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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Lose 5 Pounds in a 3-Day Detox: Is It Effective?

Lose 5 Pounds in a 3-Day Detox: Is It Effective?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
6 min read 2580 Views 0 Comments
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This article explores the efficacy and method of a three-day detox diet.

lose 5 pounds in 3 days detox

When trying to lose weight, many people get stuck, reach a plateau, or just don’t know how to begin. Three-day detox diets are a great way to kickstart or boost your weight loss in a healthy way.

Helping you shed a few pounds with a system of rapid weight loss, a 3-day detox uses significantly reduced calories and lots of healthy foods to push your body to lose weight quickly.

Three-day detox diets are great for weight loss, but they’re also a great way to detox the body and cleanse it. By eating a reduced calorie intake and focusing only on whole and healthy foods, the body has time to remove toxins and reset itself.

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Whether you’re stuck in a weight-loss plateau or have an event coming up, you might wonder if a three-day detox diet is right for you.

In this article, we will be looking at how much weight you can lose in three days, what a three-day diet entails, and the kind of foods you should eat both during and after the diet. 

To find out more, keep reading now.

Can You Lose 5 Pounds in a 3-Day Detox?

It is possible to lose up to five pounds on a three-day detox. These kinds of diets are sometimes used to kickstart weight loss, but they can be detrimental to your health.

A detox diet significantly reduces your caloric intake for three days which helps you shed pounds. However, it also restricts your nutrient intake, putting you at risk of missing out on vital vitamins and minerals.

While many people succeed in losing weight using a short and incredibly restrictive diet such as this one, much of the weight lost is water weight and can return easily when you go back to eating your normal diet again.

Though it may be desirable to lose 5 pounds in 3 days, a sustainable diet of healthy eating and a calorie deficit is much more likely to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in 3 Days?

A three-day detox diet pushes you to lose weight fast, and most people will lose around five pounds. While you may consider trying out this kind of diet after plateauing in your weight loss journey, such a significant loss of weight in a short period of time is extremely dangerous.

Most health authorities agree that a healthy amount of weight to lose in one week is just 1–2 pounds, meaning losing 5 pounds in three days is extremely unhealthy.

Losing too much weight too quickly can lead to complications including muscle loss, decreased metabolism, nutritional deficiencies, and gallstones, among others.

A 3-Day Detox Diet

The three-day detox diet varies depending on where you look for instructions, but the main aim is to significantly reduce your caloric intake across the three days.

Generally, on a detox diet, processed foods are banned, and juices, smoothies, and other ‘detox foods’ are increased to flush toxins from your system. Below, we have summarized an example of what a three-day detox may look like.

Remember that this diet comes with significant health risks, and the weight you lose is more likely water weight than body fat. To significantly reduce body fat and lose weight, you need to eat at a sustainable calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time.

Day 1

On day one, you should begin by drinking 1–2 glasses of warm water as you wake up. This is to get your digestive system working and prepared for the day ahead.

We recommend a smoothie that is heavier in vegetables than fruits for breakfast. Vegetables make for healthier smoothies due to the lower sugar content and can also provide you with fiber.

Make sure to use fresh fruits and vegetables in your detox drink for the best taste.

For lunch, you should also opt for a detox drink vegetable-based smoothie, and between lunch and dinner, you should drink another few glasses of water.

Drinking water in between meals can help keep you full and stay hydrated and focused.

For dinner, you should opt for a vegetable salad topped with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. You should drink water again in place of your usual evening snack in the evening.

Day 2

On day 2 of your diet, things are kept pretty much the same.

This means drinking water to keep your digestive tract healthy before a breakfast of a vegetable smoothie made using fresh produce.

You should follow this up with a lunch of a detox veggie smoothie again and then a few glasses of water before dinner.

For your dinner, you should have a vegetable-based green salad with similar toppings as the day before, like lemon juice and oil, but this time you can add quinoa or brown rice to your meal.

In the evening, rather than simply drinking water, you may eat a small snack of low-sugar fruits. Good options include plums, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, kiwis, grapefruit, and avocado.

