Eating every 3 hours

You’re wanting to lose weight. And when it comes to weight loss, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

So you decide to limit your calories by eating just a few times a day, but you feel yourself starving before, between, and after your meals–basically the whole day.

You end up overeating at your meal times, mindlessly snacking all day, and eventually giving up on your weight loss goals.

If this is you, stop it!

For many people, eating just a few times a day to lose weight just doesn’t work! For others, it does work!

If you have tried restricting your meal times during the day and struggle with hunger, snacking mindlessly, and overeating at meal times, you should try eating more frequently to lose weight.

So how many times should you be eating?

If you struggle with the above, you should try and eat every 3 hours. Let’s run through why!

The 4 Benefits of Eating Every 3 Hours

Eat Every 3 Hours to Help Increase Weight Loss

You’re wanting to lose weight. And when it comes to weight loss, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

But eating just 2-3 times a day can be extremely detrimental to your weight loss! In fact, it can be the reason why you’re not losing as much weight as you’d like. Yes, you read that right:

You need to be eating more frequently throughout the day to maximize your weight loss results.

More specifically, you should be eating every 3 hours, and we’re going to explain why!

For more weight loss nutrition tips, go to

You may be thinking, “So I’m supposed to eat frequently throughout the day to maximize my weight loss results?”

The answer to that is, it depends!

If you haven’t seen as much weight loss success from restricting your feeding times throughout the day (like with intermittent fasting), then eating every 3 hours may be the solution!

Why should you eat every 3 hours? Glad you asked! We’re going to run through the benefits of eating frequently below.

But before we get started, let’s clear the air really quickly:

We support different methods of eating like intermittent fasting, for example. For many people, intermittent fasting or limiting your meal times can work wonders. For others, though, it may not be the answer!

Also, it’s important to note that with whichever eating regimen you are following, you should follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your nutrition throughout the week is “healthy” and on point, and the 20% allows you to satisfy cravings and eat some treat-like faves.

This rule helps you maintain balance and not be too rigid and strict with yourself!

Alright, let’s get to the benefits of eating every 3 hours.

Benefit #1: Keeps the Metabolic Fires Burning!

As Chris mentions in the video above, picture your metabolism like a furnace. The more you fuel the furnace (your metabolism), the more it heats up to burn more calories and stored fat.

The cooler you keep your furnace by fueling it less frequently, the more your furnace can slow down, which can send a signal to the body to store the calories.

By eating consistently throughout the day, you can help keep that metabolic furnace burning hot all day long!

Benefit #2: Helps Maintain Steady Blood Sugar Levels

Eating more frequently throughout the day can help you maintain steady blood sugar levels and avoid spikes.

That being said, you’ll want to make sure your smaller, more frequent meals aren’t packed with sugar. It’s still very important to make sure you are eating the right foods every 3 hours.

Benefit #3: Helps to Avoid Binging & Allows You to Control Your Hunger

Uncontrollable hunger is the #1 enemy to weight loss, and for some people, by keeping your hunger chained up all day (only to let it loose once or twice), it can be so difficult to not want to devour absolutely everything in sight.

The Mayo Clinic states that “skipping meals or letting yourself get too hungry can lead to overeating and poor food choices—and may even cause your metabolism to slow.”

For some people, eating every 3 hours can help them keep their hunger in check and avoid spinning out of control into a “hangry” monster!

We want to avoid that!

By eating frequently throughout the day, you’re able to keep your hunger in check, not allowing yourself to spin out of control into a “hangry” monster!

Benefit #4: Helps Satisfy Cravings

Every day your senses are bombarded with delicious smells and foods.

  • You’re at work, and someone brings in doughnuts or microwaves some tasty smelling food that fills the office.
  • Or maybe you have to run to the Rec Center and you see a vending machine freshly stocked.
  • Or worse: You are navigating your way through the mall, and you’re attacked by tasty smelling cinnamon treats and a food court full of every type of food ever invented.

These are just some of the scenarios you may find yourself in on any given day.

