous work by the same researchers showed that those who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller for longer than those who had a bagel and cheese.
As a result, they ate less during the rest of the day.
It is not completely clear why eggs are so good at making us feel full but it is thought their high protein content could play a large part.
Researcher Dr Nikhil Dhurandhar, an obesity expert, said:
“Despite equal energy content and weight, an egg breakfast had a greater satiating effect compared to a bagel breakfast, which translated into a lower energy intake at lunch.”
“The resulting decrease in energy consumption lasted for at least 24 hours after the egg breakfast.
“These results have potentially significant implications. Eggs are an integral part of breakfast in numerous cultures and the satiating effect of eggs may be useful in reducing energy intake thereby promoting weight management.”
In Britain, the Food Standards Agency says that while eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet, it is important to eat as great a variety of foods as possible.
It does not set a limit on the number of eggs we should eat a week for optimum health and says that while eggs do contain cholesterol, saturated fat found in cakes, biscuits and pies is more damaging.
Eggs gained in popularity thanks to the widespread adoption of the highprotein Atkins diet. But sales have also suffered from a series of food scares over the past two decades.
“Go to work on an egg” was used in a 1960s advertising campaign by the Egg Marketing Board.
The phrase was widely believed to have been the idea of author Fay Weldon, although she has since said it was actually written by a junior member of staff at the advertising agency where she was head copywriter at the time.
When I started working at my first full-time job after graduate school, I ate breakfast at my desk. My commute was long and I left home early—around 6:45 in the morning, and did not feel like eating breakfast just then. One of the first things I set up in my cubicle was my breakfast cabinet, where I kept a bowl, spoon, bunch of bananas, and my then-favorite high-protein, high-fiber breakfast cereal. I typically got settled at my desk around quarter after eight, and had my “healthy” breakfast.
The trouble was, like clockwork, I was starving by 10:30 am.
I tried to squash my hunger with coffee but that didn’t work. I usually went to the vending machine, ate one of the powdered doughnuts that were invariably hanging around, or surrendered to a weirdly early lunch. At the time, I was going through a phase where staying thin was incredibly important to me, so this situation was a five-alarm fire.
As I racked my brain for explanations, I realized the main thing that had changed was that I was no longer eating eggs for breakfast. I love eggs—ever since I started eating breakfast in my 20s, eggs have always been my breakfast of choice.
→ How to make boiled eggs: How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time
I traded in my cereal for two easy-to-pack hard-boiled eggs and my midmorning snack attacks ended immediately. I kept whole-wheat toast and plain yogurt with fruit in the office refrigerator to round out the morning meal, but I swore off cereal for breakfast and haven’t looked back since. It’s now one of those things I never, ever buy.
It turns out that it isn’t just me who thrives on eggs in the morning. The research shows that people who eat eggs for breakfast lose more weight than people who don’t.
Today, my favorite thing to eat in the morning is a simple skillet full of vegetables sautéed in olive oil folded into some scrambled eggs with cheese. Another go-to is fried eggs with sprouted whole grain toast. And of course I still love a nice hard-boiled egg or two. It’s the kind of breakfast that lets me work until one or two in the afternoon without feeling like I want a snack.
→ Make great scrambled eggs: How To Make Creamy Scrambled Eggs
Loving Food While Losing Weight
Is it possible to talk about the fraught space of food, body, and weight in a healthy, thoughtful way? We think so, and we’re presenting a monthlong column exploring one food-lover and food writer’s journey towards finding her own personal balance. Joy Manning is joining us this month with her own stories, practical tips, recipes, and perspective on the real-life struggle between loving food and loving your body.
→ Read the intro to Joy’s column: Is There a Healthy Way to Love Food and Watch Your Weight? Introducing One Food-Lover’s Story
My boyfriend’s family are Irish. Which means whenever we go to visit there is a lot of laughter and story telling. There’s also lots of eating and drinking. It’s practically impossible not to have fun.
