The 3 day diet promises weight loss of 10 pounds a week and up to 40 pounds a month. The concept of the 3 day diet is to follow a very low calorie diet for 3 days followed by eating normal for 4 days.
The diet guideline is the same for everyone; there is no personalization for the diet. There are many variations of the 3 day diet, and it is also called the military diet or other names.
There are many weight loss claims from people who have tried the 3 day diet (1). However, this does not give support for following this diet.
Can you lose weight with the 3 day diet? Sure, it’s possible. However, it doesn’t mean it’s the best way for weight loss.
Guidelines for the 3-day diet
The 3 day diet gives specific guidelines on what to eat each day and does not allow for substitutions or additions.
The diet also suggests drinking at least four to eight servings of eight ounces of water per day. Three meals are given without snack options for the course of the three days.
The food options are pretty limited and bland, and total energy intake per day is around 800-1,000 calories.
For example, day one breakfast is half a grapefruit, slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and black coffee or tea.
Lunch is half a cup of plain tuna, a slice of toast and black coffee or tea again.
Dinner option has a little more variety with a cup of green beans, ½ banana, small apple, three ounces of meat and half a cup of plain vanilla ice cream.
After following the meal guidelines for the three days, you are allowed to eat normally for 4 days and repeat this cycle as desired.
It’s not recommended to binge on the four off days, but it may be hard to control for some after being on such a limited diet.
You’re supposed to eat normally not over indulge.
Does it work?
Can you lose weight following this diet? Sure it’s possible. Following a low calorie diet, like the one on the 3 day diet, can help with weight loss. However, does it mean you will lose 10 pounds in a week as some claims suggest? Probably not. Even if you do, the weight probably won’t stay off.
Although this diet isn’t ranked by US News and World Report as part of their yearly rankings of diets, they do point out that the 3 day diet does not have credible research backing its weight loss claims.
Long term weight loss success with the 3 day diet is also unclear. Other consequences of being on the 3 day diet long term could include nutritional deficiencies, a weakened immune system and heart issues.
Trying the 3 day diet for short term should be safe for most healthy adults, but talking with your physician before trying it is recommended.
Is it sustainable?
The 3 day diet doesn’t have research backing its weight loss claims up and the diet can claim it is chemically and enzymatically balanced for the body.
However, there is no research behind this claim, and it is probably thrown in there just to make the diet sound legitimate. The diet does encourage drinking coffee and tea which can add caffeine which is a known stimulant.
However, this won’t dramatically affect weight loss efforts.
The 3 day diet is pretty limited in food choices and doesn’t provide a lot of nutrients. Sustained weight loss should be supported by filling up on high volume, low calorie foods instead of eating a very small volume of food.
The 3 day diet also doesn’t provide a lot of variety in terms of proteins, whole grains, different colored fruits and vegetables and healthy fats.
There is also not an emphasis on exercise while following this diet. If anything, it will probably be hard to exercise while on it because it is low in energy.
As Web MD notes, if you can’t see yourself following a diet for a long time, it probably isn’t the right choice for you. The 3 day diet may be ok to try for some quick weight loss, but it is not recommended long term.
The 3 day diet gives you specific instructions for what to eat for 3 days which is then followed by 4 days of eating normally.
The diet boasts claims of weight loss as much as 10 pounds in a week, but this isn’t backed up by any research.
There is also not research supporting the amounts and types of food permitted or not permitted while following this diet.
While weight loss is possible because it is low in calories, long term success is unclear and not likely.