The 3-Day Diet


The internet has been instrumental in extending the shelf life of this particular fad diet.  Since 1985, this diet has floated around, rearing its ugly head, and spawned a variety of 3-day diet approaches, many of which are no better than this one.  


Loose up to 10 pounds in just three days.


By following a very specific, regimented diet plan for 3 days, then returning to normal eating for 4 or 5 days, the body will experience a unique metabolic reaction that will boost fat burning and result in weight loss.  

Program Overview

To lose the promised ten pounds in just ten days, participants are required to follow the 3-day diet meal plan exactly – no variation and no overeating/under eating.  After three days, participants can return to their normal eating activities for four to five days.  They can then return to the 3-day plan, as many times as they want, provided they always include that four to five day normal eating period as a break in between.

Day 1 

Breakfast:  Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1/2 grapefruit or juice, and 1 piece toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Lunch:  1/2 cup tuna, 1 piece toast, Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal

Dinner: 3 ounces any lean meat or chicken, 1 cup green beans, 1 cup carrots, 1 apple, 1 cup regular vanilla ice cream

Day 2 

Breakfast: Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1 egg,  1/2 banana,  1 piece toast

Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese or tuna,  8 regular saltine crackers

Dinner:  2 beef franks, 1 cup broccoli or cabbage, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup regular vanilla ice cream

Day 3 

Breakfast: Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 5 regular saltine crackers, 1 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 apple

Lunch: Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal, 1 boiled egg, 1 piece toast

Dinner: 1 cup tuna, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup melon, 1/2 cup regular vanilla ice cream

In addition to its strict daily food prescription, participants drink 4 cups of water or non-caloric drinks daily.

Plan Strengths

I guess we should throw this plan a bone and say it at least encourages the consumption of water, vegetables, and lean meats.  Weight loss will also probably result given the severe restriction of calories; however, it will be water weight and not fat – no one can lose 10 pounds of fat in just three days.  If only that was true!

Proponents of the diet claim that in addition to weight loss, participants will enjoy increased energy, a reduction in allergies, healthier skin, and a reduction in allergies.  Unfortunately, there is no literature, studies, or testimonials available to support these claims.  I guess we are just supposed to take their word for it.

Plan Weaknesses

Besides the obvious fact that there are no supporting studies (or even a book), that explains how this diet increases the body’s metabolic rate, this diet is by no means a comprehensive approach to weight loss.  It does nothing to educate participants about good food choices, and it fails to address the need for consistent physical activity.   All participants get is a 3-day meal plan – that’s it.  

By returning to “normal” eating habits during that four to five-day break, participants will revert to the same eating habits that contributed to their weight gain in the first place and fail to break the weight gain cycle.  

Sure, participants will lose weight, because they have reduced caloric intake to less than 1,000 calories, but it won’t be fat and it won’t stay off.  


This is a classic example of a yo-yo diet that fails to provide a game plan for healthy long-term weight loss.  For those wanting to lose a little water weight, this diet will probably do the trick, but proceed cautiously.  Like most fad diets, you are likely to find yourself gaining instead of losing weight over the long term.  Your best bet is to look elsewhere for a healthier weight loss alternative because this diet is not sustainable.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

The 3-Day Diet, WebMD,