3 Day Diet: Does It Work?


3 Day Diet

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just do a 3-day diet and BOOM be in great shape? Well, outside of visiting the local plastic surgeon for a little bit of liposuction, you’re not going to leave from work on a Friday, diet for the weekend, and show up on Monday trim, tight and looking incredible.

But with all that said, what’s the deal with the 3 Day Diet?

It’s been gaining popularity in recent years with all sorts of people raving about it.

After all, it’s just a diet for three days.

Of course, it’s not designed to drop massive weight, but is it good for those last stubborn five pounds? We’ve got all the insights for you right here.

What Is The 3 Day Diet?

The 3 Day Diet is built around drastically slashing your calories for three days.

You’ll slash your calories, which will help drop water weight and, over the course of the three days, when you’re consuming 800 calories or so you’ll end up dropping another pound or two on top of the water weight.

So, realistically, you can drop six, seven, or maybe even eight pounds on this short-term diet

Have you ever been between paychecks, or maybe you just didn’t want to the grocery store, and so you’re sifting through cupboards in the kitchen to try to find any random object to eat.

You start eating from the Italian bread crumbs, looking at expiration dates on cans of anchovies and clams you bought for a recipe several years ago but never used, or you eye the milk in the fridge that has an expiration date that was two days prior.

You’re a human hyena, looking for anything you can scavenge. In many ways, the 3 Day Diet is exactly like this. 

With the diet you’ll eat foods you probably have sitting around the house.

There are some mix and match options, so you can tailor make it to meet what you probably do have sitting around, but whatever you find, it’s all about consuming limited amounts of calories.

There isn’t much in the way of rhyme or reason for the items you’ll be eating (and drinking) on this diet.

So, there is some variety, although when eating around 900 calories a day you’re still significantly cutting down on your daily calories (WebMD, 2016).

What Am I Eating On The 3 Day Diet?

The 3 Day Diet is all about having you eat foods that are low on sodium and, for the most part, low on carbs.

You will eat some foods with carbs, but this is more to give you at least a minimum amount of energy to get through the day.

It is recommended to utilize this diet during the weekend or another time where you don’t need to move about as much, because you’ll have next to no energy with the drastically cut calorie amounts. 3 Day Diet

Day One


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • ½ a grapefruit
  • 1 slice of toast with one tablespoon of peanut butter.

You can’t have any sugar or creamers here. However, if you like lemon in your tea by all means take advantage of this.

We would recommend going with a 100% whole wheat slice of toast as at least this will have complex carbs that will keep you feeling fuller, longer. 


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • ½ cup of tuna (you can also go with a pouch of tuna if you don’t want to open half a can)
  • 1 slice of toast


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • Three ounces of any lean meat (like turkey or chicken)
  • 1 cup of green beans,
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup of ice cream3 Day Diet

Day Two


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • an egg (made however you like)
  • 1 slice of toast
  • 1 banana


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • 1 Cup of 2% cottage cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • Two hot dogs
  • ½ cup of carrots
  • 1 cup of cabbage
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup of vanilla ice cream3 Day Diet

Day 3


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • 5 Saltine crackers
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese
  • 1 apple


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 slice of toast


  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
  • 1 cup of tuna
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • ½ half a cup of vanilla ice cream 
  • 1 cup of melon
  • 1 cup of cauliflower

As you can see, it’s kind of all over the place for what you’re eating, but you’ll always be around 800 to 1,000 calories.

For diet additions, you can’t use any seasonings or sauces.

These items have extra sodium, which is no good (in fact, outside of added salt and some vinegar, there’s very little else in most sauces).

However, there are a few exceptions.

You can have as many lemons and as much lemon juice as you’d like.

You can have mustard, use cooking spray, Splenda for your coffee, and you can in fact have sugar-free gum (you may find yourself living off of the gum just to keep your mouth chewing on something throughout the day) (CNN, 2018). 

What You Need To Know About Short-Term Diets

There are two things you need to know about short-term diets.

First, it is possible to drop a decent amount of weight in three days.

When you step on the scale at the beginning of the diet and when you step off the scale at the conclusion of the diet you may actually have dropped five or more pounds.

That’s pretty great, right? Well yes, but don’t get too excited.

We don’t want to be that person who has to pull you down when you’re feeling good, but we do need to breathe some reality into the situation.

The five or more pounds you’re dropping is mostly water weight. You’re not bringing in sodium or carbs, that can hold up to four times the weight per gram of carbs.