Usually it’s also impossible not to leave a few pounds heavier than you arrived.
But on our most recent visit, I set myself a little goal. I was determined to have fun and avoid putting on some Irish weight.
And my secret weapon?
I was going to eat eggs for breakfast rather than toast or oatmeal. Yep. That was my simple plan.
And the crazy thing is it worked. Granted, we were only there for a week, but this time I came home to scales that were the same as before I left.
Eggs are now part of my breakfast repertoire and I must say they are delicious. I look forward to breakfast much more these days. But if you need a bit more convincing…
7 Reasons You Should Eat Eggs for Breakfast
1. Egg keep you feeling full much longer than cereal or toast.
The protein and fat in eggs helps sustain your energy levels, keeping you satisfied for longer and reducing the need for a mid morning snack.
2. Eggs assist weight loss.
This is a follow on benefit from keeping you satiated. Studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast are more likely to lose weight than those who ate bagels.
3. Eggs are a great source of protein.
Whole eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein, meaning eggs contain all the essential amino acids which we must get from our diets.
4. Eggs tend to be relatively inexpensive.
Compared to other high protein foods such as red meat, even free range eggs are more budget friendly.
5. Eggs aren’t going to make your cholesterol worse.
While it’s true that eggs do contain a significant amount of cholesterol, the old formula of the cholesterol you eat impacting on your blood cholesterol levels, has been disproven. So there’s no need to worry about eating eggs increasing your risk for heart disease.
6. Eggs help with brain development and memory.
Choline, an essential nutrient found in eggs, stimulates brain development and function. It has also been linked with increasing memory retention and recall as well as improving alertness.
7. Eggs protect your eyesight.
Two antioxidants, leutin and zeaxanthin, are present in eggs and have been linked to protecting eyes from damage related to UV exposure. They have also been associated with reducing the likelihood of developing cataracts in old age.
Think you don’t have time for a cooked breakfast?
Here are three great ways to prepare eggs in 5 minutes or less:
1. Boil eggs in advance
Boil up a big batch of eggs on the weekend and keep them at the ready for a quick breakfast on the go.
2. 60 second eggs
Just crack an egg into a microwave safe cup and zap on high for one minute. Stir, season and breakfast is ready.
3. Fried eggs
My favourite breakfast, there’s something beautiful about a good fried egg. Just heat a small skilled over a high heat for a minute or so, add a little oil, crack the eggs and add to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the whites are just set. Serve with spinach and lots of black pepper.
Do you eat eggs for breakfast? How do you like ’em? Tell us in the comments below!
Eat the right diet and beat fat with a new anti aging fat loss diet program. What you eat and when you eat it makes a huge difference in how efficiently your diet works for you. The key to losing your weight may be as simple as eating just two eggs for breakfast.
From fat to fab, this is what you would be after 2 months of eating just two eggs for breakfast. You can always try eating two eggs for breakfast, a huge steak for lunch and for dinner. Later, you can change the steak to a combination of veggies and fruits and small amounts of meat.
While a minimum of two meals per day is recommended, research has proven breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Regardless of the lifestyle of the person, the eating plan can be more effective when it includes breakfast.
In 2008, an article in the International Journal of Obesity compared people who ate two eggs for breakfast with overweight people who ate a bagel for breakfast. The calorie count for both breakfast was the same.
The overweight and obese women who consumed a breakfast of two eggs a day for 5 days a week or more in the entire 8 weeks as part of a low fat diet research revealed that the participants had lost 65% more weight, had 83% greater reduction in waist circumference, had 61% greater reduction in body mass, and reported greater improvement in energy levels than their dieting counterparts who consumed a bagel breakfast of the same calories.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found an improved cognitive function on their adult gerbil subjects due to the compounds that normally circulate in the blood and are found in eggs, such as the uridine, choline, and docosahexanoic acids. The study was also published in 2008 in The FASEB Journal.
