Obesity Fad Diets Three Day

Three-day diets first surfaced in 1985, and have remained part of fad diet culture ever since. Like many older fad diets, the three-day diet continues to survive on the Internet under various names, including the three-day cleanse, three-day detox or three-day fast.

Some sites refer to three-day diets as the Cleveland Clinic diet, perhaps to endow the diet with a medical stamp of approval. In actuality, the Cleveland Clinic has no connection to the three-day diet, and has not endorsed the weight loss program.

How Three-Day Diets “Work”

For a diet that lasts a mere three days, the three-day fast makes some grandiose claims. The diet claims people will lose up to 10 pounds, while lowering cholesterol and improving energy levels. The diet is supposed to cleanse the body, though exactly what the “cleanse” entails is rarely made clear.

Three-day diets claim that these benefits occur because of a metabolic reaction triggered by the foods eaten over the three days. However, no studies have managed to isolate this reaction.

A Typical Three-Day Detox Menu

Three-day diets vary, but a standard menu for a three-day detox might look something like this:

Day One    
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Tea/coffee (black)
1/2 grapefruit/orange
1 slice toast
1 tbsp. peanut butter
Tea/coffee (black)
1/2 cup tuna
1 slice toast
Tea/coffee (black)
1 cup carrots
1 cup green beans
1 medium apple
3 oz. lean meat
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Day Two    
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Tea/coffee (black)
1 banana
1 egg
1 slice toast
1 cup cottage cheese or tuna
8 saltine crackers
1 banana
1 cup broccoli or cabbage
1 cup carrots
2 beef franks
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Day Three    
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Tea/coffee (black)
1 apple
1 oz. cheddar cheese
5 saltine crackers
Tea/coffee (black)
1 boiled egg
1 piece toast
1 cup carrots
1 cup cauliflower
1 cup melon
1 cup tuna
1 cup vanilla ice cream

Three-day diets are, as the above menu shows, extremely restrictive. Dieters are told not to overeat or skip any of the required food. One or two packs of artificial sweetener can be used in tea or coffee, and up to four cups of water can also be consumed. Some condiments, including lemon, may also be used.

Yo-Yo Dieting and the Three-Day Fast

Three-day diets seriously restrict calorie consumption. After three days, dieters are supposed to eat “normally” for four or five days, after which they can go back on the diet for another three days.

Most of the weight lost on three-day diets is fluid, which people regain as soon as they start eating normal amounts of food. Switching between three-days diets and regular eating promotes yo-yo dieting and interferes with regular metabolism. Hunger caused by three-day diets often results in overeating during “normal” eating periods, which is more likely to result in weight gain than weight loss.

Resources

Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Cleveland clinic diet. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/library/clevand_clinic_diet.aspx.

Diet Spotlight. (n.d.). 3 day diet review. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.dietspotlight.com/3-day-diet-review/.

Every Diet. (2009). 3 day diet. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www.everydiet.org/diet/3-day-diet.