By eating healthy foods every 3 hours, you allow yourself to enjoy a tasty piece of heaven–whether that’s something savory or sweet. You won’t be starving throughout the day, and you’ll be avoiding those terrible “hangry” feelings.

You’ll also be consistently satisfying your cravings!

The 3 Hour Rule: An Example Schedule

So what does that actually look like?

This means you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with 2 healthy snacks throughout the day.

Let’s run through an example of what a typical eating schedule could look like if you wake up at 6:00 am and go to bed around 9:00 pm:

(Looking for a delicious, convenient breakfast shake to help curb your hunger & satisfy your cravings? Learn more about the Chris + Heidi Low Carb Meal Replacement Shake featured in the image above!)

Your meal schedule will depend a lot on when you wake up, when you go to bed, when (and if) you work out, and what else you have going on during the day.

But the goal is that you will be eating frequently, preferably every 3 hours, for a total of 5 times a day.

A couple of quick things to note with these meals:

  1. Your breakfast should include carbs, protein, and fats. This will help get you fueled up and ready to take on the day. You’ll be using these important macronutrients throughout the day.
  2. Your dinner should be lower in carbohydrates. A chunk of your day’s activities are over, and you’ll (hopefully!) be winding down for bed. You don’t need as much energy/fuel as you’d need to start your day.

“But I’m Not Hungry Every 3 Hours. What Should I Do?”

If you do not feel hungry every 3 hours and you’re wanting to follow the “eat every 3 hours” approach, here’s the catch: We still encourage you to eat.

We know this might sound crazy, but it’s going to take your body about a week to adapt to this new way of eating and for your metabolism to speed up.

This may sound like a chore, but having to eat is definitely a lot better than not eat when you are starving! 🙂

The Tips to Stay on Track Every 3 Hours

#1. Turn On Mealtime Notifications in The Transform App:

If you have The Transform App, one easy way to remember to eat every 3 hours is to turn on your Mealtime Notifications.

If you’re not sure what The Transform App is, it’s the ultimate weight loss transformation experience created by Chris and Heidi Powell. Complete with meal plans, workout programs, nutrition, mindset training, and much more, The Transform App will help you achieve weight loss results like you’ve never experienced before.

(Click here to learn more about The Transform App)

You can set your app notification to remind you several times a day.

To navigate to this setting, open up the app:

>Go to “Me” on the bottom tab.

>Click on “Settings” on the top right.

#2. Eat 30-60 Minutes After Waking Up:

If you’re not intermittent fasting, to make sure you’re getting in meals every 3 hours and to get your metabolic furnace kickstarted, we recommend you eat your first meal within 30-60 minutes of waking up.

This will allow you to get in your meals and snacks throughout the day, keep you fueled, help curb your appetite, and hit the ground running!

The key to eating soon after you wake up is to have a quick, grab-and-go option on hand to make it easier! A smoothie is a great option!

#3. Meal Prep & Plan:

While this step requires a little more work and effort, the payoff is huge.

Setting aside some time once or twice a week to prep your meals will save you time, and it will also help you stay on track with eating healthy, delicious meals to increase your weight loss.

You won’t need to scramble and run to the nearest drive-thru or gas station. You won’t need to raid the pantry.

You’ll have your meals all prepared and ready for your belly.

#4. Have Healthy Snacks Available:

This is quite possibly one of the biggest things you can do to make sure you’re able to eat healthy foods every 3 hours.

Having some tasty snacks on hand when you need them is key. But not just any snacks will do.

A candy bar and foods high in sugar and packed with calories won’t fuel you towards your weight loss goals. They’ll most likely do the opposite.

So which snacks are the best to help keep you feeling fueled that are also convenient and easy?

Here are some ideas!

  • Cottage Cheese and Granola
  • Beef Jerky and Crackers
  • Greek Yogurt and Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt and Peanut Butter
  • Apples and Peanut Butter

Eat More Frequently to Lose Weight

Let’s recap real quick: If you’re struggling to see weight loss results and control your hunger, and you’re only eating a few times a day, you may benefit from eating more frequently.