In 2007, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that the participants of a 10 year study age 65 or older with low levels of Vitamin B12, were found to be at a significant risk for cognitive decline. A low Vitamin B12 is associated with more rapid cognitive decline.
The eggs contained Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is instrumental in the production of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps memory and learning. Vitamin B12 is also needed for the proper development of nerve cells.
Though the study does not suggest that eating eggs will prevent cognitive decline, the regular consumption of eggs most certainly can help boost the amount of Vitamin B12 in the body. And in so doing, might fight against cognitive decline.
As you age, in addition to the consumption of foods containing Vitamin B12, you also require Vitamin B12 supplementation. A slight deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression. Long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system.
No worries if you consumed Vitamin B12 in large doses because the excess is excreted by the body or stored in the liver when supplies are scarce. The stores of B12 can last for up to a year.
When abnormal fat is no longer being put into circulation either because it has been consumed or because immunity has set in, you will always feel sudden, intolerable, and constant hunger. As soon as there is no more abnormal fat issued, the body starts to consume the normal fat.
Limiting your daily calories can be easily done with the boiled egg option. Eggs are nutrient dense and are fantastic for those who try to lose weight. When eggs are part of your diet, it is very difficult to suffer from deficiencies of vitamins or minerals, so long as you are generally healthy.
What about the issue of cholesterol? A few years ago, health organizations issued a warning about the cholesterol contained in eggs. Like many other foods such as coconut oil or avocados, eggs were mistakenly thought to be bad for your health.
While the average large egg delivers between 180 to 186 mg of cholesterol, your liver produces anywhere between 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg each day on its own. Basically, when you consume foods that contain cholesterol, your liver adjusts itself by decreasing its own production.
This means that eating eggs does not increase the existing amounts of cholesterol in your body, you are simply replacing one type with another. Eggs actually contain high density lipoproteins (HDL) which are vital for the body and the brain.
HDL provides stability in every cell of your body and helps your body produce Vitamin D and hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.
If you are a diabetic, regular egg consumption can increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. To control your cholesterol levels, it would be best to avoid eating excessive amounts of sugar, eat more veggies, and exercise daily.
There is no recommended limit on how many eggs you should eat. Eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, but it is best to cook them without adding salt or fat, such as cooking them poached or hard boiled without added salt or scrambled without butter.
You must understand that frying eggs can increase the fat content by around 50%. Eating raw eggs may cause food poisoning, because eggs may contain the salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness.
Storing eggs safely
- Storing eggs safely help to make sure the bacteria from the eggs and eggshells do not spread.
- Store eggs in a cool, dry place, ideally in the fridge. Eggs need to be stored at a constant temperature below 20C and in most domestic kitchens, the fridge is the best place to keep them.
- Store eggs away from other foods. It’s a good idea to use your fridge’s egg tray, if you have one, because this helps to keep eggs separate.
- Eat dishes containing eggs as soon as possible after you’ve prepared them. If you’re not planning to eat them straight away, cool them quickly and then keep them in the fridge for up to two days. Cakes can safely be stored somewhere cool and dry as long as they don’t contain any additions such as custard or cream.
- If you have a hard-boiled egg that you want to keep in the fridge, don’t leave it more than 2-3 days.
Eggs have a shelf life of 28 days (from the date laid to their “best before” date). Eggs can be eaten a day or two after their “best before” date as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake.
Cooking eggs until both the white and yolk are solid will kill any bacteria, such as salmonella.
People who are in “at-risk” groups should only eat eggs, or food containing eggs, that have been thoroughly cooked.
Reasons why eggs are good for you
- Eggs are Full of Vitamins and Minerals– Including vitamins B, C, D, E, K, and more.
- Lower High Blood Pressure– The peptides present in eggs were shown to help reduce high blood pressure.
- Great Source of Protein– Eggs are a great source of protein, one egg contains 6 grams of protein.
- Omega 3’s– Eggs contain a high level of essential omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient and good for your heart.
- Nine Essential Amino Acids– Eggs are known as the perfect food as they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids.
