Heard About the Egg Fast to Break a Stall? (It Works!)

Decorated Easter Eggs
Egg Fast is the hottest low-carb stall buster
that I am currently aware of.

Weight-loss stalls can be frustrating, I know. Even when you've done everything right, and haven't cheated, the scales can still refuse to budge. There are a variety of stall-busting methods that seem to work for many people. This Egg Fast, originally created by Jimmy Moore, is one of them. You do need to love eggs, but if you do, it would also be an excellent alternative for getting into ketosis fast.



If you have stalled on your low-carb diet, or you just want to give yourself a hefty shove toward ketosis, you might consider doing an egg fast. An egg fast is a short-term diet intervention created by Jimmy Moore in 2010 to kick your low-carb diet into high-gear.

Originally called a Low-Carb Eggfest, by following the protocols he set up for himself, Jimmy was able to lose 28 pounds in 30 days eating this way.

You do need to like eggs, of course.

Probably LOVE eggs, no doubt.

But that's a no-brainer, as the majority of your protein on this egg fast comes from eggs. 

Jimmy did allow himself a little bit of hard cheese, some grass-fed butter, and a diet soda here and there, so the fast is appropriate for vegetarians, but for the most part, this is a low-carb egg diet that's specifically designed to get the scales moving in the right direction again. It wasn't originally set up to be a crash diet, although most people use it that way.

Hard Boiled Egg Slicer
One of the surprises for me is that this Egg Fast
doesn't result in dieters gaining the weight back.
At least, not for those who have shared their story online.


Over the past week, I've read a lot of material on this highly effective weight-loss fast. I was more than a little curious as to the science behind why the egg diet works, and why most of the people who do this fast for 3 to 5 days, or more, are seeing so much success, without regaining a lot of the weight once they transfer back to a regular low-carb diet.

I have a few ideas about why this works and what might be really going on, which would be useful for those who don't particularly want to eat eggs three times a day.

But first:

Let's take a close-up view of the original egg fast itself.


Jimmy Moore's Original Egg Fast Diet


In March of 2010, after returning from the third annual low-carb cruise, a few of Jimmy's fans, having seen his cruise pictures, called him out to address his severe low-carb relapse. 

His weight regain problems were not new. 

His weight had been going in the wrong direction off-and-on since December 2007, after taking a creatine supplement.

I found that little tidbit interesting because I had a similar experience. I'd accidentally purchased a large container of whey protein that contained creatine and after discovering the mistake, I continued packing on the pounds even after I stopped using it.


Chocolate Protein Shake
I can relate to Jimmy's experience
since the same thing happened to me.



I'd forgotten all about that until I re-read Jimmy's story while searching through his archives for the rules that went along with his original egg diet. Some of Jimmy's readers openly voiced their concerns about his weight regain. In their mind, either the low-carb diet didn't work as well as he claimed it did, or Jimmy wasn't actually following it appropriately. 

They wanted to know which it was.

This was back before Nutritional Ketosis was a “thing.” Even so, Jimmy has always been fond of high-fat low-carb diets, so he decided to construct a simple high-fat meat-free diet that would allow him to be consistent, as well as include low-carb foods he could enjoy. The following Egg Fast was the result.

With that little bit of egg-fast background in mind, here are the 10 rules Jimmy Moore came up with for himself:
  1. Eggs were the primary source of protein.
  2. 1 tablespoon of grass-fed butter, or some other healthy fat source, was added for each egg he ate.
  3. He ate at least 1 egg within 30 minutes of waking up.
  4. He spaced his meals about 3 hours apart, but never went longer than 5 hours without eating something.
  5. If not hungry, he ate a 1 egg snack instead of a meal.
  6. He also allowed himself up to 1 ounce of hard cheese per egg.
  7. He never ate fewer than 6 eggs per day.
  8. Eggs were local, pastured eggs, heavy on omega-3 and Vitamin D.
  9. He stopped eating 3 hours before going to bed.
  10. He allowed himself a maximum of 3 diet sodas per day, and aimed at drinking only 1 or less.
These original egg-fast rules were created to fit within Jimmy's tastes, lifestyle, and metabolic defects. These were the 10 rules he followed during his own 30-day egg fast.

