3-Day Tuna Diet For Weight Loss – Benefits And Precautions

Weigh the pros and cons of this regimen before you jump on the fad-dieting bandwagon.

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian)
Written by Priyanka Sadhukhan, MSc (Nutrition), Certified Diabetes Educator
Edited by Arshiya Syeda
Fact-checked by Aparna Mallampalli, BEd (Biological Sciences), MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition  • 

The tuna diet was formulated by Dave Draper to get the body into fat-loss mode. This short-term diet plan involves taking tuna with foods that offer fewer calories. So, how does this diet actually work? Is tuna good for weight loss? Well, it helps you enhance your metabolism, lose water weight, and develop lean muscle. If you are among those who are trying to cut down on your weight and aiming for a lean and fit body, try the three tuna diet plans listed in this article. However, it is better to consult your doctor before embarking on this weight loss diet. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is The Tuna Diet?

Grilled tuna with low-calorie, fiber-rich sides
Image: IStock

The tuna diet is a low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein diet that aids weight loss. In this diet, you will have to consume tuna fish two to three times a day, along with water. You can eat tuna with other protein-rich, fiber-rich, low-calorie foods to keep your taste buds alive and protect the body from a drastic change.

protip_icon Fun Fact
Hollywood actor Christian Bale followed an extreme tuna diet to shed 63 pounds for his role in The Machinist. He consumed only an apple and a can of tuna daily for 4 months.

Is The Tuna Diet Good For Weight Loss?

Woman on a tuna diet plan that is a fast way to lose weight
Image: IStock

The tuna diet plan is the fastest way to lose weight as your calorie intake is restricted. You only consume protein-rich (3 oz. tuna fish contains 21 g of protein) tuna fish (1). This diet plan is effective for short-term results.

Kara Duffy, a blogger, shared her experience of following the tuna diet for quick weight loss. She said, “I did manage to lose around 3-4lbs over the course of the few days. I will stress that this is not a method to abuse because it is a very low intake and almost considered a fasting method – and as you can see the moment I finished the diet I instantly stuffed my face with unhealthy food and this is how people end up putting more weight back on (i)”.

Studies have found that a hypocaloric (low-calorie) diet with high protein intake (2.4 g per kg body) helps to increase lean body mass (LBM) and decrease fat mass when combined with exercise (2).

This diet plan should be followed for three days for the desired results. The 30-day tuna diet is not recommended as it hampers your metabolic system, and you might gain the weight back once you go off your diet.

Why You Should Choose The 3-Day Tuna Diet

Here’s why you should choose the tuna diet:

  • Tuna is very nutritious. It is rich in vitamins A, D, E, B6, B1, B2, niacin, and folic acid and contains minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc (1).
  • Tuna is loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acidsi  XDietary fatty acids essential for the health of your heart, brain, and nerves that can be found in nuts, fish, seeds, and plant-based oils. (omega-3 fatty acids), which help reduce inflammation in the body. It is also a rich source of high-quality proteins (1). Tuna’s low-energy and high-nutritional value make it great for weight loss.
  • The tuna diet was created for bodybuilders who were a few days away from a competition. Unlike bodybuilders, you may get bored in less than two days of eating just tuna. This is where our 3-day tuna diet helps. You will eat tuna, along with other protein-rich, fiber-rich, and low-calorie foods to keep your taste buds alive.

3-Day Tuna Diet Plan

Tuna meal low in calories and high in protein, complex carbs, and dietary fiber.
Image: IStock

Day 1

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00 – 7:30 a.m)1 cup warm water with honey and lime juice
Breakfast (8:15 – 8:45 a.m)Scrambled egg whites + 1 cup soy milk + ¼ cup pomegranate
Mid-Morning (10:30 – 11:00 a.m)Green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit
Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m)Tuna salad with spinach, tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper
Evening Snack (4:00 p.m)Green tea or fresh passion fruit juice
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 p.m)Tuna burrito with shredded veggies

Why This Works

  • This diet chart is low in calories and high in protein, complex carbs, and dietary fiber.
  • The morning detox water will help you flush out toxins and boost metabolism.
  • Egg whites and soy milk are excellent sources of protein (3), (4).
  • Pomegranate contains 1.45 g protein per half cup arils (87 g) and is also a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber (5).
  • Green tea and multigrain biscuit will help curb your hunger. Therefore, you will not have the urge to overeat during lunch.
  • For lunch and dinner, have a tuna salad or tuna burrito. Tuna is a great source of lean protein (1). The veggies are rich in complex carbs and fiber (6).
  • Having green tea or passion fruit for evening snacks will keep your hunger pangs at bay. Green tea is a great source of antioxidantsi  XChemical substances found in vegetables and fruits that protect against cell damage caused by free radicals (a type of unstable molecule). (7).