- Can Lower Your Cholesterol– Eggs do contain cholesterol, however as mentioned above, studies have shown that those who consume eggs regularly had a reduced LDL and an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol).
- Boost Brain and Nerve Health-One egg contains 20% of the daily recommended intake of choline. Approximately 90% of Americans are choline deficient. Choline is essential for phospholipids used in all cell membranes. Adequate levels of choline are essential for brain and nerve health.
- Contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin– These carotenoids are an essential component for eye health and defend against the damaging effects of free radicals.
- Contain Tryptophan and Tyrosine– Two amino acids which have great antioxidant properties. Tryptophan is also important as it is converted to serotonin, a mood enhancer and converted into melatonin in the pineal gland, which benefits sleep.
- Reduced Risk of Macular Degeneration– Eggs protect your eyes from developing age-related macular degeneration due to the lutein and zeaxanthin present.
- Good Source of Vitamin B12– Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for the process of converting homocysteine into safe molecules, such as glutathione, an important antioxidant.
- Eggs Contain Calcium– One egg contains 50mg (5%) calcium. Although not a large source of calcium, an increased intake can reduce the risk of colon polyps and breast cancer.
- Eggs Do NOT Cause Heart Disease– The choline in eggs is a crucial nutrient to help reduce the inflammation that leads to heart disease.
- Reduce Birth Defects– Eggs contain folate, a nutrient which studies have shown to help prevent birth defects when consumed prenatally, one egg contains 44μg (11%) of folate.
- Good Source of Vitamin A– One egg contains 19% of the RDA for vitamin A, which plays an important role in improving the immune system.
- Promote Healthy Hair and Nails– The sulfur contained in eggs and the additional vitamins and minerals help promote hair and nail growth.
- Reduce Oxidative Stress– Selenium, an essential macronutrient contained in eggs helps reduce oxidative stress.
- Reduce Risk of Tumors– Eggs are an excellent source of selenium which has been associated with preventing cancer and in particular reducing tumors affecting the prostate.
- Eggs Protect Your Eyesight– Not only do they prevent macular degeneration, but the antioxidants in eggs also have been reported to protect eyes from damage related to UV exposure.
- Reduces Risk of Cataracts– The antioxidants have also been linked to reducing the risk of developing cataracts in old age.
- Improve Immune System Functioning– The iron contained in eggs helps support a healthy immune system and normal red blood cell production.
- Lose Weight– In a study from Louisiana State University, participants who ate eggs for breakfast instead of bagels, lost more weight and reported having more energy.
- Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer– A recent study found that women who consumed high amounts of choline, an abundant nutrient in eggs, were 24% less likely to get breast cancer.
- Source of Vitamin D– The majority of the population is deficient in vitamin D which is essential for boosting the immune system and preventing cancer. One egg contains 41 IU of the 600 IU recommend daily amount of vitamin D.
- Reduces Inflammation– The choline in eggs aids in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to increasing the risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, and type 2 diabetes.
- Beneficial for Fetal Development– The choline present in eggs is essential for pregnant women as it is crucial for proper fetal brain development and preventing neural tube defects.
- Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke– Several studies have shown that the nutrients in eggs help prevent blood clots, which reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- Improved Memory Function– The high amount of vitamins and nutrients in eggs, in particular choline, improves memory function and cognition.
- Eggs Can Be Inexpensive– Many are able to get eggs for a great price when bought from local farmers. Another option is to raise your own chickens! Not only does this help save money and provide you with more nutritional value, but you could sell eggs to those in the area to cover the cost of caring for them.
- Egg Variety– There are many ways to prepare eggs, whether you eat them raw, scramble them up in coconut oil, or boil them. You can also add great variety by adding in nutritious vegetables and herbs, such as to an omelet.
Traditional Egg Diet
The most popular version of the diet does not actually consist of eating only eggs, but it does involve getting the majority of your protein from eggs.
This diet is basically a variation of the Atkins diet where the focus is on restricting carbohydrate intake. In this version of the diet you eat….