Since then, a few bloggers and other low-carb dieters have tweaked his rules a bit to fit within their own tastes, lifestyles, and metabolic issues, so if you go in search of additional egg-fast material, like I did, you're going to find a wide variety of rules and tweaks to what Jimmy originally did.

When slightly tweaked, the changes won't affect the final outcome for the diet. That points to either the calorie level, or maybe the eggs themselves, as being the driving factor most responsible for the huge losses that people are having by following this short-term fasting diet. 

Although, some people have wondered if it is the drop in protein that causes the weight loss, consuming 12 eggs a day would be 72 grams of protein. That's certainly mainstream, even though it is at the bottom of the range that I usually recommend. 

In addition, this meatless diet also includes 4 to 6 ounces of cheese along with those eggs. Four ounces of cheese would add another 24 grams of protein to the diet, for a total of 96! That's a whopping 96 grams of protein without having to eat any meat!

Even 8 eggs a day plus four ounces of cheese results in 72 grams of protein, more than many LCHF women are consuming today, so when followed as Jimmy wrote it, the egg diet doesn't lower protein at all. If anything, it makes your protein more adequate.

First Oddity I Noticed


Jimmy posted a picture of a Ketostix (or whatever brand he used back then) having turned a dark shade of purple. 

This Ketostix reaction was allegedly the result of being on the egg fast. If that was true, that moving from his normal low-carb diet to the egg fast caused the Ketostix to turn purple, then that means one of two things:
  • He was not fat adapted.
  • His glycogen stores were full.
If either, or both, of those conditions were true, then the egg fast causes the body to go into the glycogen depletion normally seen on Atkins Induction.


The reason I say this is because the type of ketones that spill over into the urine are drastically reduced when the body starts to burn fatty acids for fuel instead of ketones. Fat adaption stops this spillage because acetoacetate ketones are converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate, the type of ketones used by the brain.

Full glycogen stores doesn't mean Jimmy wasn't in ketosis or fat adapted. Protein not immediately needed for energy or structural repair is turned into glycogen and stored. This is more likely to happen in a glycogen-depleted situation where carbohydrates are restricted, which is exactly what a low-carb diet does. 

How Much Weight Can You Expect to Lose on the Egg Fast?


Omelet with Fresh Herbs
Average low-carb dieter can expect to lose 5 pounds,
but if you are not actually stalled, you won't see
those types of losses.

I next went in search of people who had tried this egg fast to see what type of weight loss they were experiencing, and whether or not they were able to keep from regaining their losses after returning to a normal low-carb diet.

Most of the bloggers and low-carb dieters I ran into on the web had drastically reduced Jimmy's 30-day egg diet to a more reasonable 3 to 5-day egg fast. They also were not eating the vast amounts of fats and cheese included in the original rules.

Within those 3 to 5 days, the average rate of weight loss was 5 pounds, about what you might expect to see within the first 3 to 5 days on Atkins Induction.

However, most of these people were not eating the amount of calories that Jimmy was. Many of the dieters I looked at stuck to Dr. Atkins 4-ounce daily limit for hard cheese and averaged maybe 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra fat, even though they were consuming 8 to 12 eggs daily (48 to 72 grams of protein + 24 grams of protein in the cheese).

A few dieters who were on a LCHF diet before going on the fast spread their fat intake out during the day, rather than just eating it along with their eggs.

For example:

They continued their daily habit of drinking bullet-proof coffee for breakfast, and then cut down on their fat intake later that morning. Substituting cream cheese for hard cheese is also quite popular today, even though that drives down the protein content of the diet.

Other dieters ate much less fat than recommended, since eggs are already high in fat, but still enjoyed the same drastic weight loss as those who ate more.

