Years ago now a diet came out on the scenes known as the "3 Day Diet". It got a lot of attention and was also credited to a lot of sources that were reputable including the Cleveland Clinic and even the American Heart Association. However, this fad diet isn't associated with any reputable association, its claims are false, and it is even dangerous to the health of those who try it.

The Diet.
The diet is based on eating a very specific list of foods for each meal for three days. You are not allowed to eat more than what is on the list and the only additional drinks you should have is water.

Day one- For breakfast on day one you should eat one half grapefruit, and one slice of toast topped with one tablespoon of peanut butter.Additionally you can have one cup of coffee or tea sweetened with up to two packets of artificial sweetener. For lunch you are to eat one half cup of tuna in spring water, one slice of dry toast, and one cup of coffee or tea (which you can sweeten with artificial sweetener, but no more than two packets worth). For dinner you are to eat three ounces of chicken or fish, one cup of green beans, one cup of carrots, one apple, and one cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day two-On day two you are to have one egg cooked without oil, one half banana, and one slice of dry toast. You can also have coffee or tea as before. Lunch consists of one cup of cottage cheese and eight regular saltines. Another cup of tea or coffee can be had. Dinner consists of two beef franks, one half banana, one cup of broccoli, one half cup of carrots, and one half cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day Three- Your final day on the diet starts with five saltines, one ounce of low fat cheese, and one apple. Lunch is one boiled egg and one slice of dry toast. You are allowed one cup of coffee sweetened with up to two packets of artificial sweetener at both breakfast and lunch. Dinner is one cup of tuna, one cup of carrots, one cup of cauliflower, one cup of melon, and one half cup of vanilla ice cream.

This diet is supposed to be maintained for three days. After that you are supposed to eat regularly for four or five days before you continue on the three day diet. You are supposed to be able to continue the diet on and off as long as you want without negative side effects. You aren't suppose to have to do anything more then eat what you are told to, when you are told to eat it. This makes exercise optional.

The Diet's Claims.
Somewhere along the way there were a few books and pamphlets published about the three day diet. In these it discusses how this is supposed to allow the dieter to loose ten pounds of fat (not water weight or protein loss, but fat). It is also supposed to jump start the metabolism and get it working well so that the dieter can continue to loose weight. Continuing to do the rotation of three days on the diet and four to five off, then starting over is supposed to allow you to loose all the weight that you need to loose, even if it is hundreds of pounds.

A Look At The Claims.

  1. 10 pounds of fat- Most people looking to loose weight love the idea of loosing ten pounds, make that ten pounds of fat and you have every one's attention. However, if we look at the science, it should be noted that this is no "special" combination of foods that will produce fat loss. Instead, it is a few basic principles that can lead to water loss and protein loss. The first happens because there aren't a lot of complex carbohydrates . This helps the body get rid of excess water which in turn leads to weight loss. Protein loss (muscle loss) can happen for two reasons. One there isn't a lot of protein here and two the dieter isn't exercising. These factors combined with extremely low calorie intake will have most people loosing muscle tone instead of burning fat. This also attributes to your weight loss.
  2. The Metabolism Myth- Most of us have heard a least a little about "jump starting", "fixing", or "repairing" our metabolisms. Your metabolism is based on a number of factors, but isn't something that you can "fix" in three days with a specific combination of foods. Instead it is something that can only be "fixed" if you loose weight (studies show that those suffering from obesity do have slower metabolisms) or you gain muscle mass (muscle requires more energy even while at rest then other tissues of the body). Getting healthy is the key to burning more fat. Getting healthy requires a lifestyle change that includes a healthy diet (the above diet isn't healthy) and exercise.
  3. Unhealthy, especially long term- You don't have to be a nutrition expert in order to see that this diet isn't healthy. After all, peanut butter is high in fat and no one has ever heard of vanilla ice cream being a regular part of a healthy diet. Get farther on the list and it only gets worse (beef franks!). This isn't a diet that is good for you. In addition to the high fat to calories ratio there is also a lot fewer calories here then there should be. Most nutrition experts agree that women should consume at least 1500 calories and men at least 2000 calories each day to be healthy. Switching on and off this diet can also be dangerous. Because of the low calorie intake it is likely that binging will occur on the off days. This often includes foods that are really bad for us and large portion sizes.

Addition Issues.
Overall there is nothing healthy about this diet. Instead it is dangerous, because the calorie count is really low. Additionally those who do this diet long term (on and off) can cause major issues in their body. This diet tricks your body into thinking it is starving and that causes a lot of issues. You can also loose a significant amount of muscle mass (protein) because your body burns it to keep fueled.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True.
Most of us want things to be easy. We are attracted to easy diets and get rich schemes. However, the old saying that says "if it sounds too good to be true, then it can't be true" is honest. You need to think through the programs that you look at. Weight loss is best when it is part of a lifestyle change. This is the only way to loose weight and keep it off. The lifestyle changes should include a healthier diet (not a diet plan, but a change in your everyday eating habits), exercise, and the consumption of a lot of water.

This is a diet that thousands have tried. It isn't healthy and yet there are tons of positive reviews of it on the Internet. It is time to put your thinking caps on, realize that it isn't a diet recommended by anyone with scientific backing, it isn't recommended by the American Heart Association or the Cleveland Clinic (or any other medical association), and it just isn't healthy for you. While it is a whole lot harder it is much better to loose weight with lots of hard work, a diet change, and adding a lot of water to your diet.

For more great information about dieting, exercise, and weight loss you can meander over to The Phat Diaries.