Quick Guide: The Egg Fast Explained

One of the hottest diet plans today is the high fat, low carb ketogenic diet and it is completely contrary to the typical low fat, high carb diets encouraged by doctors and nutritionists. The keto diet encourages you to consume most of your calories as healthy fat and includes different fasting methods such as an egg fast. The idea behind this way of eating to train your body to use fat as an energy source, including the fat already stored on your body, instead of the glucose your body produces after eating high carbohydrate foods. It has many other benefits for your body, including weight loss.

What Is An Egg Fast?

A typical fast is when you go a period of time without eating. But an egg fast is really what it sounds like. All eggs, all the time. You can fry them for breakfast (with real butter or a healthy fat like coconut oil), boil them for lunch, and poach them for dinner. You can even have up to an ounce of cheese mixed in to add to the protein and calorie count. If you don't care for cheese, or are intolerant, you can add coconut oil to coffee or tea to get the recommended amount of fat.

Who Thought Of The Egg Fast?

Jimmy Moore, the man thought to have developed this fast, follows a low carb diet, similar to a ketogenic diet. When he realized he wasn’t experiencing further weight loss, he built a plan which includes easy protein, healthy fats, and very low in carbohydrates. He consulted with his doctor and low carb experts to make sure that an egg fast would be safe for him and his health. As expected, his egg fast caused his weight loss to resume and he was able to continue eating food which fit easily into his lifestyle.

When To Use An Egg Fast

An egg fast is not an everyday occurrence, even on a ketogenic diet. Your body needs a variety of foods, even low carb ones. A fast can be a way to shock your body out of a routine by either restricting something or adding something new to the mix. You may be suffering from insulin resistance and find that even low amounts of carbohydrates can affect your body in adverse ways. Your weight loss may be at a plateau and you’d like to see the inches come off around your waist. A fast may be just what is needed to wake up your metabolism.


Egg Fast Sample Menu

How Many Carbs and Calories?

Let's look at a typical day of eating by following the guidelines set below where you eat every 3 hours.  For example, if you were to eat breakfast at 8am, you would also eat at 11am, 2pm and 5pm.  So there is a total of 4 meals in that day.  There are several options of ways to eat at Egg Fast by pairing the eggs with cheese, fat, a combination, or in our menu, a healthy avocado.

Each egg has about 1 gram of carbohydrates and about 75 calories.  Your calorie intake for the day depends on how many eggs you eat and what kind of cheese or fat you choose to go with them.  Below is a sample of a day's menu with 4 different types of Egg Fast Menus: the "Original" Egg Fast keeps the meals to only egg and cheese; the "Fatty" Egg Fast mixes up different fats with eggs, in this menu mayonnaise and butter; the "Combo" Egg Fast mixes in cheese with various fats; and the "Healthy" Egg Fast brings in avocado to replace some fat.  We bring avocados into the "Healthy" Egg Fast because there is a complete lack of fiber in the other egg fast menus - and we hate to do that to our digestive systems.  Avocados round out the menu by being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals while still allowing for plenty of eggs!

 Original Egg FastFatty Egg FastMix It Up Egg FastHealthy Egg Fast
Meal 12 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 1 oz butter2 eggs + 1 oz butter2 eggs + 2 oz cheese
Meal 22 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 2 oz mayo2 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 1/2 cup avocado
Meal 32 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 1 oz butter2 eggs + 2 oz mayo2 eggs + 2 oz cheese
Meal 42 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 2 oz mayo2 eggs + 2 oz cheese2 eggs + 1/2 cup avocado
Total Calories1462 kcal1309 kcal1385 kcal1244 kcal
% Fat70%82%76%69%
% Protein27%15%22%25%
% Net Carbs3% (11 grams)3% (8.5 grams)3% (9.7 grams)6% (10.2 grams net carbs, 10.1 grams fiber)

Keep in mind that each serving of fat is a different size: ie, butter is higher calorie than mayonnaise per ounce, etc, so you want to make sure you have the serving size correct.

If the idea of eggs three meals a day seems unappealing, you can spice up your eggs with salt, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and enjoy different types of full-fat cheeses.


The Benefits of an Egg Fast

Everyone hits weight loss plateaus at some time in their diet. The scale just doesn’t move for weeks on end and your clothes aren’t getting any looser. This is fairly typical as our bodies adapt to our food intake. Since this fast is extremely low in carbohydrates, your body uses calories from fat as energy rather than stored as body fat. The egg fast makes it easy to get in the foods and macros required to put your body into a fat burning mode, it can be used to help get passed a weight loss stall.

How Does An Egg Fast Work?

Eggs happen to include a lot of important lipids and amino acids that help your body, in particular, your liver, to metabolize fat and convert it into energy. People suffering from fatty liver disease often have a lack of these.

Choline

Choline is a lipid in the liver which is responsible for helping your body use or gets rid of excess fat. This is found in the yolks of eggs, which have gotten a bad reputation from the popular media as a cause of high cholesterol. This, in turn, may have led to a choline deficiency and, indirectly, obesity.   If you haven't heard, the FDA's dietary intake recommendation of cholesterol in foods has been increased by a huge amount - primarily because the association of dietary cholesterol (cholesterol in foods) and cardiovascular disease risk has proven to be minimal at best.

Choline is also associated with reduced inflammatory markers, and has many other additional benefits.[II]  Choline aids your liver in metabolizing fats and glucose. [III]

The recommended daily in-take for choline in women is 425 mg/day and in men is 550 mg/day.[I]  In one large egg is about 145 mg of choline, and this is mostly contained in the egg yolk.  Other foods high in choline are beef liver and wheat germ, as well as beef, scallops and salmon.

Why Does An Egg Fast Work?