When moving back to a standard low-carb diet, the weight regain tended to be about ½ pound. After that, most people saw a slight 3 to 5 day stall, and then their weight began to go down, although at a much slower pace than they experienced while eating just eggs.

A few people did experience a total relapse upon returning to a regular low-carb diet, and as a result, they regained everything they lost within a few short weeks.

Some bloggers attributed the relapse phenomenon to not moving back into low carb slow enough. 

However, the weight gain was more likely due to how much these dieters were eating on their low-carb diet before doing the fast. The transitional meals that some of these dieters shared online included huge amounts of meats and additional fatty foods, such as avocado and nuts.

If you were overeating before going on the Egg Fast, the fast won't magically allow you to return to eating large amounts of food, not without regaining the amount of weight you lost during fasting.

Why Does the Egg Fast Work?


Jimmy's first week saw a huge success for him. He lost a whopping 14.2 pounds eating nothing but eggs, grass-fed butter, and cheese. Since his menu blog is no longer alive, I couldn't retrace how much he was actually eating during that time, but the egg fast results he got indicate that his glycogen stores were full before he started fasting.

If that is true, then the egg regimen sets up an Induction situation where you can lose the glycogen and kick your fat-burning back into high gear. This is accomplished by keeping protein and carbohydrates to a bare minimum, with condiments, spices, and processed foods not allowed at all.

Some of the bloggers who tweaked Jimmy's diet did add a small amount of low-carb condiments and sugar-free herbs and spices to their fast to make just eggs more palatable.

Overall, the egg fast is a zero-carb or very-low-carb diet, depending on how you implement it, where the only carbohydrates you eat are in the eggs, cheese, and condiments you use, such as mustard and vinegar. 

At these minimal levels, your daily carbohydrate total would come to about 7 or 8 carbs, if you only ate 6 eggs per day. Most people eat between 8 and 12, so your total would more likely be 8 to 10 carbs.

Eight to 10 carbs puts you in a solid Atkins 72 Induction, especially since the allowable foods easily fit within that plan if you stick to only hard cheeses like cheddar or Parmesan. If you decide to use cream cheese to replace some of the hard cheese allowed on the plan, you're simply doing Atkins 92.

Eggs are moderate in both protein and high in fat.


Soft Boiled Egg Cracked Open on a Spoon
Eggs are high in choline, so they help to prevent liver fat.

They are the perfect low-carb food. At 6 grams of protein each, their fat content is an Atkins-friendly 65%, the ratio that Dr. Atkins recommended in 1972. 

They are also high in choline, a B vitamin that the liver uses to metabolize fats. If you're low in choline, your liver won't be able to export the fat you eat. Unexported fats, or fats not used by the liver to create ketones, are stored in the liver, rather than burned for fuel.

If using eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids, that could also play a role in why the egg fast works.

Commercially grown and processed meats have an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 50:1 on the average, which can cause you to be seriously deficient in omega-3 if you're not regularly eating salmon or eggs higher in these essential fatty acids.

While grass-fed animals rate a bit better, often 20:1, that's still not enough to produce the proper ratio of 1:1, or even the 3:1 that the medical community recommends without regularly eating wild fish or taking a fish oil supplement.

How Much Protein Does the Egg Fast Have if You Eat Cream Cheese?


I next looked at what the protein content of the fast provides in connection with the amount of cream cheese that many dieters use.

At 6 eggs a day, what many claim to be eating, your daily protein amount would only be 36 grams. If so, that would leave you severely deficient in protein and cause the body to burn muscle for its amino acid needs. If you added the 6 ounces of cheese that Jimmy used, 1 ounce per egg, your daily protein would be 78 grams a day, and fall within an adequate level.

For most people, this would work well. However, most people don't eat that much cheese, and many more are using cream cheese instead of cheddar or Swiss.

Looking at the average dieter who eats 8 eggs with 3 to 4 ounces of hard cheese on a typical day, you'll get about 69 to 76 grams of protein daily, provided you are eating the hard cheese that Jimmy recommended, rather than cream cheese. 