You’ll be able to satisfy your cravings more frequently throughout the day and control your hunger.

This balanced approach to eating is the nutritional blueprint for The Transform App. With 185k+ downloads, The Transform App is helping guide people all over the world to achieving their weight loss goals.

Learn all about The Transform App and how you can start transforming your life today.

Courtesy of Jorge Cruise When you’re dieting seriously, do you skip meals? If so, stop right now! You may find this surprising, but the best way to slim down is to eat more often. The key is timing: I’ve discovered that feeding your body every three hours can help you lose big.

Here’s how it works: Whenever your meals are more than three hours apart, your body goes into a state of mini-famine and preserves the most calorie-rich part of your body — fat. But the body usually burns fat to get energy, so now it has to burn precious lean muscle instead. The end result: The jiggle stays, and your muscles go.

On my diet, you’ll feed your body six times a day at three-hour intervals: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert. To kick-start your metabolism, be sure to eat breakfast within an hour of rising.

A sample day: You wake up at 6 a.m., grab breakfast at 7 a.m., snack at 10 a.m., start lunch at 1 p.m., snack again at 4 p.m. and then sit down to dinner at 7 p.m. Have dessert three hours later — or right away if you’re going to bed early. In total, you’ll take in about 400 calories at each meal, 100 calories at snack time, and 50 calories for dessert. Don’t worry if a meal starts 15 minutes later than it should. Your body’s mini-famine alarm won’t go off right away.

Afraid that you’ll end up consuming more because you’re eating so often? That couldn’t be further from the truth. When you consistently feed your body, you keep blood sugar levels stable, which helps suppress your appetite.

But you still need to eat the right foods in the right portions. To make it easy, I’ve created this simple-to-follow meal plan. Stick with it for a month (repeat the plan after you complete Weeks 1 and 2) and you could shed 10 pounds, including some water weight. Don’t forget: Drink lots of H2O and take a multivitamin daily.

Read the June 2006 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine to find Jorge’s Week 1 meal plan and recipes, and find his Week 2 plan and recipes only on!

Week 2 Meal Plan:


1 hard-boiled egg, sliced 1 piece whole-grain bread 1/4 cup salsa 1 cup watermelon cubes

6 low-sodium saltine crackers

1 cheeseburger and side salad with no croutons (use 1/2 packet light Italian dressing) from Burger King

1 Pria Bar

Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry with Apple-Sesame Salad

4 animal crackers


1 Cookie Dough Balance Bar 1 Dannon Light ‘n Fit Creamy Yogurt

15 to 20 reduced-fat potato chips

1 Weight Watchers Smart Ones Fiesta Chicken 1 veggie salad with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing

24 cherries

Vegetable Enchiladas

1 small fat-free cookie


1 Hot Pockets Ham & Cheese 1 nectarine 6 ounces 1%, fat-free or soy milk

12 cashews

1 Amy’s Kitchen Spinach Feta in a Pocket Sandwich 1 salad with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing

1 bottle Dannon Light ‘n fit Smoothie

Salmon Steaks with Lime Butter and Asparagus Rice

1 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup


1 low-fat waffle 2 teaspoons peanut butter 1/2 cup grapefruit juice

2 cups low-sodium vegetable juice

2 Grilled Steak Tacos Fresco Style from Taco Bell 1 medium apple

1 Apple Dippers with Low-Fat Caramel Dip from McDonald’s

Chicken Bake with Raw Broccoli Salad

7 jelly beans


1/2 cup hot cereal, cooked 6 ounces 1%, fat-free or soy milk 1 teaspoon flax oil 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

7 chocolate-covered almonds

1 Healthy Choice Flavor Adventures Grilled Chicken Caesar 1 salad with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing

1 fun-size bag M&M’s Peanut

Oven-Fried Fish with Coleslaw

1 cup frozen seedless grapes


1 Weight Watchers Smart Ones English Muffin Sandwich 1 cup cantaloupe cubes

25 GeniSoy Soy Crisps

1 Chicken Giardino from Olive Garden (lunch portion)

2 cups strawberries

Rosemary Lamb Chops

1/2 Rice Krispies Treats square


2 pancakes (4-inch diameter) 2 tablespoons sugar-free syrup 1 slice turkey bacon 3/4 cup mixed berries

6 ounces low-fat yogurt

1 Lean Cuisine Comfort Classics Beef Peppercorn 1 salad with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing

1 Popsicle Creamsicle Bar

Salad-Stuffed Pitas

1/4 cup vanilla ice milk

Jorge Cruise Best-selling author Jorge Cruise’s latest book is The Cruise Control Diet (Ballantine Books, 2019).

The 3-Hour Diet

Called “fatso” and “lard ass” by his childhood classmates, weight-loss guru Jorge Cruise knows firsthand the pain involved in being overweight. A frequent talk-show guest, the now-slim Cruise is known for preaching the importance of small amounts of resistance training for weight loss. In The 3-Hour Diet (HarperResource), he offers a “diet only” approach to shedding pounds. Put simply, the plan is all about timing. Eating every 3 hours helps you control your appetite, preserve muscle, and burn fat, Cruise says. It’s not that exercise isn’t valuable, but the new approach helps folks who can’t exercise (perhaps because of painful joints or problems with obesity) jump-start their weight loss—at a guaranteed rate of 2 pounds a week—with diet alone.

Cruise deserves credit for recognizing the needs of dieters who want to lose weight but who have physical problems with exercise. And he offers plenty of good advice to help these dieters eat healthfully. It would be nice, though, to see some activities tailored just for these folks. Perhaps resistance training or 8 Minutes in the Morning (HarperResource)—Cruise’s first, workout-heavy diet plan—isn’t possible, but gentle-on-the-joints activities like water walking and water aerobics might help extremely overweight or arthritic dieters become more active (after all, the Arthritis Foundation does recommend exercise to treat arthritis). Cruise could also use a little help in the recipe department. He may have a chef on his advisory board, but the recipes here aren’t as mouthwatering as those in most top diet books. In fact, a slow-cooker turkey breast steeped with sugar-free cranberry gelatin and dried onion soup mix sounds downright bizarre.

Basic principles:

Since a pound of muscle can burn between 20 and 50 calories per day—even at rest, it uses twice the calories of a pound of fat—dieters who can’t exercise must preserve what muscle they already have to keep metabolism high. Cruise lists several studies he claims show that eating frequently (about every 3 hours) helps preserve lean muscle tissue while promoting weight loss. Why does this happen? Cruise contends that frequent eating prevents the body’s starvation protection mechanism (what he calls the SPM) from kicking in. When SPM begins, Cruise says, the body tenaciously holds onto fat stores just as it would during a famine.

How the diet works:

The goal is to eat within an hour of rising and then every 3 hours after that for a total of five meals per day. If breakfast is at 7 a.m., eat a snack at 10 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m., another snack at 4 p.m., and dinner at 7 p.m. Counting calories isn’t necessary, but dieters do watch portions, eating three moderate meals and two small snacks a day. The plan also allows for a daily treat such as a licorice twist, four chocolate-coated mints, or a cup of air-popped popcorn.

What you can eat:

No foods are banned, but Cruise encourages dieters to pick and choose from specific lists of fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, and preferred fats. He also offers two approaches to meal planning. One is a blueprint that calls for specific numbers of servings from different food groups. For example, lunch includes two to three servings from the meat group (one serving of meat is listed as a slice of bacon, an ounce of buffalo, or a reduced-fat hot dog). The second approach is called a “Cruise Down Plate.” Dieters fill up half of a 9-inch dinner plate with veggies (or fruit for breakfast) and the remaining half with small portions of meat and starch, plus a teaspoon of oil or butter. Both methods boil down to about 1,450 calories per day.

Does the diet take and keep weight off?