You can substitute any of the above-mentioned foods (except tuna) with the foods mentioned below.


  • Honey – Fenugreek seeds
  • Lime juice – Apple cider vinegar
  • Scrambled egg whites – 1 oz canned tuna
  • Soy milk – Almond milk or low-fat milk
  • Pomegranate – Apple
  • Green tea – Oolong tea or black tea
  • Multigrain biscuit – Saltine cracker
  • Spinach – Kale
  • Tomato – Chopped zucchini
  • Olive oil – Virgin coconut oil
  • Lemon juice – Grapefruit juice
  • Black pepper – White pepper
  • Passion fruit – Orange

It is important that you exercise to expend the energy. Here is a workout plan for you.

Day 1 Workout Plan

  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Arm rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Ankle rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Side lunges – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Spot jogging – 5-10 minutes
  • Jumping jacks – 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Squat – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Side crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Mountain climbers – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Push-ups – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Stretch

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 1

Day 1 is quite simple and easy to follow. You would be happy to complete Day 1 successfully and look forward to Day 2.

Day 2

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00 – 7:30 a.m)1 cup water with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Breakfast (8:15 – 8:45 a.m)1/2 cup carrot juice + spinach and egg sandwich
Mid-Morning (10:30 – 11:00 a.m)Green tea
Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m)Tuna lettuce wrap + 1 cup buttermilk
Evening Snack (4:00 p.m)Green tea + ¼ cup popcorn
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 p.m)Baked tuna with veggies + 1 glass warm low-fat milk

Why This Works

  • Apple cider vinegar helps in weight loss. Studies showed that vinegar intake reduced body weight, fat, and triglyceridei  XA lipid (fat) that the body does not need to produce calories to carry out essential tasks and stores in the blood in case of excess energy. levels in obese people without causing adverse effects (8).
  • Eggs are rich in protein, while carrot and spinach provide the body with complex carbs and dietary fiber.
  • Green tea is loaded with natural antioxidants and increases satietyi  XThe sense of being satisfied as a result of the absence of hunger, which is essential for a balanced quality of life. and fullness (9).
  • Having tuna lettuce wrap and buttermilk for lunch will help you stay active post-lunch.
  • One-fourth cup of popcorn will help keep your taste buds alive.
  • Having tuna and veggies for dinner will keep you satisfied and help repair and rebuild the muscle fibers.
  • Drinking a glass of warm milk will help you sleep better.

If you are allergic to any of the above-mentioned foods or a picky eater, try these substitute foods.


  • Apple cider vinegar – Lemon juice
  • Carrot – Beetroot
  • Spinach – Kale
  • Egg – Tofu
  • Green tea – Herbal tea
  • Lettuce – Chinese cabbage
  • Buttermilk – Coconut water
  • Popcorn – Saltine cracker
  • Low-fat milk – Soy milk

protip_icon Quick Tip
Instead of baking the tuna, you can broil or grill it to enhance its flavors. Broiling and grilling are also the healthiest ways to cook tuna and retain its nutrients.

On Day 2, you need to help your body burn calories by working out. Here is a workout plan for Day 2.

Day 2 Workout Plan

Woman exercising at home and doing lunges
Image: IStock
  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Arm rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Ankle rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Side lunges – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • High jump – 2 sets of 30 reps
  • Jumping jacks – 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Forward lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Jumping lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Squats – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Push-ups – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Scissor kicks – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Stretch

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 2

By the end of Day 2, you will feel lighter and more active. Since you will be eating a lot of fiber and protein, you will not feel the urge to snack on junk food. This will also boost your confidence, and you will be more interested to see what Day 3 of this diet has in store for you.