Day 3

On day 3 of your diet, things change a little bit. On the last day, you’ll need to start preparing your body to go back to eating other foods again. This means eating a little more than the previous two days.

For breakfast, you should eat two to three pieces of fruit alongside your detox veggie smoothie and then drink water until lunch.

For lunch, you should try a vegetable salad with a portion of brown rice. (If you don’t love brown rice, you can have a baked sweet potato instead.)

And for the final meal of your diet, your dinner should contain rice or quinoa with a veggie salad. Along with this, you will need to add in some lean proteins. You could choose grilled chicken or fatty fish.

If you do not eat meat, try adding greek yogurt or other low-fat dairy, like cottage cheese, to your salad.

Can I Drink Juice During Detox?

Part of the detox plan is to drink vegetable smoothies and juices. Juice is a good way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs without adding too many calories.

When choosing juices and smoothies for your cleanse, ensure you are using two-thirds vegetables and one-third fruit to keep your sugar intake low. 

Opt for more green smoothies and juices to up your intake of beneficial nutrients found in green vegetables.

Ensure you drink juices at the prescribed times. Throughout the rest of the fast, you should opt for water or calorie-free beverages like unsweetened coffee and green tea.

What to Eat After a 3-Day Detox?

After your three-day detox, you’ll need to ease your digestive system back into eating three meals a day. This means starting out slow and eating small meals.

You should focus on whole foods, like grains, beans, and pulses, as well as fruits and vegetables. Don’t eat junk food, and try not to binge after your detox, or you may put all of the weight you’ve lost back on.

Are There Any Risks to a 3-Day Detox?

A three-day detox diet comes with a number of health risks.

Major health risks of detox diets include nutrient deficiencies caused by the restricted caloric intake they require, as well as gallstones and muscle loss.

Due to eating too few calories, you may experience feelings of weakness, fatigue, and exhaustion, along with extreme hunger, headaches, and dizziness. Dehydration is also a common side effect of detox diets.

On top of the physical symptoms of following a restrictive diet, there are psychological effects too.

Restricting caloric intake can lead to yo-yo dieting and disordered patterns of eating. While it can be desirable to lose weight in just a few days, restricting your calories so significantly can be a trigger for eating disorders, particularly in those who have previously suffered from them.

This kind of diet is also thought to have an impact on your mood, with significant mood changes and increased irritability both reported side effects.

A Word From Nutritionist

A three-day detox is considered an unsafe method of losing weight.

Detox diets purport to help you lose weight rapidly, kickstart a diet, and flush toxins out of your body, but they are actually an ineffective way of losing weight or detoxifying the body.

To begin with, the weight you lose on these diets is usually just water weight rather than any significant body fat, meaning that you will likely regain this weight once you start eating normally again.

The claim that this kind of diet can help detoxify the body is also false. Both the liver and kidneys are working continuously to detox the body, and there is very little evidence that so-called detox diets actually remove any toxins from your body.

Along with the lack of any significant benefits, detox diets are also dangerous to your health. Significantly restricting calories can cause a range of side effects, from dizziness and fatigue to extreme hunger and irritability.

The diet may also pose larger threats to your health, including the risk of muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and gallstones.

Overall, we would not recommend trying a detox diet for either weight reduction or detoxification as the purported benefits lack any real evidence and the health risks outweigh any positives.

For a healthier way to lose weight, you should eat at a calorie deficit and include healthy foods, like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet and avoid processed foods. This should be paired with exercise, like high-intensity interval training.

Following a sustainable and healthy diet like this will help you lose 5 pounds in no time and keep the weight off.


A restrictive and ‘detoxifying’ diet is an unsafe method of losing weight, and claims that you can lose 5 pounds in three days are false and dangerous.

While these diets may help you lose 5 pounds initially, this lost weight is usually water weight, and you will gain the weight back once you return to normal eating.

Significant calorie and dietary restrictions can increase your risk of a range of health conditions and should be avoided.

The best and healthiest method of reducing body weight is eating at a calorie deficit and ensuring you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet as well as staying active.

We recommend avoiding so-called detoxifying diets and sticking to healthy methods of weight reduction.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
6 min read 2580 Views 0 Comments

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