If you have a special event coming up, such as a wedding or vacation, you may want to know how you can lose weight in three days. Three-day diets, such as the peanut butter diet, have grown in popularity as people look to lose weight quickly.
Usually, followers of the three-day diet will stick to one type of food along with protein and vegetables. Short-term diets tend to be low in calories and carbohydrates. The three-day peanut butter diet is one example.
Since the diet is restrictive and short-term, any weight lost during the three-day program is most likely water weight. You may regain the couple pounds lost once you return to your normal lifestyle.
Peanut Butter Nutrition
Peanut butter is known for being a healthy source of fat with a moderate amount of protein. It is also a good source of certain vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, potassium, omega-6 fatty acids and magnesium.
However, peanut butter is not a low-calorie food. A small serving size of just 1 to 2 tablespoons packs upwards of 100-200 calories. Since the peanut butter diet is a low-calorie program, consuming multiple servings of peanut butter per day yields small portion sizes of other foods eaten on the diet.
A serving size of peanut butter on the three-day diet is two level tablespoons. According to the USDA, 2 tablespoons yields the following peanut butter nutrition facts:
- 191 calories
- 7 grams of protein
- 16.5 grams of fat
- 7 grams of carbohydrates
These peanut butter nutrition facts can vary depending on the brand you choose or if you make your own peanut butter. If possible, choose a peanut butter brand with minimal to no added ingredients (e.g. sugar, oil, salt, etc.). Some peanut butters contain just one ingredient — peanuts.
Read more: 7 Healthy Peanut Butter Brands
Peanut Butter for Weight Loss
The three-day diet relies on peanut butter for weight loss. Though it is not a low-calorie food, peanut butter can be integrated into a low-calorie diet. It can also be eaten on a low-carb diet, such as the keto diet.
Weight loss requires a caloric deficit regardless of the diet you follow. This simply means you must burn more calories than you consume. You can do this through exercise or a calorie-restricted diet like the three-day peanut butter diet. In this case, you will eat two to three servings of peanut butter for weight loss, provided that you stay within your calorie target.
Research suggests that peanut butter is a satiating food that encourages greater weight loss. A 2014 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that peanut products are energy-dense and have high satiety value. Therefore, they are not associated with weight gain.
The study also notes that overall caloric intake is more important for weight loss than macronutrient distribution. Utilizing peanut butter for weight loss is most effective as part of a caloric deficit created by diet or exercise.
Read more: 9 Simple and Satisfying Peanut Butter Snacks
Peanut Butter Diet
The three-day peanut butter diet may be adapted from a 2001 program called the Peanut Butter Diet, founded by health magazine editor Holly McCord, MA, RD. They conducted their own research following the launch of the program and found that participants lost up to 27 pounds during the trial, though the duration is unknown.
On this diet, men consume 2,200 calories per day with 6 tablespoons of peanut butter, and women consume 1,500 calories which includes 4 tablespoons of peanut butter. The founder recommends that followers consume some fruit, several servings of vegetables, some grains and plenty of protein sources in addition to peanut butter.
More recent adaptations of the diet are lower in calories and have stricter limitations on foods high in carbs, such as starches, legumes and grains. Since peanut butter is high in fat, some people consume several servings of peanut butter per day as part of a high-fat diet for weight loss.
Read more: Is Peanut Butter Bad for Weight Loss?
Three-Day Peanut Butter Program
The three-day peanut butter program consists of three meals per day with up to 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. Followers restrict their calories and carbs to achieve short-term weight loss. To find out how many calories you should consume to lose weight, use a calorie counter.
The diet also includes sources of protein, such as eggs, poultry and fish. Legumes may be used in place of animal products, but they are higher in carbs. Non-starchy vegetables are also recommended for their micronutrient content.
This diet based on peanut butter is naturally lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat and protein. However, a low-carb diet should not be followed long-term. In a 2018 study published in the Lancet Public Health journal, researchers found that both low-carb and high-carb diets have greater risks of mortality. The lowest risk is associated with 50-55 percent calories from carbohydrates.
Restricting your calories and carbs on this diet may result in quick but temporary weight loss. Any pounds lost during the three days are likely water weight rather than fat. Because of this, you may regain the weight shortly after.
Read more: Negative Side Effects of a Low-Carb Diet
Adopt a Balanced Diet
Aside from people with peanut allergies, many people enjoy peanut butter. Following a diet that allows several servings of peanut butter per day while encouraging weight loss sounds appealing to most people.
However, a criticism of the three-day peanut butter diet is that it is not sustainable or balanced. A low-calorie, low-carb diet is associated with several health risks, including nutrient deficiency, muscle loss and decreased metabolism.
The peanut butter diet is not in alignment with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which details healthy eating patterns based on scientific evidence. The guidelines recommend a non-restricted diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein sources. It is advised that animal products should be eaten in their fat-free or low-fat form.
If you choose to follow the three-day peanut butter diet, do so with caution and do not continue the diet beyond three days. Whether or not you try the diet, you can incorporate one to two servings of peanut butter into your lifestyle as a source of healthy fat and satiating protein.
- USDA FoodData Central: “Peanut Butter”
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “A Review of the Effects of Nuts on Appetite, Food Intake, Metabolism and Body Weight.”
- Lancet Public Health: “Dietary Carbohydrate Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study and Meta-Analysis”
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans; 2015-2020: Appendix 3. USDA Food Patterns: Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern"
- St. Martin's Paperbacks: "The Peanut Butter Diet"