- Two or more eggs for breakfast along with, grapefruit, low carbohydrate vegetables or lean protein.
- Lunch includes either another serving of eggs or a small portion of lean protein such as fish or chicken.
- Dinner includes either another serving of eggs or a small portion of lean protein such as fish or chicken.
Salads and low carbohydrate vegetables are allowed as desired.
- Fruits are generally limited to one to two serves daily.
- Carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes are strictly limited.
Extreme Egg Only Diet
The most extreme version of the diet involves eating only hard-boiled eggs and drinking water or crystal light drink mix for every meal.
Not only would dieters quickly grow tired of hardboiled eggs, they would quickly become malnourished, plus eggs have zero fiber which would lead to unhealthy bowel function.
This version should be avoided!
Sample Meal Plan
2 boiled eggs
Roast chicken without skin
2 egg omelet with spinach and tomato
Another diet meal plan sample
Breakfast: Eat two eggs (or more, depending on your weight and hunger level) along with a medium-sized piece of fruit such as an orange or grapefruit.
Lunch: Eat one or more eggs or a small serving size of lean protein such as chicken or fish.
Dinner: Eat one or more eggs along with one or more servings of vegetables and another small piece of fruit for dessert.
Obviously eating eggs alone is not a healthy way to lose weight and the extreme version of this diet is very dangerous for health. Dieters risk not only nutritional deficiency, but also severe disruption to their health and well-being.
When combined with good nutrition
The CSIRO has conducted a range of research on egg consumption, both in clinical trials and in a survey of more than 84,000 Australians, and found that egg consumption is actually linked to a number of positive health outcomes.
CSIRO says while their diet survey found the Australian diet scored rather poorly on average, those who ate the most eggs tended to have the better diet quality overall.
There’s certainly other research that shows having a good high protein breakfast can help reduce your overall intake over the day and minimize snacking.
Not only are eggs a relatively low-kilojoule protein source, with two eggs equivalent to one serve of protein, eggs also provide eleven vitamins and minerals, plus other components essential for good health.
Eggs are undeniably the perfect complement to an active lifestyle. Interestingly, the one demographic that is seeing less consumption of eggs is one that could most benefit – the elderly.
Older people eat fewer eggs and there are lots of nutrients in eggs that the diets of older people might be lacking, so we would particularly like to encourage older people to eat more eggs.
You should not rely solely on any food for your nutrition. Our bodies need different types of food in order to maintain optimal wellness.
The boiled egg diet is meant to be a short-term solution only and while eggs may be great to include as a regular part of your diet, the best egg diet will include other foods and allow your body to gain its nutrients from a variety of foods rather than just eggs.
The boiled egg diet is meant to help you reach your weight loss goals, but not to help you maintain your weight loss. Have a plan in place for after you complete the boiled egg diet to keep off your pounds.
Exercising and eating plenty of vegetables is essential, as is drinking water—and of course, you can keep eating hard boiled eggs. Provided you’re not sick of them, that is!
Thoughts from the author:
Shirley Chio is following a two hard boiled eggs for breakfast and meals in an 8 hour window now. She started the diet 3 weeks ago when her high blood raised to 140/100. She wanted to control her insulin and sugar, the main reason she got herself in a two eggs for breakfast diet. She lost weight in as fast as three weeks. This is her 4th week of the two eggs for breakfast diet. She is still observing the results of a pure 2 eggs for breakfast compared to having a combined 2 eggs and an all vegetable menu for breakfast. She definitely do not eat fruits in the morning to control her insulin though, she eats fruit in her second meal, which is about 3pm to 4pm. She eats a lot of bananas for her fruits, because it is the cheapest she can get.
Goldstein, M. C., & Goldstein, M. A. (2010). Healthy foods: Fact versus fiction. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.
The healthy way to eat eggs. NHS Choices.
Lori (2013). Are eggs good for you? 30 reasons to eat eggs. Health Extremist.