3-Day Tuna Diet

can of tuna

Hoping to shed a few pounds in a few days? Proponents say the three-day tuna diet is an easy, quick way to lose weight. However, this diet isn't associated with any medical institution, and there are few testimonials of dieters who have used this plan with success.

Not Supported by the Cleveland Clinic

This diet has floated around on the Internet for several years, and is often passed around as a diet recommended by a weight-loss clinic or a doctor. While it's not clear how this diet got started, no hospital or doctor has recommended it.

The Cleveland Clinic is the institution most often linked to the three-day tuna diet, but it states on its website that there is no such thing as the "Cleveland Clinic Diet." The Clinic issued this statement: "We all wish that weight loss and other health benefits could occur with simply making three days worth of dietary change. But severely restricting your calories, and including/excluding specific foods from the diet is not the way to long-term, sustained weight loss and health benefits."

Still, the stories of fast weight loss using tuna persist, and you can find the diet on numerous web pages. Generally, sources accurately label this plan as a fad diet.

Menu for the Three-Day Tuna Diet

The tuna diet is a three-day plan, but it does not require you to exclusively eat tuna for the three days.

Despite the fact that there's no real known source for this diet, the different websites you can find it on have remarkably similar ideas of what the diet entails.

Here's a sample of a full menu for day one:


  • Black coffee or tea (can be sweetened with artificial sweetener) or water
  • Half a grapefruit or equivalent in juice
  • One slice of toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter


  • Half a cup of tuna
  • One slice of toast
  • Black coffee, tea or water


  • Three ounces of any lean meat
  • One cup green beans
  • One cup carrots
  • One cup vanilla ice cream
  • One medium apple
  • Black coffee, tea or water

Other Accepted Foods

The diet goes on in a similar fashion for two more days. In addition to the foods listed, dieters are advised to drink four more glasses of water (or diet soda) daily. Herbs, salt and pepper, lemon, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard are also allowed.

After the three days, dieters may to go back to eating normally but not to overeat.

Diet Claims

Some websites claim that you can lose up to 10 pounds in three days following this diet. However, most websites that contain the diet do not include testimonials of anyone saying they have actually had success with the diet.

By all accounts, this diet is a fad and cannot deliver what is promised. What it likely would deliver, instead, is a very cranky and hungry dieter. Consulting a calorie counter lets you know that lunch on day one is not much more than 200 calories, and the whole day would give you less than 1,000 calories, which is really not enough to function.

Any diet that involves starvation (or severe calorie restriction) will produce some weight loss, but that weight loss is mostly water and will immediately return once you start eating normally again.

Healthy Diet Options

It's a much better idea to choose a healthy diet and stick with it over the long term than to try an unfounded (and probably unsafe) diet just because it promises quick results. There are many safe diet programs that make it more of a lifestyle than a fad. Consider some of these programs:

All of these programs combine healthy eating with exercise.

Use Caution with Fad Diets

Always be cautious when a diet promises quick and easy results, since you should probably expect anything but. Additionally, severely limiting your food intake can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When beginning a new diet, consult your physician to make sure it is safe for you and your specific needs.

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3-Day Tuna Diet