Melt those pounds away with hard-boiled eggs and Chablis
Credit: Photos by Sujata Jana and Bernard Van Berg via Getty Images

Fad diets are nothing new. Those desperate to transform their lives or just shed a few pounds in the pursuit of vanity have always turned to all manner of odd and restrictive regimens. But years before the keto craze reframed gorging yourself on bacon as (allegedly) healthy, one crash diet aimed at single women was even more absurd.

I'm talking, of course, about the classic “wine and eggs” diet, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. If followed for three days, it promised to help young women lose five pounds while making sure their white wine levels stayed appropriately high. First published in Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, a New York Times bestseller that encouraged financial and romantic independence for women, the diet's reprint in the 1977 beauty issue of Vogue has been making the rounds recently.

If you want to follow the wine and eggs diet, the main things you’ll need are a healthy appreciation for hard-boiled eggs and a steadfast commitment to maintaining a solid wine buzz for three days. Gurley Brown’s plan called for ladies to eat a breakfast of one hard-boiled egg with a glass of white wine (preferably a Chablis) and black coffee. In this case, lunch is simply two breakfasts: two hard-boiled (though poached is acceptable) eggs, two glasses of white wine, and more black coffee. Dinner is where things really get decadent: a five-ounce grilled steak with black pepper and lemon juice, plus the rest of that bottle of wine, and more black coffee. Repeat for two more days, and you’ll be ready to fit into that evening gown.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t sound like a diet that requires you to polish off a bottle of wine while putting away under 1,200 calories a day is a nutritionally sound way to lose weight. While the eggs can be a useful source of protein, nutritionists who spoke to the Daily Mail emphasized that the complete absence of fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates leaves a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber out of your diet.

That’s not to mention that red (not white) wine is what contains the antioxidants commonly associated with health benefits—and guzzling a full bottle every day essentially negates them. In short, this diet plan is one that only an ascetic Don Draper conditioned to strive for unrealistic beauty standards could love.

Will the wine and eggs diet make a comeback now that it’s come to our attention in the age of Twitter? Hopefully not, especially given that modern nutritionists believe that any weight lost will come right back as soon as normal eating patterns are resumed. But if Helen Gurley Brown were to rise from the dead and declare that white wine could be swapped out for rosé, all bets would be off.