The evidence is purely anecdotal. There are no scientific studies to support that The 3-Hour Diet works or that it delivers on the cover promise of losing 2 pounds every week.

Is the diet healthy?

Probably. The diet adds up to about 1,450 calories a day-a safe and effective amount for most dieters and one that will likely promote slow, gradual weight loss.

What do the experts say?

Registered dietitian Jane Kirby, author of Dieting for Dummies (For Dummies), likes Cruise’s emphasis on eating more frequently. “So many of us eat mindlessly,” she says. Cruise’s plan “constantly makes people aware of what and how much they eat.” What Kirby doesn’t buy: Cruise’s theory on how the 3-hour window affects metabolism. “Metabolism depends on a lot of things-how much you eat, body composition, activity levels.” Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, shoots more holes in Cruise’s 3-hour theory. “Our bodies are smart enough that they don’t go into starvation mode after only 3 hours,” she says.

Who should consider the diet?

Dieters who skip meals, or those who overeat when they feel sad or depressed. Eating more frequent meals is a good way to control appetite and squelch the desire to pig out.

Bottom line:

Even if some of his reasons for eating more frequent meals aren’t always on target, Cruise’s approach to weight loss is practical and doable. At some point, though, dieters will need to start exercising.
Back to Diet Guide


The 3-Hour Diet has been featured on blogs and written up in plenty of magazines (Good Housekeeping, Fitness, etc.) Does it deserve the buzz? Here’s our take on this diet and whether or not we’d recommend it.

The claims: The author, Jorge Cruise, touts eating every three hours as a way to boost your body’s metabolism at rest (also known in the science world as RMR — resting metabolic rate). He also says that there is a reduced susceptibility to overindulge when you’re eating every three hours, as this is a natural way to suppress the appetite.

The details: The 3-hour diet is based on timing and controlled calories. You eat three 400 calorie meals, two 100 calorie snacks, and a 50 calorie treat every day. Breakfast is eaten within one hour of waking, a snack comes three hours later, lunch after another three hours, a second snack three hours later, and then dinner three hours after that second snack. After dinner, you can eat a 50 calorie treat, but there’s no eating within three hours of bedtime. The actual foods on the plan can vary, as long as you stick to the calorie guidelines. In general, Cruise recommends the plate method to balance lunch and dinner (fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, a quarter with carbs, and a quarter with protein).

Our take: As with many other diet plans (except maybe the Master Cleanse, which has no aspects we’d recommend), there are things we really like about the 3-hour Diet and things we think you should skip. Below is our take on the pros and cons of the plan.


1. Eating breakfast daily: This is a winning habit that alone can have a positive impact on your relationship with food, your food choices the rest of the day, along with your mood and concentration in the morning.

2. Having snacks: Snacks can work really well for certain people. If you tend to let yourself get really hungry between meals and then grab the first thing you see (and a lot of it), snacks can help blunt your hunger and give you more time to make a wise decision at meal time.

3. Eating 400 calorie meals: Moderately sized meals give your body more of a chance to tap into natural hunger/fullness cues. As we mentioned above, snacks are the perfect accessory to smaller meals because if you start to feel hungry before your next meal, your snack will be the perfect answer to tide you over without going overboard on calories.

4. Having a small treat each day: We never create meal plans that don’t include treats and are happy to see them on these plans. Treats — and the enjoyment of eating in general, are a very important part of a balanced, healthy diet.


1. Small treat = 50 calories: This might be a perfect amount to take the edge off a sweet tooth after dinner (it’s about the calories in two Hershey’s kisses).However, this isn’t a practical amount if you want to have a small slice of cake at a friend’s wedding, or share a cupcake with a pal for a treat. Larger treats are a reality of life and a long-term plan needs to include slightly larger treats. We typically recommend sticking to 150-calorie treats when you’re trying to lose weight.

2. Encourages 100 calories packs as snacks: Quantity – meaning calories — is only part of the equation in healthy eating. Quality is also important. This plan uses artificially sweetened foods and other “diet” foods to cut calories, but it’s often at the expense of nutrition.

