The bizarre 1977 ‘wine and eggs’ diet that promised Vogue readers a drop of 5 pounds in 3 days
A daily bottle of wine, paired with three hard-boiled eggs, doesn’t sound like the optimum way to lose weight.
But open a copy of Vogue in November 1977, and that is exactly the advice you will find.
The ‘wine and eggs’ diet, first made popular in the 1962 book Sex And The Single Girl, is a three-day plan that promises a weight loss of up to five pounds and for women to feel ‘sexy, exuberant and full of the joie de vivre’.
The book, written by future editor of Cosmopolitan Helen Gurley Brown, offered women advice on how to stretch their money when it comes to eating and decorating, how to eat well, and encouraged them to have sex before marriage.
For breakfast it’s one hard-boiled egg and a glass of white wine, for lunch it’s two more eggs and two more glasses, and for dinner it’s a steak and the rest of the bottle – with a cup of black coffee accompanying each meal.
Three nutritionists told Daily Mail Online that the rigidness and lack of calories in the diet not only leads to dehydration but, once followers go back to eating normally, they will gain back any weight they lost.
Three nutritionists explained to Daily Mail Online why consuming three hard-boiled eggs, one five-ounce steak and one bottle of white wine every day for three days as part of a crash diet is not sustainable
In the original diet in featured Sex and the Single Girl, Gurley Brown promised her readers that they’d drop six pounds in two days.
But nutritionists say this is only because followers are consuming less than 1,200 calories a day and eliminating a number of food groups that provident essential nutrients.
‘There’s no dairy, and no fruits and vegetables so you’re missing a lot of vitamins and nutrients you get from fresh produce as well as healthy antioxidants,’ Lara Metz, founder of Lara Metz Nutrition in New York, told Daily Mail Online.
Tammy Lakatos Shames, of the Nutrition Twins in New York, said the lack of fiber is also concerning.
‘You’re not eating fruits or vegetables or bread so you’re missing out on fiber, which means you’ll likely be constipated and won’t be able to go to the bathroom,’ she told Daily Mail Online.
‘There’s also no water to push anything through and clear your digestive tract.’
The nutritionists all agreed that eggs are a healthy source of protein and of nutrients such as choline and vitamin D.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ‘WINE AND EGGS’ DIET
Length: Three days
Claim of weight loss: Five pounds
- One hard boiled egg
- One glass of white wine
- Black coffee
- Two hard-boiled eggs (poached, if necessary)
- Two glasses of white wine
- Black coffee
- Five-ounce steak grilled with black pepper and lemon juice
- Remainder of the white wine (one bottle allowed per day)
- Black coffee
But Lakatos Shames says that for clients who are suffering from high cholesterol, she recommends no more than four eggs in one week.
‘With this diet, you’re almost eating four in one day and, with the steak, that’s a source of saturated fat that could clog the arteries, so you have to be careful,’ she said.
The number of glasses of wine per day – or in this case, bottles – also presented a problem to the nutritionists.
‘I can’t even give you a single benefit of drinking a whole bottle of wine a day,’ said Metz.
Lakatos Shames says that she recommends no more than one to one-and-a-half glasses per day for women and no more than two for men.
‘There are benefits and wine can be part of a healthy diet but, when you have more than the recommended number of glasses, all the benefits are outweighed by all the negative effects,’ she said.
Some negative effects could include alcohol dependency, weight gain and an increased risk of liver disease.
Lakatos Shames also adds that it’s red wine – not white wine – that contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol.
Found in grape skin, resveratrol has been found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease as well as suppress inflammation and blood clots.
For the five-ounce steak recommended at dinner, Metz says that it can be part of a healthy diet but she likes to limit it to an option that’s had once or twice a week.
While red meats are high in protein and iron, they can also be high in saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol.
High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests avoiding processed meat and limiting red meat to no more than 18 ounces per week.
‘There are better options out there like heart-healthy fish, chicken, or also beans if you’re a vegetarian,’ Metz said.
Beth Warren, a registered dietitian and head of Beth Warren Nutrition in Brooklyn, New York, told Daily Mail Online that the black coffee was one of the few saving graces of the diet.
She pointed to studies that have shown the health benefits of coffee including that it helps to burn fat, reduces the risk of depression and lowers your multiple sclerosis risk.
‘It’s only when someone begind to feel shaky or has high blood pressure that they may want to limit their caffeine,’ Warren said.
‘My concern would be that someone runs the risk of dehydration because they’re only drinking wine and coffee – both of which are diuretics.’
The nutritionists were in agreement that the diet is not sustainable and that any weight loss will likely be put back on.
‘People will follow the diet and lose weight because they are on a heavily restricted caloric intake not because of the foods they’re eating,’ said Warren.
‘There’s no question that they will gain back all the weight they lost. In three days you’re mainly losing water weight. It’s not an adequate amount of time to lose fat.’