The 3-day diet covers a variety of eating plans -- the Army diet, the Cleveland Clinic diet and the British Heart Foundation diet, for example -- that promise you'll lose 10 pounds or more by strictly following specific guidelines to eat certain foods in set amounts over a 72-hour period. You'll probably lose weight following the 3-day diet, says U.S. News & World Report, but it's not a healthy, balanced program and may not contribute to your ability to keep weight off in the future. Don't begin any form of the 3-day diet until you've spoken to your doctor.
Stock Up on Coffee and Tea
Unlike many extreme weight management programs, the 3-day diet doesn't exclude caffeinated beverages. At breakfast on all three days of the plan, as well as several lunches, you can drink a cup of coffee or tea. Although you can't use sugar and milk, you can use up to two packets of artificial sweetener per cup. You'll also need to consume at least 4 cups of a calorie-free drink like water or diet soda each day.
Hit the Produce Aisle
Breakfast on the 3-day diet features grapefruit on day one, banana on day two and an apple on day three. Some dinners also call for fruit -- an apple or 1 cup of fresh melon -- but most of the produce at dinnertime will be vegetables: carrots, green beans, broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower. You'll need to eat the produce raw or use a fat-free cooking method like steaming, since no added fat other than nonstick cooking spray is allowed. The 3-day diet guidelines forbid substituting other fruits or vegetables.
Bring on the Protein
You'll eat some protein with every meal on the 3-day diet. Have some peanut butter on hand for breakfast, canned light tuna for several lunches and lean meat, chicken and hot dogs for dinner. You'll also eat dairy items like eggs, cottage cheese and cheddar cheese throughout the program. Although the diet's guidelines don't specify what type of dairy products to consume, be aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends limiting yourself to low- or nonfat items.
Get Some Crackers and Toast
The only grain-rich foods in the 3-day diet are toast and saltine crackers. A typical day on the program features at least one piece of toast -- either dry or spread with a small amount of peanut butter; butter and margarine aren't allowed -- and anywhere from five to eight saltine crackers. If you choose to follow the plan, use a whole-grain product such as 100-percent whole-wheat bread for your toast to maximize your intake of fiber and B vitamins.
Enjoy Ice Cream
For dessert every day of the 3-day diet, followers have a 1/2- to 1-cup serving of vanilla ice cream. Although the USDA says you'll decrease your risk of heart disease and high blood cholesterol by choosing lowfat dairy, the 3-day diet's guidelines specify that you should only have full-fat ice cream while on the program. Be aware that eating regular dairy products can significantly increase your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.