Day 3

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00 – 7:30 a.m)1 cup warm water with juice of 1 lime
Breakfast (8:15 – 8:45 a.m)Egg frittata + 1 cup watermelon juice + 2 almonds
Mid-Morning (10:30 – 11:00 a.m)Green tea
Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m)Tuna, kale, and egg salad + coconut water
Evening Snack (4:00 p.m)Green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 p.m)Grilled tuna steak + 1 cup warm low-fat milk

Why This Works

  • On this day, you will increase your citrus intake in the morning to kick-start your metabolism.
  • Egg frittata is high in protein, complex carbs, and dietary fiber.
  • Watermelon juice will keep you hydrated and make you feel full.
  • Almonds are great sources of healthy fats and help in weight loss if taken in controlled portions (10), (11).
  • Having green tea before lunch will help keep your hunger pangs at bay. Keep the lunch exciting and flavorful by adding egg and kale to your tuna salad. Make sure to avoid fatty dressing.
  • Coconut water is loaded with natural electrolytes that can keep you hydrated (12).
  • Multigrain biscuits contain a lot of fiber and help in digestion. They also prevent fat absorption.
  • Tuna steak is a great source of protein. Have a cup of milk just before bed to help you sleep better at night.

Are you allergic to any of the foods mentioned in the diet chart? Or, are you a picky eater? Whatever the reason is, here is a food substitute list for you.


  • Lime – Overnight soaked fenugreek seeds or ACV
  • Egg frittata – Vegetable semolina
  • Watermelon – Cucumber
  • Almonds – Walnut
  • Green tea – Oolong tea or herbal tea
  • Kale – Spinach
  • Egg – Tofu
  • Coconut water – Low-fat yogurt
  • Multigrain biscuit – Saltine cracker
  • Milk – Soy Milk

You also have to work out on the last day of the tuna diet plan. Here is a workout plan for Day 3.

Day 3 Workout Plan

  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Arm rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Ankle rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Side lunges – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Spot jogging – 5-10 minutes
  • Push-ups – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Tricep dips – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Side crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Yoga

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 3

As this diet plan is low in calories and carbs, you will lose a lot of water weight by the end of Day 3 and look less bloated (13). This will make you appear slimmer. Since you will be on a high-protein diet and eat healthy fats, complex carbs, and dietary fiber, you will look fresh and toned. You will definitely love the results of being on the 3-day tuna diet.

But what happens after Day 3? Do you go back to eating junk and high-sugar containing foods? No! Here’s what you should do.

What You Should Do After Day 3

Fruits and vegetables make for clean and healthy eating
Image: IStock

Though you will lose the water weight and kick-start your metabolism and fat mobilization, you have to help your body start melting the fat by making the following changes in your lifestyle:

1. Follow A Nutritious Diet Plan

Include 3-4 servings of fruits and veggies in your meal plan every day. You should also consume healthy fat sources, like nuts, fish oil supplement, vitamin E supplement, avocado, and fish. Avoid snacking on junk food.

2. Shop Smart

Eating clean is not an expensive affair if you know how to shop smart. Avoid going to the junk food section of the supermarket. Check the labels to find out more about packaged foods. Avoid packaged fruit and vegetable juices. If possible, visit the local organic farmer’s market to buy fresh veggies and fruits at a much cheaper rate.

3. Learn To Say No To Unhealthy Foods

Unhealthy food is tempting, but that’s one of the main reasons for the obesity pandemic. Saying no to unhealthy foods will help you take baby steps towards building a fit and slimmer you. Make conscious efforts, and you will see the results.

4. Workout Regularly

Working out only on these three days will not help you. Make it a habit to work out at least 3 hours a week. You can play a sport, learn to dance, or hit the gym. Working out will make you fit and keep health issues at bay. Your skin will start to glow.

5. Take Out Time For Yourself

Have some “me time” every now and then. Building a healthy relationship with yourself is as important as any other relationship. Some quiet time to think about yourself will open many locked doors, and you will be able to see clearly without getting influenced by others. It will help you analyze your current unhealthy habits and decide what you should do to step on the healthy side.

6. Get Proper Sleep

Sleep deprivation can also lead to weight gain (14). Therefore, you should sleep for at least 7 hours. Sleep early and get up early so that you have time to work out and have your breakfast before you head out.

7. Meditate

Meditation is one of the best ways to train your brain to let go of stress (15). Depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction, and all the other negative energies will convert to satisfaction, happiness, and other positive emotions. You will learn to control your emotions and will feel calmer. The positive energy will help you to choose your lifestyle wisely, which will indirectly help you lose weight.

You can incorporate different tuna-based dishes into your routine to ensure you get the necessary nutrients. Check out the next section to know more.

