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How Much Weight Can You Lose on the 3-Day Diet?

Reviewed on 12/2/2020

What Is the 3-Day Diet?

Weight loss is possible on The 3 Day Diet, but only because it is very low in calories. As soon as a dieter resumes eating a normal amount of carbohydrates, the weight will come back.
Weight loss is possible on The 3 Day Diet, but only because it is very low in calories. As soon as a dieter resumes eating a normal amount of carbohydrates, the weight will come back.

The 3-Day Diet (also called The Military Diet) is a type of fad diet that dates back to 1985. The 3-Day Diet promises:

However, there is no scientific research that validates any of the claims made by the diet. 

The diet is meant to be followed for 3 days on, and 4 days off. It may be followed for up to one month, cycling through 3 days on and 4 days off for the month.

What Foods Do You Eat on the 3-Day Diet?

The 3-Day Diet is a very specific food plan that is meant to be followed exactly as outlined. Portions must be eaten exactly as specified. Eating more than is recommended is not advised and it recommends dieters consume all meals, even if they are not hungry. Dieters are also instructed to drink 4 cups of water or other beverages that do not have any calories each day.

Foods to eat on The 3-Day Diet include: 

  • Day 1
    • Breakfast
      • Black coffee or tea, with 1-2 packets Sweet & Low or Equal
      • ½ grapefruit or juice
      • 1 piece toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
    • Lunch
      • ½ 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
      • ½ banana
      • 1 piece toast
    • Lunch
      • 1 cup cottage cheese or tuna
      • 8 regular saltine crackers
    • Dinner
      • 2 beef franks
      • 1 cup broccoli or cabbage
      • ½ cup carrots
      • ½ banana
      • ½ 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
      • ½ cup ice cream (regular vanilla only)

Are Substitutions Allowed on The 3-Day Diet?

Some substitutions are permitted on a limited basis. 

Substitutes for 1 slice of toast: 1/8 cup of sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup of whole grain cereal, 1/2 high protein bar, 1/4 cup of yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon of flax seeds, or one tortilla or two rice cakes instead of bread

Substitutes for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter: the same amount of almond butter, cashew butter, pumpkin butter, soy butter, sunflower seed butter, hummus or bean dip, or two tablespoons of plain sunflower seeds 

Substitutes for 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine): green tea, sugar free hot chocolate, or sugar Free Red Bull 

Substitutes for 1/2 cup of tuna: grilled sushi grade piece of tuna, the same size as 1/2 or 1 cup serving of canned tuna, any other lean meat with the same calories, or cottage cheese, tofu, or almonds. Vegetarians and vegans, substitute 1/2 an avocado and 2 tablespoons of hummus.

Substitutes for 3 ounces of any type of meat: lentils, beans, tofu or portobello mushrooms as meat alternatives

Substitutes for 1 cup of green beans: the same CALORIE amount of lettuce, tomatoes, spinach or any other green vegetable

Substitutes for 1/2 banana: 2 kiwis, 1 cup of papaya or 2 apricots. Plums, grapes and apple sauce also work as long as it’s the same amount of calories 

Substitutes for 1 small apple: plums, peaches, grapes, zucchini, pears or dried apricots

Substitutes for 1 cup of vanilla ice cream: 1 cup of fruit flavored yogurt or apple juice or strawberry, vanilla or banana flavored almond milk. Dairy free ice cream may be used as a substitute. 

Substitutes for 1 egg: one cup of milk, one chicken wing, 1/4 cup of seeds or nuts, 2 slices of bacon, or 1/2 cup baked beans 

Substitute for 1 hard-boiled egg:  1/2 avocado
Substitutes for 1 cup of cottage cheese: plain Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, eggs, ham, tofu in an equal number of calories, or 1 cup unsweetened soy/hemp/almond milk and 2 tablespoons hummus

Substitutes for 5 saltine crackers: rice cakes, other crackers in a similar number of calories, or the calorie correct amount of quinoa or couscous 

Substitutes for 2 hot dogs (without bun): turkey dogs, soy dogs, tofu dogs, bratwurst, luncheon meat, deli meat, baloney, beans, lentils, or portobello mushrooms. 

Substitutes for 1 cup of broccoli: a green or greenish vegetable like cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus

Substitutes for 1/2 cup of carrots: squash, parsnip, beets, celery, and bell pepper 

Substitutes for 1 slice of cheddar cheese: egg, cottage cheese, ham, nondairy cheese alternatives with calcium such as soy cheese, soy milk, cabbage, and tofu

QUESTION

Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

How Much Weight Can You Lose on the 3-Day Diet?

The 3-Day Diet claims dieters can lose up to 10 pounds in three days. Weight loss is possible on The 3 Day Diet, but only because it is very low in calories. And realistically, most of that weight is likely water weight and not fat loss because the diet is so low in carbohydrates. As soon as a dieter resumes eating a normal amount of carbohydrates, the weight will come back.  

Other drawbacks of the plan include: 

  • It may promote unhealthy “yo-yo” dieting and an on-again off-again approach to weight management that is not conducive to long term success
  • Dieters may be excessively hungry while following the diet, causing them to overeat on their days off
  • Diets that restrict caloric intake to less than 1,000 calories each day may lower a person’s metabolism so that when they resume a normal diet they gain weight back even faster
  • The diet may not provide adequate amounts of nutrients 
  • Exercise is not part of the plan

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Reviewed on 12/2/2020
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