While hard cheese contains about 7 grams of protein per ounce, an ounce of cream cheese only has 2 grams of protein

Eating 8 eggs and 3 ounces of cream cheese would only give you 54 grams of protein. Even if you added an ounce of cheddar to that, you'd still only be at 61. That is not high enough to avoid muscle wasting in most people.

When I ate 60 grams of protein for 90 days, I lost a lot of muscle and gained a lot of weight, due to the amount of fat I was eating. This could be another reason why the egg regimen works so well. You could be burning muscle tissue over those 3 to 5 days, just as the latest scientific research showed, which would account for part of the weight loss seen on the scale.

Is Fasting Dangerous Then?


On a short-term fast, burning muscle isn't dangerous. The body turns to damaged protein structures first, which is what it also does during Atkins Induction. But, if you decide to extend the fast or you want to cycle this meatless diet with a more traditional low-carb plan, then the amount of protein you get on those egg-diet days will matter.

If you burn good muscle to supply your protein needs, your basic metabolic rate will drop and you will put your life in danger.

What the Egg Fast Can Do For You


Egg Muffins Make a Quick and Easy Meal
Egg Muffins make a quick and easy egg-only meal.


From everything I've read, the Egg Fast is a simple way to crash through a stall or weight-loss plateau, but it can backfire if you don't take certain precautions.

Going 5 to 7 days eating from such a limited food list will cause the diet to work like an allergen elimination plan. If you suddenly go back to how you were eating before the fast, you can have a violent food reaction or you might even return to your previous weight.

Eating nothing but eggs, cheese, and fats works because it lowers your calories and switches up your diet, putting you into a deeper state of ketosis and eliminating foods you might be sensitive to.

For that reason, it's best to return foods to your dietary plan slowly, so you can watch how your body reacts to certain foods. This will allow you to find the offender and make a conscious choice to either eliminate it from your low-carb plan or accept how it contributes to weight management.

How to Transition Back to Low Carb Safely


When transitioning back to low carb, try having two egg meals, one for breakfast and one for lunch. Then switch to another low-carb meat for dinner instead of having eggs again. On the next day, you might choose to add back something else.

Keep in mind that as you return meat to your diet, including vegetables and salads, you're going to be upping the calorie content of your meals and snacks from what they were during fasting. Eggs are 80 calories each, which is about equal to the calories in fatty meat, but most people eat more than 2 to 3 ounces of meat per meal.

If you switch out 3 hard-boiled eggs for lunch (240 calories) to a quarter pound burger patty with cheese, some sliced avocado, and a side salad drenched in full-fat dressing, your calories are going to go way up. Those higher calories multiplied across three meals and snacks can cause your weight to stall again, just as it was stalled before you started the fast.

One of the most important things that the egg fast can do for you is show you how your previous food habits were affecting your weight. 

With that kind of valuable information, you can then decide how to tweak what you're doing to give you the permanent results you want. However, those tweaks have to be deliberate and with a certain amount of awareness or the body will mindlessly find way to adapt to those tweaks.


What If You Don't Want to Eat Eggs 3 Times a Day?


If you don't want to eat eggs three times a day:

First, sit down and create an all-egg menu. Count up the:
  • protein grams
  • carbohydrate grams
  • fat grams
  • and calories
And then carefully switch out more traditional low-carb foods to fit within those macros.

If you just can't get those eggs down without some bacon, then you could either try a bacon-and-egg diet or use the bacon to replace some of the fat that's allowed per egg. Bacon is 3 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fat per slice, so two slices of bacon would equal 1 egg and half of a tablespoon of fat.

With that in mind, 2 eggs fried in 1-1/2 teaspoons of bacon fat or butter and 2 slices of bacon would equal a 3-egg breakfast.

