Atkins Diet 3 Days on & 3 Days Off to Lose Weight

By Toby Pendergrass ; Updated July 18, 2017

The Atkins Diet and the Three-Day Diet have both received widespread attention in recent years for claims about rapid weight loss. The Atkins Diet has shown results for some users and focuses on permanent change of eating habits, while the Three-Day Diet, according to the American Heart Association, is discouraged by many health organizations and is regarded as unhealthy, .


Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist, created the Atkins Diet in 1972 and is often cited as starting the dieting trend that focuses on low carbohydrate intake. The diet has been the subject of several best-selling books. The Three-Day Diet became prominent in 1985 and has been falsely linked with several health organizations, including the Cleveland Clinic and American Heart Association. Both organizations discourage the diet and encourage weight loss through a healthy diet combined with exercise.


Proponents of the Three-Day Diet promise higher energy levels, along with reduced cholesterol and weight loss of up to 10 pounds due to a metabolic reaction that occurs after three days of eating the meals specified in the diet's plan. Atkins Nutritionals claims some users may lose up to 15 pounds during the diet’s initial two weeks, but the focus is on gradual, long-term weight loss and improved health.


The Atkins Diet focuses on proteins and fats, while carbohydrates are restricted. An emphasis is placed on eating whole foods and making sure the carbohydrates that you do eat come from whole-food sources such as vegetables. Calorie restriction and following strict menus is not necessary. The diet is comprised of four phases. You may consume from 20 g to 100 g carbohydrates daily based on your phase, although this is far less than the conventionally recommended 225 g to 325 g, MayoClinic.com points out. Users of the Three-Day Diet follow restrictive guidelines and are forbidden to skip any of the diet’s recommended food options. Users follow the diet for three days, and then eat normally for up to five days. Afterward, the three day/five day cycle is repeated.


The Three-Day Diet disrupts your body’s metabolism, which increases your risk for regaining lost weight after your resume normal eating habits. Evidence is lacking to support the diet’s positive claims about weight loss. According to MayoClinic.com, many users of the Atkins Diet also regain any lost weight, although some who continue the diet for at least two years lose an average of 9 lbs.


Your risk for overeating increases during the normal-eating portion the Three-Day Diet due to hunger, which can offset your weight-loss goals. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the Three-Day Diet and other diets that exclude certain foods and restrict calories compromise long-term weight loss. The MayoClinic.com reports that some extreme low-carbohydrate diets result in nutritional deficiencies that raise your risk for nausea, constipation and diarrhea.


The American Heart Association discourages fad dieting and recommends a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol for those seeks to lose weight. The Cleveland Clinic recommends diets based on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as unsaturated fats and fish like salmon that contain omega-3 acids. Notify your physician before starting any diet, especially if you have existing health conditions.

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