3. Waiting 6 hours between meals: If you find that you are struggling with eating out of boredom, anger, sadness, etc. or that overeating gives you a sense of soothing, this may not be the best diet to try right off the bat. Going three hours without eating might merit a larger snack for some people (say, 150 to 200 calories), and being offered a 100-calorie pack of cookies could trigger overeating. Plus, there are six hours between meals on this plan, and that 100-calorie snack might not be sufficient to tide you over.

4. Focuses on calories: Similar to the notes we made above, we also don’t think making calories the main focus of a plan is a great idea for everyone. Some people do just fine with this method of keeping tabs on their eating, but not everyone does…and not every food has calorie labels.

5. Inflexible schedule: You’re going to have a rough time following this plan if you can’t eat every three hours, every day. Sometimes our schedules just don’t allow for this — that’s reality — and a long-term plan should acknowledge this and allow flexibility.

6. No research to support anything but exercise for raising RMR: While eating every three hours might prevent overwhelming hunger that could lead some people to binge, it could actually be a binge trigger for others…and since there’s no evidence that this type of eating raises RMR, don’t use that as a reason to follow this plan.

Have you tried this plan? Are there any other diet plans you’ve heard about lately that you’d like us to review?

3 Hour Diet

The 3 Hour Diet is a 1450-calorie based meal plan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be around 400 calories per meal. Snacks should have only about 100 calories while 50 calories for dessert. These meals will make you feel full and satisfied. It’s essential that you stick to the suggested portion sizes.

This diet involves consuming smaller portions every three hours during the entire day. This means all your meals are controlled at the right hour. For instance, your breakfast starts at 7, have a snack in between breakfast and lunch at around 10, lunch at 1, and have a snack in between lunch and dinner at around 4 and then dinner at 7. Your snacks should only have at least 100 calories. After dinner, you can enjoy dessert that only has 50 calories.

You will feel starved if you go through 3 hours or more without putting food in your body. When this happens, your body will store fat and will burn muscles, slowing your metabolism down, like it’s preparing for a long haul of hunger mode.

By eating constantly but with balanced and moderated calories, your metabolism will go higher, constantly burning fats instead of storing them the entire day.

Exercise is optional with the 3 Hour Diet. You’ll drop around 10 pounds during the first two weeks and will continue to lose additional weight in the next weeks and months.

After dinner, it is important not to eat anything for 3 hours before sleeping.

You can eat whatever you want during this diet, but with the right portion sizes — frozen foods, sweets, carbs, fast food, anything — just as long as you stay within the calorie intake limits and eating at the right intervals.

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Related Pages

  • Comparison of diets – a complete list

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

Does It Work?

Because the 3-Hour Diet restricts calories, you will likely lose weight if you follow it closely. Losing 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks may not be realistic or even healthy. But losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a real possibility.

The key to this diet’s success lies in portion control. Research has not shown that eating frequent small meals increases weight loss success, though it may have other health advantages. Eating more often may decrease the feelings of hunger that can sabotage anyone’s good intentions.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Losing extra weight can reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes. It can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But some research has shown that eating smaller, more frequent meals may have added health benefits, as well.

Smaller meals are less likely to cause a big bump in the blood sugar levels that follow a big meal. Cholesterol levels also tend to be lower. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor or dietitian before changing your eating schedule. You may run the risk of hypoglycemia if you don’t make some adjustments in your diabetes treatment plan.

The Final Word

The 3-Hour Diet promotes weight loss by sensible portion control within a timed meal structure. It does not require special food purchases or supplements. It would work for those who prefer not to attend meetings or appointments as part of a diet plan. It also allows enough calories to make meals healthy and balanced.

No foods are restricted, so it is up to you to choose wisely in order to get the most out of this diet plan. It will take planning and effort on your part to have your healthy meal and snack choices on hand. This meal timing may be a challenge if you do not have a flexible working schedule or if you eat out a lot.

