Pro Information and Review: by Dennis Hawkins
Is it possible to go on a weight loss diet whereby you can eat unlimited amounts of eggs, meat, and fat? The answer is yes. It is called the Egg Diet and is a variant of the Atkins diet. It sounds almost too good to be true, and has drawn fire from the mainstream diet organizations. “Unlimited fat?”, they scoff. Why, because there is a lot of money in the diet business and the Egg Diet doesn’t profit anyone except you and maybe your grocer. You see, like the Atkins diet, the Egg Diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. It is essentially the same kind of diet that a diabetic is supposed to be on - more or less.
How can something like this work? To answer that question, it is important to review a little basic biology. The first and most important thing to understand is that our bodies burn a very simple kind of sugar called “Glucose” and not fat. You hear the phrase “burning fat” all the time, but it is simply not scientifically correct. While your body does have the ability to convert stored fat into Glucose for fuel, it cannot actually burn fat directly.
The next thing to understand is where the glucose comes from. It can come from stored fat as was stated above, but your body will take it from the easiest source. This means your digestive system. The fat that is stored around your waist was put there for times of famine and your body won’t touch it if not necessary. Essentially, the purpose of the digestive system is to process food into Glucose.
Now, remember when I said that Glucose was a “simple” sugar? There are many other forms of sugars that are more complex. The kind of sugar that you have in your pantry is probably Sucrose. Your body cannot burn Sucrose without first converting it into Glucose. Fortunately, your digestive system is really good at that sort of thing and sugar that you eat gets converted into glucose within minutes - sometimes seconds - of being ingested. Therefore, it is important for the sake of this discussion to remember that all sugars are processed by your digestive system very rapidly.
Sugars are in the carbohydrate family - and so are starchy foods like bread, flour, pasta and potatoes. While sugars are the fastest substances that your digestive system can process into Glucose, starches are the next fastest. So fast in fact, that to your digestive system, there isn’t much difference. It takes only a few minutes to process certain starches, like bread for example, into Glucose.
Fats, on the other hand, are very complex molecules. Your digestive system has to really work hard to process fat into Glucose. Consequently, a lot of unprocessed fat simply passes on through and never gets converted. Another important thing to understand is that fat doesn’t get absorbed directly into the body like a lot of people seem to think. The fat in your body had to have once been Glucose, and through the magic of the pancreas and other organs, got converted into body fat.
Now, knowing this, what kind of food do you want to eat if you are trying to lose fat? Certainly not carbohydrates. With all those easy Glucose molecules coming in from your digestive system, there is certainly no reason for your body to try to burn any stored fat. Of course, you could simply cut way back on the amount of carbohydrates to practically nothing, but that would mean going hungry if you weren’t allowed to eat anything else. In fact, that is exactly how mainstream diets all work - starvation.
Here is where the Egg Diet fits into all of this. If you eat high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods, your digestive system cannot produce enough Glucose for your body to burn. Therefore, it has no choice but to convert the fat stored around your waist back into Glucose. The nice thing about this is that the amount of food isn’t all that important just so long as the total grams of carbohydrate is kept down. Now that you know how the Egg Diet works, you can put it into practice. The diet is simple. The goal is to reduce your carbohydrate intake to practically nothing, but not necessarily reduce your fat and calorie intake. You can eat all you want of high protein foods like eggs, cheese, and meat. You do not need to concern yourself with the amount of fat or calories that you are consuming - they are irrelevant. You can also eat many kinds of vegetables as long as they are not sweet or starchy. This means that a salad with tons of your favorite dressing is just fine, but a baked potato is off limits. In fact, all breads, sweets, pasta, and other starchy foods are off limits. Most processed food is also off limits because it is usually loaded with carbohydrates.
When in doubt, you can check the “Nutrition Facts” label on the product. But there is a catch. You see, after all those years of not having to work very hard, your digestive system is going to have a hard time the first several days on this diet. In other words, you’re going to get sick for a few days. You can expect to be extremely weak and possibly start shaking. Although not scientifically accurate, it is almost as though you are addicted to bread and the shakes are your body going through withdrawal. Therefore, it is a good idea to plan the start of your diet around your free time so that you don’t have to drive or operate dangerous machinery. In fact, if you don’t get sick, you are either very young or you are cheating too much. If it is neither of those, then you need to reexamine the foods that you are eating to make sure that they don’t contain more carbohydrates than you think.
Another drawback is the expense. While you don’t have to buy special foods from anybody, the quantity of meat that you must eat makes your grocery bill a lot higher than normal. The reason why this is called the Egg Diet is because eggs are allowed in unlimited quantities and don’t cost much. A typical breakfast consists of 4-6 fried eggs, 1-2 sausage patties, and a few strips of bacon. (Notice that there are no grits, oatmeal, jelly, orange juice, or toast on that list.)
Another thing to watch out for is meal neglect. For some reason, people who are on this diet become less interested in food and sometimes forget to eat. It sounds silly, but this diet definitely changes your body chemistry somewhat and meal neglect has been observed in more than a few people. It is important to eat at least three meals a day whether you are hungry or not. You should also make sure that you are getting plenty of fluids. Water is the best thing. Milk is acceptable in a pinch.
Soda pop is totally off limits - even diet soda. The reason for this is because diet soda contains an artificial sweetener called aspartame. The Atkins Research Center has discovered that aspartame inhibits your body from converting stored fat into glucose. If you absolutely have to have something sweet to drink, you can mix unsweetened Kool-Aid packets with Saccharin based artificial sweeteners. Saccharin does not block the fat to glucose conversion process. Also, don’t let the government cancer warning on the front of every Saccharin based sweetener fool you. The warning was put there by congress in the mid 1970’s and not by the FDA. It is there for political reasons and not medical ones. It is a tribute to the corruptness of the lawmakers of the 1970’s. Just disregard it. Saccharin has been in use for over a hundred years and nobody has ever gotten cancer from it yet.
