The Best 3 Day Diets Compared

Three-day diets are becoming increasingly popular to help you lose weight fast. We review a few of the top programs.


Are you looking to lose a few quick pounds for an upcoming event? Are you needing to jumpstart your lagging, long-term weight-loss plan? If either of these scenarios describe you, perhaps you should consider a three-day diet.

While no one is quite sure who initially came up with the idea for a three-day diet, by most accounts, the concept first rose to prominence during the 1980s. Since then, the diet has seen numerous variations and just as many names, including the Mayo Clinic diet, the Cleveland Clinic diet, the ice cream diet, the American Heart Association diet, and the most well-known variation, the Military diet. Adding to the mystery is the fact is that neither the military nor any the medical facilities or organizations named created or endorse the concept.

Regardless of the concept's mysterious origins, a three-day diet can provide some very real weight-loss benefits. Not only have three-day diets been reported to help people lose several pounds quickly, they can also give you a psychological boost to help spur on your ongoing weight-loss efforts.

Here are a few of the popular three-day diet options that followers find effective:   

The Military (or the Cleveland Clinic or the Ice Cream) Diet


This three-day diet includes three meals eaten each day, amounting to a total daily caloric intake of roughly 600 calories. Many of the foods featured in the diet—hot dogs, eggs, cabbage, vanilla ice cream—were selected to increase the metabolism and help burn fat more quickly. There are no exercises associated with this diet, and dieters are encourage to resume their normal, healthy eating habits for at least four days before repeating the 3-day diet cycle. This diet is not officially affiliated with any medical facility, organization, or branch of the U.S. military.

While the Military Diet is popular, users have reported drawbacks such as lack of energy for exercise, difficulty staying on a good eating rhythm if you have a busy schedule, and potentially frequent bouts of hunger due to small portions. You can see an overview of the Military Diet plan here.

Portion-Controlled Meal Replacement Diet

wonderslim easystart foodsWonderSlim’s EasyStart™ three-day diet and weight loss kit is not only a great tool to help with quick weight loss, but also serves as the perfect introduction to a long-term weight loss and maintenance plan.

Unlike some of the other three-day diets, while it maintains ideal, lowered daily calories, the concept focuses on satisfaction and feeling full. This makes it more likely you’ll stick to the program and not lose your progress. The plan features 7 meals a day, which include delicious meal replacement shakes that curb your cravings, boost your energy, and burn fat. You'll also get to enjoy breakfast foods that are high in protein with just the right balance of carbohydrates and fat, plus hot lunch soups and entrees that also provide the high protein needed to help control hunger. Typical plan daily women's calorie totals are 1000-1200 while men's typical daily calorie totals are 1500-1700.

The most unique part of the EasyStart plan is that it lets you eat no-guilt snack bars and desserts. The kit comes with everything you need to get started, including a simple-to-use meal planner and tracker, complete with helpful hints, a grocery list for supplemental fresh foods, and healthy dinner recipes.

The plan schedule is designed to help you build the good eating habits critical to keeping the weight off. If you have a busy schedule, EasyStart really shines in helping ensure you don’t miss a meal and end up hungry and in danger of cheating on your diet. The foods are conveniently grab-and-go, require minimal prep and can be tossed in a purse or bag.

Finally, cost is always a factor with short-term diet plans. The WonderSlim EasyStart 3-Day Diet Kit is very affordable at $49.95, which also includes a free Shaker Bottle and support tools, making it the best overall value of the three day diets.

Learn more about the EasyStart 3 Day Diet Kit and order here.

The Healthy Cleanse Diet Plan

This three-day ‘refresh’ diet is a little bit different. Its creator, Lyn-Genet Recitas, a naturopathic nutritionist, says that many healthy staple foods—salmon, greek yogurt, oatmeal, strawberries, cauliflower, etc.—can actually set off inflammatory responses, leading to health issues like gastrointestinal distress, headaches, and weight gain. She advises giving your body a three-day “cleanse” of these trigger items, by instead consuming non-reactive foods like chicken, flax seed, and blueberries. The whole food-rich diet features three meals and a snack each day, as well as a higher daily caloric intake of 1,800. Learn more here.

juicing cleanse refresh

‘Juicing’ is a another popular type of cleanse diet where you consume nothing but juice that’s carefully concocted for three full days. Juices are generally built from fresh fruits and vegetables and designed to help lose weight and clear the body of toxins.

While there seem to be several short-term benefits to cleanse diets, users often report intense hunger, headaches, and blood sugar spikes when they truly follow an all-liquid juicing plan. 

While a three-day diet can help you lose weight quickly, your healthy long-term weight-loss efforts should include a balanced diet, regular exercise, and an overall goal of losing two pounds each week.

And, as always, consult your doctor before trying any diet.