With the drastic reduction in carbohydrates, your body has to rely on a different source of energy. You know that your body can burn fat as fuel, that’s clear when you experience weight loss on any reduced calorie diet. The pancreas stops dumping an overabundance of insulin to break down carbs and sugars and your liver begins breaking down fat into calories. This process is called ketosis, which is the goal of the keto diet. You may eat between 10 and 15 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is lower than even the recommended 20 grams most low carb diets recommend to beginners. Your calorie intake will most likely be reduced as well because the higher fat & protein content will help you feel full - and feeling full will result in the consumption of fewer calories.

Egg Fast Guidelines

DO
• Eat whole eggs
• Use butter, coconut oil and herbs, spices, and condiments
• Eat every 3-5 hours, even if you’re not hungry
• Eat the yolks and the whites
• Eat up to an ounce of cheese with each serving
• Use the ratio of 1-ounce fatty cheese to every 1 egg

DO NOT
• Eat just the whites or just the yolks
• Add carbs or sweetened flavorings
• Eat late at night
• Let yourself get hungry
• Go more than 5 hours without eating


Egg Recipes and Ideas

The egg fast doesn’t have to be boring. There are hundreds of ways to prepare eggs, even without tossing in vegetables or sugar. Breakfast could be crepes which taste like snickerdoodles or scrambled eggs with cream cheese. Egg salad with red pepper and full-fat mayonnaise would make a simple lunch or you could prepare them as deviled eggs season with your favorite herbs and cheese. Dinner can be as simple as a cheddar cheese omelet or if you’re craving something sweet, a type of custard that can be flavored with any calorie-free extract. The key to this diet is to change what you’re eating so you don’t feel like you are eating eggs all the time.

Another option would be to modify to a 14-Day Egg Fast, which allows other sources of protein such as lean meats and reduce your menu to one egg based meal a day. You are also allowed low carbohydrate vegetables such as broccoli or spinach. A Grapefruit and Egg fast requires half a grapefruit with each egg-based meal. No other fruit is permitted.

Common Misconceptions

Fasting of any type is not necessary on the keto diet. Many followers of the lifestyle advocate intermittent fasting so your body relies on its own fuel to induce weight loss. The egg fast is helpful for jump starting your diet when you’ve hit a plateau, but there are methods you could try.

Another common misconception of the egg fast is the frequency at which you should consume food. Even though your calories will be reduced, too few can be dangerous for your health. High fat and protein content lead to a satiated feeling so you may not want to eat. Eat when the fast advises so you get the most benefits from the fast.

An egg fast is not for everyone. It is incredibly restrictive so if you’re new to the ketogenic diet or a low carb lifestyle, you may find your willpower weakening and not finding that satiated feeling brought on by the high-fat content. It may not be ideal for people with liver issues since the lipids and amino acids are meant to help with healthy liver function.

The modern high carbohydrate diet also leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Eating a diet exclusively of eggs will not provide you with what you need to have your body performing at its best. If you suffer from any of type of deficiencies, an egg fast would likely not improve your health.

A big issue with the egg fast is the lack of carbohydrates to help relieve constipation. Eggs and cheese have a negligible amount of fiber and a lot of slow digesting protein. Now, soda, tea, and coffee with full-fat heavy cream are acceptable on the plan, but even with water, it isn’t enough liquid to make up for the lack of the fiber you would otherwise get from vegetables. Many keto dieters and low carb advocates take natural psyllium supplements to take in more fiber without having an impact on blood sugar.

Success Story

Mellissa Sevigny of “I Breathe, I’m Hungry” shared her success on the egg fast as well as the recipes she created to keep herself from being bored with too many eggs. She ate between 7 and 10 eggs each day, as well as cream cheese, Marscapone and any number of full-fat condiments and herbs for flavor. She used the egg fast to get past a plateau and as part of her ketogenic lifestyle. Many people experience success on this fast and will follow it often, despite a slight gain when the fast is completed.

The egg fast can be a helpful tool to add to your diet lifestyle. Due to the restriction in calories and lack of other sources of vitamins and minerals, it does not lend itself to long-term use. When used with a low carb diet or the keto diet, it can help push your body into a fat burning mode and get you past a plateau. This can be great for self-esteem and give you the drive to continue a diet which is so different from what the typical American is eating. With planning and a love of eggs, this fast could be what you need to direct your diet towards meeting your long-term weight loss goals.


References:

I Nutr Rev. 2009 November ; 67(11): 615–623. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x  "Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health" Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D.corresponding author and Kerry-Ann da Costa, Ph.D.

II Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute, Jane Higdon, Ph.D.
III . 2014 Jul; 6(7): 2552–2571.   "The Effects of Choline on Hepatic Lipid Metabolism, Mitochondrial Function and Antioxidative Status in Human Hepatic C3A Cells Exposed to Excessive Energy Substrates."  Jie Zhu, Yang Wu, Qingya Tang, Yan Leng, and Wei Cai.

 

2 Comments
  1. Hi,
    When we do an egg fast, what are our macros supposed to look like? Should I still be trying to hit my daily macros? Or just fats?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Devyn, For an Egg Fast you wouldn’t necessarily be hitting your personal macros exactly. With a ratio of 1 egg to every ounce of cheese (I’m using cheddar cheese in this example), the macros will be 70% fat, 27% protein and 3% carbs…which is nicely ketogenic.
      Remember no matter how you take in calories, they’re calories, so if you are trying to lose weight with a specific calorie allotment each day, that wouldn’t change.
      And remember that an egg fast really cuts down on carbs, even past what you would normally do – and it’s part of the purpose of it.
      Keep in mind there’s no real studies/results to an egg fast, only people’s personal experiences that it may help get past a weight loss plateau.

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