Alternatively, you could also skip the bacon and eggs and have 3 ounces of meat (4 ounces of raw boneless meat) along with your ounce of cheese and fat allotment for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Eating like that for 3 to 5 days won't replace the choline in the bacon and the eggs unless you make it a point to eat other high-choline choices, such as:
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy flour
  • pork rinds
  • beef round
  • beef chuck
  • top sirloin
  • pork butt
  • salmon
  • ham
  • deer
That's more work than some people might be willing to go to because you'd also have to figure out how to make up for the lack of fats in the meat when compared to the fat in 6 to 12 eggs, plus the extra fats.


If you're going to cycle with traditional low carb and want to make your new plan more livable, it might be worth the extra effort.

Alternatively, you could also just start adding a few extra eggs into your daily menus and cut down on the amount of calories you're eating that way. There's no reason why you can't have an omelet for dinner and hard-boiled eggs for snacks.

If that's not a workable solution for you, the standard egg fast, which only lasts 3 to 5 days, might be an easier option to break through that stubborn low-carb stall you're having.

Additional Low-Carb Diets and Advice to Help Jump Start Weight Loss:

Three Ways to Jump-Start Your Low-Carb Diet
Get the Skinny on the Atkins Fat Fast
Dr. Atkins Advice to Those Who are Metabolically Resistant
What to DO if the Atkins Diet Isn't Working for You
Our Mega Guide: 31 Reasons You are Not Losing Weight on Atkins


Comments

  1. Thank you for this site! I also looking for advice. I have been in ketosis for almost three months. No weight loss at all. The first week I dumped a lot of water and then it came back ( 4-5 lbs) I've been doing VLCHF. About 6-10 carbs, 80-90 gr fat and about 40-50 gram of protein. I'm 5'4 have gotten up to 210( from 185 this spring after having major surgery late winter) I'm 49 and as of my last physical in April, not in menopause. I've always been pretty active and muscular, I can tell I am losing muscle, it's hard for me to exercise. I have very little energy. At 185 I was a size 8/10 not skinny but fine for me. Now I'm pushing a size 14 and I feel like my body is completely out of control and betraying me. No thyroid issues that have been detected. I like that I have no cravings and little hunger on this woe. I would love this to work. I was a raw vegan for eight years, after losing almost 80 pounds that way, bu t in the last four years I've had three major surgeries and betweenness reding more protein for recovery and healing plus the Ina it its that comes with that. It seems that the raw vegan way doesn't work for me any longer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...oh and why I cam commenting, even egg fasts have not shed any weight on me! 😔

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're trying to do LCHF while recovering from 2 major surgeries? On 40 to 50 grams of protein per day? And only 10 carbs, or less? Your body is not out of control. You're starving!

      Losing muscle is "always" a sign that you are not eating enough protein. When you don't eat enough protein, the body will strip your muscles for the amino acids it needs.

      For your age, weight, and height, you need 90 grams of protein per day.

      I ran your stats through the Keto Calculator that's linked to at the top of the right sidebar. It says your maintenance calories are 1725 or so. That's what it takes to maintain the 210 pounds. A 20% deficit would be 1380 calories, which should consist of 20 net carbs, 90 grams of protein, and 104 grams of fat.

      It sounds like you need to eat more, especially if you were on a raw foods diet for 8 years. A raw foods vegan diet usually puts you into starvation, due to the protein deficiency. If that's what's going on, there is no way your body is going to give up its fat stores until it's sure that you are not in a starvation situation. It will put up a good fight.

      If it were me, I'd eat at maintenance for awhile and let the body get the nutrition it needs to heal.

      Delete
  3. Hi and thanks for sharing your experience with us. I admire people who really pursue being healthy and taking the first steps to a great lifestyle. I was in the same predicament last week when I learned that my cousin is getting married in 2 weeks. I was overweight by about 10 pounds and this looks like a good occasion for me to start shedding the pounds. I started the 3 day military diet and felt great that it has a set meal plans and the food selection were low carb and inexpensive. Most are fruits, veggies and lean meat. Although some of the dieters were vegetarians, they were able to do the diet by replacing some food with Tofu and other non-meat products. If you want to take a look at the diet and maybe make a review of it, here’s a good resource link http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/faq/eggs-in-military-diet.html

    ReplyDelete

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