A diet that requires you to eat a lot of fruit sounds like the ultimate weight loss solution. It has to be! Fruits are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. But will it really make you lose weight? The answer to this question is yes and no.
The 3-day fruit diet for weight loss is popular among many, but it does have its benefits and limitations. This article will explore how this diet works, its potential pros, cons, and what to expect.
What Is The 3-Day Fruit Diet?
The 3-day fruit diet is a trendy weight loss regimen that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. It has many variations, but the gist of it is this: for three days, you eat only fruit with no added sugar or sweetener. The goal is to detox your body from all the sweets you’ve been indulging in over the holidays, while also getting some nutrients into your system. And because fruits are high in water content, they help keep you hydrated and satiated during those three days.
The rules of the diet are as follows:
- Each day, drink at least 12 glasses of filtered or bottled water.
- Non-water beverages, such as coffee and tea, should be avoided.
- Fresh fruits, in any form, are encouraged (no frozen, dried, or canned fruits), especially if organic (or washed well).
- Have a vegetable salad for supper — non-starchy, ideally organic, vegetables are best.
- Avoid exercising.
- Protein drinks should be used in addition to fruits.
Many people who try this diet report feeling surprisingly energized after just one day on it, sometimes even more so than if they had tried to go about their normal eating habits.
Now, let’s take a look at what you can expect when trying this diet out for yourself.
Pros Of Following The 3-Day Fruit Diet For Weight Loss
Water weight is one of the first things to go when you’re dieting and eating far fewer calories than usual, so there’s some weight loss attributed to this diet. It just might not be sustainable fat loss.
One of the most common things people report about this diet is that they feel more energetic than usual during those three days. They report feeling like their normal diets leave them tired and sluggish, but after following this 3-day fruit diet they feel more awake and capable of taking on the day.
Nutrient And Antioxidant Boost
The fruits you’ll be eating on this diet are also packed with high levels of vitamins and antioxidants that will help keep your body healthy, balanced, and functioning at its best (4).
Fruits are also great sources of fiber which helps to maintain good digestion, control blood sugar levels, and keeps you feeling full for longer (4).
No Calorie Counting Necessary
This diet is all about eating whatever type of fruit your heart desires with no restrictions or limits. This can be a great way to ease yourself into a healthier diet if you’re not used to counting calories.
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Cons Of Following The 3-Day Fruit Diet For Weight Loss
The biggest con of this diet is that it isn’t something you can stick to long-term. We all know how it goes, there’s no way someone can live off of fruit for the rest of their life. Some experts suggest that certain fruits should be avoided on this diet because they have a high fructose content, which could actually do more harm than good, while juice diets are often shunned due to the high sugar content.
Proteins are important for a healthy diet, and they will also help keep you fuller, longer (9). And while fruits do have some protein in them, it’s not enough to sustain your body throughout the day. This may cause you to crash later on and feel even more tired than usual. Plus if you don’t get enough protein in your diet, you may lose muscle mass.
Unpleasant Side Effects
Some unpleasant side effects come with a diet like this. Fruits, even the ones you’re allowed to eat on this specific diet, could cause some stomach problems and bloating for some people if eaten in excess.
While fruits are good for you, too much of anything can be bad for you. Eating mostly fruit and not a balance of food groups can cause some problems like an inadequacy of certain vitamins and minerals that your body needs (10).
Lack Of Variety
Another drawback to this diet is that it doesn’t give you very many options if you want to mix things up. Sure, fruits are pretty versatile, but there are only so many fruits you can eat before you get sick of them.
As mentioned before, the main problem with this diet is that it isn’t something you can stick to long-term, and most people who try it will (and should) abandon it after three days. While quick weight loss is often touted as a benefit by those trying out this diet, in reality, it is a negative thing because once you go back to your normal eating habits, the weight will come right back.
Health Benefits Of Eating Fruits
As part of a balanced diet, fruits offer the following health benefits:
Maintain Blood Pressure
Fruits like apples and grapes contain quercetin, a type of flavonoid that may reduce the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease (CHD). Fruits also increase your body’s production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the walls of arteries, which increases blood flow. These actions help keep your blood pressure in check (4).
Aid In Weight Loss
In addition to being low in calories, fruits are high in fiber and water, which add bulk without adding calories. This helps fill you up, so you eat less at subsequent meals. Apples, pears, peaches, and plums contain lots of soluble fiber in their skin along with vitamins A and C to promote good health when eaten frequently (5).
Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. This is an irreversible eye disorder that affects sharp, central vision in the elderly (7).
Foods rich in these two carotenoids include yellow corn, green leafy vegetables, and oranges. A study found that people who eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day have a lower risk for this condition than those who don’t eat enough produce (3).
Regulate Bowel Movements
Certain fruits contain a soluble fiber called pectin, a water-soluble plant carbohydrate found naturally in apples, citrus fruit, and other plants, have been shown to aid in regulating bowel movements. Pectin also helps lower blood cholesterol levels (1).
Help Prevent Cancer
Fruits and vegetables contain a wide array of antioxidants that protect your cells from damage by free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can cause cell mutations and could eventually lead to cancer and other diseases. Studies show that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of many cancers, including lung, colon, and oral cancers (5).
In particular, oranges are rich in the antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin, which protects against lung cancer. And pomegranates contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound associated with reduced risk for ovarian cancer (5).
Prevent Kidney Stones
Citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruit contain citrate, and have been shown to prevent kidney stones by blocking stone formation (8).
Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
One study reported that people who ate diets rich in fruit and vegetables had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Blueberries are especially high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been linked to improved memory (6).
Fruits contain other beneficial compounds known as polyphenols — potent antioxidants that protect your skin from sun damage and may reduce your risk for skin cancer. These substances can be absorbed into your body if you eat fruits like apples, strawberries, grapefruit, and citrus (5).
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Get Your Recommended Daily Allowance Of Fruits
Women should eat 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit a day, while men require about 2 cups, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2). However, just because you’re not eating the suggested daily servings doesn’t mean you can’t reap any benefits from fruit. It’s not easy for everyone to eat enough produce every day to meet their nutrient needs, so even if you have one or two pieces a day, that’s better than nothing!
It may seem difficult to fit in the recommended servings during hectic days when time is at a premium. However, by cutting up fruits and eating them with other foods, you can boost their nutrient value and make them easier to digest. In addition, by boosting the fruit content of your breakfast cereal with sliced bananas or berries or adding a few pieces to your green salads, you’ll open up a whole new world of flavors and benefits.
The Bottom Line
The 3-day fruit diet is restrictive and offers temporary results. That said, there’s a reason doctors and nutritionists recommend that we eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These foods are an important source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and cancer-fighting substances. By including more fresh produce in your healthy balanced diet, you can help maintain optimum health, as well as lose weight.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- [Health-promoting properties of pectin] (2014, nih.gov)
- Americans Still Can Meet Fruit and Vegetable Dietary Guidelines for $2.10-$2.60 per Day (2019, usda.gov)
- Fruit May Help Prevent Macular Degeneration (2004, webmd.com)
- Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome (2017, nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables (2012, nih.gov)
- Increased Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables Is Related to a Reduced Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: Meta-Analysis (2017, nih.gov)
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin Status and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (2003, arvojournals.org)
- Medical and Dietary Therapy for Kidney Stone Prevention (2014, nih.gov)
- Protein, weight management, and satiety (2008, oup.com)
- The Fruitarian Diet: Is It Good or Bad For You? (2021, clevelandclinic.org)