The 3 day diet is a very low calorie diet that claims to help you lose up to 10 pounds in just 3 days. It works by restricting calories to well below what is recommended, causing your body to burn fat for energy. The diet is very restrictive and not suitable for long-term weight loss, but some people follow it for a quick drop in weight before a special event.
Rules of the 3 Day Diet
Here are the basic rules of the 3 day diet:
- Eat only the foods listed in the diet plan. No substitutions are allowed.
- Drink at least 4 glasses of water each day.
- Drink 1 cup of cranberry juice each day to flush out toxins.
- Drink 1 cup of unsweetened tea or coffee each day if desired.
- Do not drink any alcohol while on the diet.
- Eat the exact portions listed in the meal plan – do not eat more or less.
- Do not skip any meals or snacks – follow the schedule.
- Stop the diet immediately if you feel unwell.
Foods Allowed on the 3 Day Diet
Here are the approved foods you can eat on the 3 day diet:
- Bananas (up to 4 per day)
- Apples (up to 3 per day)
- Green beans (1 cup per day)
- Broccoli (1 cup per day)
- Carrots (1/2 cup per day)
Meat and Fish
- Skinless chicken breast (3-6 oz per day)
- Whitefish like cod or flounder (3-6 oz per day)
- Tuna canned in water (3 oz per day)
- Lean roast beef (3 oz per day)
- Nonfat cottage cheese (1/2 cup per day)
- Nonfat plain yogurt (1 cup per day)
- Eggs (up to 2 per day)
- Low-fat cheddar cheese (1 oz per day)
Breads and Grains
- Saltine crackers (6 per day)
- Melba toast (2 slices per day)
- Dry toast (2 slices per day)
- Water (at least 4 glasses per day)
- Unsweetened tea or coffee (1 cup per day)
- Cranberry juice (1 cup per day)
3 Day Diet Meal Plan
Here is a sample 3 day diet meal plan:
Does the 3 Day Diet Work?
The 3 day diet is designed to help you lose weight quickly by severely restricting calories. Since you are only allowed about 1,000 calories per day on the diet, a calorie deficit of 1,000-1,500 calories per day can result in weight loss of 2-3 pounds over the 3 days.
However, almost all of this initial weight loss is water weight, not fat. And as soon as you resume normal eating, the water weight will return.
The diet is not a long-term solution because it does not teach healthy eating habits. It is unsustainably low in calories and lacks proper nutrition. People report feeling weak, dizzy and having headaches while on the diet.
While you may lose a few pounds, they will likely return quickly once you stop the diet. Any weight loss from severe calorie restriction tends to rebound.
Is the 3 Day Diet Safe?
Here are some potential dangers of following the 3 day diet:
- Severe calorie restriction – Well below what is considered safe for healthy weight loss.
- May cause nutritional deficiencies – Does not provide enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
- Can cause side effects like fatigue, headaches, nausea.
- Too restrictive to follow long term – Leads to feelings of deprivation.
- Weight loss is mainly water weight – Likely to regain once you resume normal eating.
- Does not teach healthy eating habits – Sets you up to regain weight.
The 3 day diet is not a healthy or sustainable approach to weight loss. While a few pounds may be lost initially, they are likely to return once normal eating is resumed.
Who Should Avoid the 3 Day Diet?
Here are some people who should not attempt the 3 day diet:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women – The diet does not provide adequate nutrition or calories.
- Children or teenagers – Restricting caloric intake during growth and development is dangerous.
- People with diabetes – Such severe carb restriction can be dangerous for blood sugar control.
- People with heart disease or high blood pressure – Rapid weight fluctuation could worsen conditions.
- Anyone with an eating disorder or unhealthy relationship with food – The diet promotes unhealthy behaviors.
- People who take medications – Severe calorie restriction could pose risks.
- Anyone with a medical condition – Consult your doctor before attempting such a restrictive diet.
For most people, the 3 day diet should be avoided. It is an unhealthy approach to weight loss that will likely backfire in the long run. Focus instead on sustainable, healthy eating and exercise habits.
Healthier Alternatives to the 3 Day Diet
Rather than attempting an ineffective crash diet, try these healthier weight loss strategies:
- Cut calories gradually – Reduce your calories by 250-500 per day for steady, sustainable weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
- Fill up on vegetables – They are low in calories and high in fiber to help you feel full.
- Eat lean protein – Chicken, fish, beans and other lean proteins promote fullness and help retain muscle during weight loss.
- Choose whole grains – They provide more nutrients, fiber and satiety compared to refined grains like white bread.
- Stay hydrated – Drinking water prevents false hunger and supports all bodily functions.
- Reduce added sugars – Foods high in added sugar provide empty calories and do not satisfy hunger.
- Exercise regularly – Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity like brisk walking per week to maximize fat loss.
- Get enough sleep – Poor sleep is linked to increased hunger and weight gain.
- Manage stress – High stress drives overeating behaviors.
With a little patience and consistency, these small healthy changes can lead to lasting results. Avoid the allure of quick fixes and crash diets.
The 3 day diet promises fast weight loss by severely restricting calories. However, the initial drop is mostly water weight that is quickly regained after normal eating is resumed. The diet can cause side effects, lacks proper nutrition, and does not promote healthy long-term habits.
For sustainable weight loss results, make gradual lifestyle changes like eating more vegetables, controlling portions, reducing added sugars, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. With commitment to a healthy lifestyle, you can lose weight safely and keep it off.