So, when you cut all of this out you’ll flush your system of water. 

This means that while you’ll drop a pretty decent amount of weight up front, you’ll run into the second aspect of a short-term diet.

Second, it is possible you’ll gain all the weight back.

You dropped water weight. But as soon as you start eating semi-normal again, you’ll start retaining all that weight over again.

You don’t need to worry that you’re packing on more fat, but the scale will even back out. 

Short term diets are designed for you to drop weight right before an event. Or to use before hitting the beach for the weekend.

So just keep all of this in mind. If you want long-term, consistent weight loss, you’ll want a diet that you can live with forever. A great diet isn’t really a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle (US News, 2017).3 Day Diet

Is The 3 Day Diet Hard?

Naturally, one of the first questions you’ll ask is if the diet is hard or not.

Now, it’s easier to do than one of those apple cider vinegar cleanse diets where you’re only drinking water with vinegar, lemon juice and paprika for a few days.

With this diet you’re at least eating something. However, the hardest part of the diet is not binging on more food.

Come day two, when you’re pulling out five saltine crackers, just try not to smash through the entire sleeve.

Since you’ll be hungry throughout the 3 days, it’s best to resort most of your foods ahead of time.

You can’t be slicing cheese when you’ve only had 1,000 calories over the last two days.

If you don’t prep ahead of time you’ll end up like George Costanza, eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery.

When you’re hungry anything and everything looks good, so you will want to organize as much of this diet before you start it up. 3 Day Diet

Can I Work Out While On The 3 Day Diet?

You could, but we’d highly recommend against it. You’re consuming around 800 to 1,000 calories a day.

You’re burning more than this just getting up and walking around.

If you have to take the dogs out or drive the kids to soccer practice you’ll already be burning far more than 1,000 calories (and you’ll really start eyeing those post-game juice boxes and oatmeal pie cookie snacks). 

So yes, you could try to work out, but you’re not going to get anything out of it.

You won’t have the energy to put anything into the workout.

You might be able to walk on the treadmill or read a copy of US Weekly while slowly peddling on the exercise bike, but when you’re zapped for energy does that even sound like something you’d want to do?

Basically, the short answer is yes, you can work out, but you’re not going to feel up for it when the time comes. 

Who Shouldn’t Do This Diet?

First of all, if you want a long-term weight loss diet, this is not for you and you should skip the diet for something else.

However, let’s say you just want to drop a few pounds over the weekend, this can help, but there are still certain people who couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do this diet. 

First, this is not vegan or vegetarian friendly.

It’s low calorie, and in turn low salt and low carb (although you’ll still be eating some salt and carbs just go give you some kind of energy during the day).

This also isn’t a gluten-free diet as most of the meals will have some kind of bread or cracker involved. 

The 3 Day Diet, based on what you’re eating, is not the kind of diet you should do if you have heart disease, suffer from diabetes, have high cholesterol or suffer from hypertension.

If you are overweight and want a way to kickstart your diet you’ll be better off talking with your doctor about what they recommend.

This is not a great way to kick start weight loss because once you get back onto a regular diet you’ll likely end up over-compensating for what you missed while you were on this 3 day diet. This will make you gain everything back, putting you back to square one (US News, 2017). 

Should I Do The 3 Day Diet Or Not?

Really, this is up to you.

The diet doesn’t follow any real dietary goals. It’s kind of all over the place.

It really sounds like the diet of a college student. When they realize there’s only certain ingredients left in the kitchen and they need to make it to Friday before they can buy more food.

The diet can help you drop weight, but it’s not something you should be doing for three days a week, every week.

There are better diets you can follow for those purposes. Best Foods for Muscle Building-meal plan


Anything that is dubbed a diet of only a few days is not going to be a long turn approach to losing weight.

A diet, such as the 3 Day Diet, is designed to help you drop a few extra pounds before a big event.

That’s exactly what this diet does. If you have three days and an approaching activity you want to slim down for, the 3 Day Diet can do just.

In reality, in 3 days, it’s possible to eat as little (or nothing) of just about anything with the right willpower and you’ll see excellent weight loss.

That’s because you’ll flush out water weight while burning off excess calories over the three days (which will probably take another pound or two off on top of the water weight).

If you want a structured approach at shedding these extra pounds, the 3 Day Diet is one that will more than likely work for you.

-Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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