This plan does not require exercise, but increasing your physical activity will help you get to your healthy weight faster and keep you there. Check with your doctor first if you are really out of shape or have any health problems.

3 Hour Diet is written by Jorge Cruise, who famous for his “8 minutes” series.

A renowned fitness trainer, Cruise has capitalized on the popularity of short workout routines.

The 3-Hour diet is a logical extension to his fitness routines, bringing in a diet regime to suit the average consumer.

Note: Sometimes the author has been erroneously called George Cruise.

Eat Every 3 Hours

The 3 Hour diet is all about meal frequency. By eating every 3 hours, blood sugar levels will be more consistent and the bodies metabolism will remain in a heightened state.

For most people this will equate to about 5 meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – with two snacks in between.

The 3-Hour diet addresses processed and fast foods – and much of the sales pitch of the book is about being able to lose weight and still eat some “junk” foods.

Food groups should always be combined – i.e. protein should be eaten with carbohydrates and fat (and fruit and vegetables where possible). Cruise recommends drinking 8 glasses of water per day.

3 Hour Diet Meal Plan

McDonalds Egg McMuffin, 1% milk & apple

Lean Cuisine Cheese cannelloni, side salad with nonfat dressing

1 small baked potato, 3oz grilled chicken, 1tsp butter, 1 cup green beans

12 M&M’s

Sample Snacks – Pria Double Choc bar and Nabisco 100 calorie Oreo cookie snack

Freebies – 1 diet coke, 1 coffee, 1 non dairy creamer

Another example

For breakfast, a ham and cheese omelet, bread and lots of fruit.
Three hours later, a Pria bar. Three hours later, a lunch of beef enchilada, rice and a salad with regular dressing. Three hours later, a snack like fruit or a few cookies. Three hours later, dinner; salmon, rice, veggies, and three hours later, dessert, like chocolate mousse.

Diet, Exercise, and Eat Often

The principles of correct nutrition, appropriate exercise, and frequent eating are an effective strategy for losing weight. However the 3-Hour diet tries to be too popular at times. The book describes a method to pick appropriate portion sizes – rather then rigidly counting calories – but later goes on to restrict portion sizes to certain calories!

The by-line of the book also criticizes low-carb diets claiming that they do not work. This is a cheap shot as low-carb diets do work for some people (particularly those who are carbohydrate sensitive).

The 3-Hour Diet will be useful to many who are just beginning the journey of understanding nutrition and weight management – but it is only a beginning.

Many feel that the inclusion of so many processed foods is a sell-out – as healthy nutrition often includes only the most un-processed foods. Weight loss and nutrition are two separate but related issues. Fast food should always be a last-resort food – not a daily staple.

However for many people a diet like this is far more approachable than one that suddenly restricts food or calls for dramatic changes.

Program Costs

The 3 Day Diet retails for 24.95.

Buy this book from Amazon.

3 Hours to a Better Body?

The author makes some outrageous claims – such as “burn 2 pounds of fat per week, with belly fat first”. Such a comment is completely false, as it is not possible to spot reduce body fat – it will burn off from all over the body, and is different for each person. Also, as is most weight loss diets, the body will eventually plateau – and many diets such as the 3-Hour diet seem to conveniently ignore this pattern.

The Three Hour Diet will be popular, but in the end offers very little in new science or nutrition.

See Also

The 100: The Newest Diet by Jorge Cruise

The 3 Hour Diet – How Low Carb Diets Make you Fat and Timing Makes You Thin by Jorge Cruise.

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

61 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed

  1. kyle

    wow all you guys should get your facts straight about mcds… and regular mcmuffin minus the cheese only has 6 grams of fat and 300 calories, how is that so bad. and 12 mms really is not going to hurt u its just there so you dont get bored with your food. also sodium content should be a problem unless you dont drink enough water…..

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  2. Angee

    I just started this diet last Monday and my starting weight was 288.8.Today when I weighed myself I weigh 284.8.I bought the book and it is a really good book. Thanx MR. CRUISE.