Once you get going on this diet, you aren’t going to see any instant weight loss. The best that you will do is about 1-2 ounces a day. This means that it will take about a month to lose just two pounds. If you lost it faster, then you would really just be losing water - which is what actually happens with many mainstream “quickie” diets. All in all, this is probably the best diet ever devised. Who would have ever thought that you could eat as much meat and eggs as you want and still manage to lose weight. I tried it, and it works for me. If you try it, I hope it works for you as well.
The Egg Diet - Part 2
Here are a few loose ends about the Egg Diet that you may be wondering about:
Cholesterol: Many of you are probably wondering how the (Atkins) Egg Diet affects your cholesterol levels when you are allowed to eat large quantities of fat with no remorse. Well it seems that both carbohydrates and saturated fats are needed to produce cholesterol. Eliminate one of the ingredients, and you don’t have what it takes to make the stuff.
Remember from last month that your body doesn’t absorb fat and cholesterol directly, it has to be broken down by the digestive system first. Well I put that theory to the test. Before the diet, my blood was tested for several things. The same blood test was repeated after two months on the Egg Diet. The results, my triglycerides dropped from 282 to 192 - that’s almost a 100 point drop. My cholesterol dropped from 164 to 159. This good news is hard to believe and even astonished my doctor who knew about my diet. Not only that, but my blood pressure also dropped from 140 / 90 before the diet to 110 / 70. This was also good news.
While this isn’t proof that the Egg Diet is good for everyone, it certainly is proof that it is good for me. If you plan to start on the egg diet, have your doctor check your cholesterol levels before and after. I would be interested in seeing if other people have the same positive experience that I did.
Ketones: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a cheap and easy medical test to see what foods help YOU lose fat and what ones don’t? Of course, there is always the bathroom scale, but a scale can’t tell the difference between water weight and fat weight. Well, lucky for us, there is a cheap medial test you can do right in your own bathroom. It is a called Ketone test.
When your body needs glucose and isn’t getting enough from your digestive system, it will convert stored body fat into glucose. Ketones are chemical waste byproducts of this fat-to-glucose conversion. Although not scientifically correct, you can think of Ketones as being “Liquid Exhaust Fumes from Burning Fat”. These Ketones are picked up by the kidneys and expelled in the urine. The more Ketones that are present in the urine, the more fat you have lost.
If you go to the drug store, you can ask the pharmacist for a box of Ketone Test Strips. These little guys are thin strips of paper with a ketone indicator on the end. I just bought a bottle of 50 for about $10. You don’t have to use them every day, only when you are curious about the amount of fat you have lost. Essentially what you do is hold the business end of test strip in your urine stream and watch it change color. The box comes with a color chart on it so that you can match it up.
If you want to increase your fat loss rate, ketosis strips are a must. In my case, they always show a considerable increase in fat loss when I do moderate amounts of exercise.
Water: Adequate water intake is very important for successful fat loss. If you don’t drink enough water, you will probably either die or not lose any fat at the very least. If you work outside, you should be drinking about a gallon a day. For those that work inside, a half gallon should be sufficient. Of course, more is always better when it comes to water.
Unless you are under orders from your doctor, you should also avoid taking any kind of “water pills”. These pills cause your body to expel unnatural amounts of water. Most diet experts consider these pills as being somewhat dangerous.
I should also point out that soda pop, alcoholic beverages, and fruit juices are not the same as water. They contain large amounts of carbohydrates that mess up the Egg Diet. Even diet soda is bad. Diet soda contains aspartame which has been shown to inhibit ketosis.
If you need to drink something sweet, try getting unsweetened Kool-Aid packets and mix them up with one ounce (two tablespoons) of liquid saccharin and half a gallon of water. Unlike aspartame, saccharin doesn’t inhibit ketosis. You can buy liquid saccharin in the grocery store under the trade name “Superose”.
Three Meals Daily: One side effect of this diet is the lack of interest in eating. So therefore, you may find yourself wanting to skip several meals in a row. When that happens, you should resist the temptation to skip a meal and eat anyway. Part of the way that the Egg Diet works is by keeping things regular. Skipping a meal actually hurts more than it helps.
Bad Press: For reasons unknown to me, the Atkins Egg Diet has been attacked by the press and dietitians. They stress the diets bad points as if to imply that this is all you can expect from it. For example, I saw a report on TV the other day about how some people were getting sick with the Atkins diet. Well of course they are, getting sick for the first few days is a normal part of the diet! However, I didn’t hear them telling everyone about that.
Before Copernicus, the common scientific belief was that the Earth was the center of the universe and everything else, including the sun, revolved around the Earth. When Copernicus came out and said that the sun was the true center of the solar system and that the Earth revolved around it, there was outrage. Copernicus was ridiculed by the so called “experts” of the day. Of course, today we know that Copernicus was right and the “experts” were wrong.
The same thing is happening right now with “expert” dietitians and the Atkins Egg Diet. These people have gone to college to become “expert” dietitians. They have devoted most of their lives toward studying diets. They have always been taught that fat in the diet is bad. Now here comes the Atkins egg diet which says that all of what they have learned about fat in the diet isn’t entirely accurate.
Speaking for myself, the Egg Diet has markedly improved my overall health, caused me to lose fat (about 20 pounds so far), and considerably improved my blood chemistry. The “experts” can say what they want. I am sticking to the Egg Diet for now.