Tuna Diet Recipes

1. Tuna Salad Bowl

Tuna salad bowl
Image: Shutterstock
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 diced cucumber
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ cup of chopped lettuce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
How To Prepare
  1. Mix the tuna, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and red onion in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the ingredients.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve over lettuce.

2. Tuna And Avocado Wraps

Tuna and avocado wraps
Image: Shutterstock
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 2 whole-grain tortillas
  • ½ cup of chopped bell peppers
  • ½ cup of lettuce leaves
How To Prepare
  1. Mash the avocado and mix it with tuna and cilantro.
  2. Spread the mixture on the tortillas.
  3. Add the bell peppers and lettuce.
  4. Roll up the tortillas and enjoy!

It is important to keep certain points in mind before attempting this diet. Learn more in the next section.


Do not follow this diet plan for more than three days as it is a low-calorie diet plan.

Consult your doctor before starting this diet plan. Be mindful of any possible seafood allergies before embarking on this diet.

If you think this diet plan is working and want to continue, take a break of a week and then start this diet again.

Do not follow this diet if you have gout and other high uric acid-related health problems.

Since protein also gets converted to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis (synthesis of glucose from non-carb sources) in the body, you should not over-consume this nutrient. Excess protein is equal to excess glucose, and it will result in weight gain if not used up as energy.

Infographic: 5 Important Reasons For Choosing 3-Day Tuna Diet

Tuna diet is one of the popular diets as it is a low-calorie, low-carb, and high-protein diet which helps in weight loss. Follow the diet in the article to lose weight efficiently with a tuna diet, but to know about important reasons for choosing the tuna diet, check out the infographic below!

5 important reasonsfor choosing the 3 day tuna diet (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

In a gist, the tuna diet is a high-protein plan where you eat tuna twice or thrice a day. You can pair tuna with other low-calorie and high-fiber foods. Stick to an exercise plan when you go on this diet to see increased lean body mass and decreased fat mass. To ensure you have a variety of flavorful options, we have added a tuna diet chart to give you an idea of what you can eat when on this diet. So, scroll up and give that diet plan another look. To see sustainable results, work out regularly and follow a healthy lifestyle like sleeping on time, decreasing alcohol consumption, and meditating for stress relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is eating only tuna healthy?

Tuna is a healthy food as it is high in protein. However, eating only tuna is nothing but a fad diet. Club tuna with a lot of vegetables and whole grains for a balanced approach.

How much can I lose in the tuna diet plan?

The tuna diet is a short-term approach for rapid weight loss. If clubbed with a proper exercise routine and lifestyle changes, you can lose up to 10 pounds. Make sure to check with your dietitian before starting off on this fad diet plan.

Is tuna fish good for diabetics?

Yes. Oily fish (like tuna) may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (16). Use fresh tuna fish for better control over glycemic response.

Is tuna with mayo good for weight loss?

Avoid mayo as much as possible if you want to lose weight. You can eat tuna with a bowl of fresh seasonal vegetables for weight loss.

Is tuna or chicken better for weight loss?

Tuna is lower in calories and fat than chicken, which makes it more suitable for weight loss.

How much tuna is safe per week?

Adults can safely consume between 3-5 ounces of fish twice or thrice per week.

Does tuna have side effects?

Tuna may have high concentrations of mercury. Some signs of mercury poisoning due to high mercury levels in food are finger curling, trouble with coordination, and cognitive impairment.

Is tuna in oil better than tuna in water?

Tuna in oil may contain more fats and calories than tuna in water. Thus, it may not be the better choice for weight loss purposes.

Is tuna good for heart health?

Tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids and can help reduce inflammation as well as control cholesterol levels. However, it is also dependent on the type of tuna and portion size (17).

How to consume more tuna?

You can increase your tuna intake in the form of sushi, or in sandwiches and salads. The Mediterranean diet encourages a balanced consumption of nutrients.

Key Takeaways

  • The tuna diet is a short diet plan for quick weight loss.
  • The diet may encourage fat loss as it is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates.
  • You can consume tuna with foods rich in protein and dietary fiber.
  • Avoid this diet if you have gout or other health problems related to uric acid
  • Stop following the diet after three days or take a break for a few days before resuming

Embark on a transformative journey with the tuna and water diet. Learn how this structured eating plan can help you shed pounds and achieve your weight loss goals. Watch the video below.

Personal Experience: Source

i. The 3 Day British Heart Foundation Tuna Diet


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