Jorge Cruise, a man who claims to have been 40 pounds overweight, developed a diet plan designed to eliminate "belly fat." According to the National Institutes of Health, fat in the abdominal area can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For many people, the belly is a problem area, and this diet plan specifically targets it.
The 3-Hour Diet is a trademarked food plan that involves eating small portions of food every three hours throughout the day. This is a highly controlled plan with a regimented eating schedule. By eating at specific times throughout the day, Cruise says dieters keep their metabolism running on high, reducing body fat.
According to EveryDiet.org, the promise of the 3-Hour Diet is that by eating every three hours, dieters can lose belly fat and maintain a healthier weight. Dieters are told to:
- eat breakfast at 7 a.m.
- have a 100-calorie snack at 10 a.m.
- eat lunch at 1 p.m.
- have a second 100-calorie snack at 4 p.m.
- eat dinner at 7 p.m.
- soon after dinner, enjoy a 50-calorie treat
To follow the diet correctly, dieters must make sure they stop eating at least three hours before going to sleep.
Cruise developed this diet based on the belief that if you go for more than three hours without putting food in your body, it goes into "starvation mode." In other words, your body stores fat and burns muscle, slowing down your metabolism as if preparing for a period of hunger. Eating consistently will, according to Cruise, keep your metabolism moving quickly, helping you burn fat all day.
The 3-Hour Diet promises that you’ll get rid of stubborn belly fat without giving up your favorite foods or having to commit to a full-fledged exercise program. In fact, exercise is optional with this program. The 3-Hour Diet promises that within two weeks of joining the program, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol (which Cruise believes causes belly fat) will be reduced, and so will your waistline.
According to the program’s website, you can drop 10 pounds during the first two weeks and then lose additional weight every week after that. The diet is advertised as one that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of weight loss. It also claims to be easy enough to follow that you will be able to stick with it until you reach your goals.
The 3-Hour Diet is all-inclusive. There are no prohibited types of food. In fact, some of the most maligned foods are allowed in small portions. Dieters can eat occasional fast food chicken, chocolate candy bars, bacon, and red meat. This is alluring for those who aren’t ready to give up their favorite foods.
Cruise believes that there are no bad foods, just bad portions. Following this methodology, the 3-Hour Diet is fairly sensible. It takes into account the undeniable fact that calories are what determine weight gain, and sets strict calorie limits for each meal and snack. The 3-Hour Diet’s meal plan also encourages eating a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Many experts don’t agree that regular, small portions necessarily translate into weight loss.
One danger is that the frequent eating involved in the 3-Hour Diet can offer an opportunity for abuse, especially if you have problems overeating to begin with. If portion sizes aren’t controlled, frequent eating can actually cause you to gain weight. Similarly, if you struggle with addiction to certain foods, such as sugar, this diet is not designed to help you overcome that addiction.
Cruise also includes highly processed foods in his meal plans, such as McDonald’s Egg McMuffins and Oreos. While he believes that there are no bad foods, research suggests that highly processed foods can lead to long-term weight gain.
Another issue is that the 3-Hour Diet doesn’t address the necessity of exercise. Exercise is essential to overall health, as well as healthy weight loss.
Cruise’s focus on controlling the psychological aspects of weight gain and weight loss is insightful. Stress eating can lead to increased abdominal fat. Healthy stress management is crucial for successful weight loss. The 3-Hour Diet does a good job tackling some of the eating habits that lead to excess body fat.
However, every weight loss program should include some type of physical activity. People become overweight when they eat more calories than they use, and one of the causes of the obesity epidemic in the United States is an inactive lifestyle. Dieters who combine the 3-Hour Diet with a healthy exercise program may very well see positive, long-term results.
Medically Reviewed by: Natalie Butler, RD, LD
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.