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  3. saira khan

    should i try this?no!no i should not!i dont think that it will work on me.i cant eat every three’s even difficult 4 me 2 eat 3 meals.i think i’ll gain weight cuz whenever i eat more then 3 meals or even sometimes 3 meals so i feel so full n my stomach comes out!i really need help!can any1 plz tell me that y does this happens 2 me?

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  4. Kimberly

    It always amazes me – the TOTAL ignorance of those who around us who haven’t got a clue !!! They see the words “McDonald’s” and “M&M” and automatically think this life change is a joke. All diets have some “freebies” and rewards. If you’d take the time to read the book and try the plan, you would find that it really does work. However, these “bashers” probably haven’t got any type of life and have nothing better to do than spread their negativity across the internet and to those around them. This plan really does work. I’ve been on it for 6 months and have lost 57 pounds. I’m going for another 23 and I’ll then be at my goal weight.

    So to those who are idiots – know the material before you show your ignorance. Get a life… on some other planet.

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  5. Heather Runyan

    yes it does work! i am 5’9 and i used to weigh 185 lbs.. now i weigh 125lbs!! i did the 3 hour diet about a year ago… and the weight has stayed off because eating every 3 hours.. shrinks your stomach also.. with not over-eating.. your not stretching your stomach.. your shrinking it.. so the weight stays off as long as you dont over-eat too many times.. then your stomach will start to stretch out again.. allowing you to eat more and more.. it really does work!! 🙂

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  6. Ryan

    Um, McDonald’s??? M&Ms???? McDonald’s should not be a part of any sensible diet. There are much healthier snacks, as well, than the ones you mentioned. There are SO many empty calories in this diet. I could definitely see someone losing weight on this diet, but maybe in muscle.

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  7. Shenae

    For one, if youre not overweight, shut your mouth and go away, and if you are, I can say this diet is working well for me. Personally, I cannot stand the smell or taste of fast food, so I modified that form my snack list and such. Instead I do home cooked things like that. For instance, the example state a mcmuffin, well I made my own variant from home. But you can vary all you like, just remember to keep the fatty foods to a minimum, and drink tons of water. I got sick of constantly drinking just water so I added crystal light to my water bottles. And it didnt cause a weight gain. So just remember moderate exercise, and keep on this diet its GREAT.

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  8. norhata daco

    hi i am 45kgs and i want to gain some weight atleast50kgs. please tell me more. thaks

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  9. Andrea

    I went on the 3 hour diet about 4 years ago. I Lost 30lb’s, 3 pants sizes and 7inches from my belly! Although I still had a lot more weight to loose I did’t stick to it and gaind it all back over time. Now I have a 5 month old baby and I am back to the same weight I was the first time i started.So im giving it another shot! This diet worked well for me the first time I just hope this time I can get past the 30lb point.

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  10. Lee

    Basically Jorge uses the Zone Diet and as a plus offers personal coaching and group support – for a price – on his website.

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  11. Lataishia Clyde

    Also people that is a example what is listed you have to buy the book.

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Last Reviewed: January 11, 2018


The 3-Hour diet is a diet regimen based on the philosophy that the timing of meals is more important than the type of food eaten in those meals. Cruise says the body’s basal (baseline) metabolic rate (BMR) can be increased by eating every three hours. Keeping the metabolic rate high is desirable because this makes the body burn more calories.

The three basic rules of the 3-Hour diet are:

  • Eat breakfast within one hour of arising.
  • Eat every three hours after that.
  • Stop eating three hours before going to bed.

The 3-hour diet requires three meals alternating with two snacks at regular three-hour intervals. Certain foods are recommended, but the diet does not provide a day-by-day meal plan. Cruise also recommends drinking eight glasses of water daily. On the diet, caffeine is not limited, but dieters must drink two glasses of water for every cup of coffee. This offsets the dehydrating effect of caffeine, Cruise says. Alcohol is

to be drunk only rarely. However, the diet does allow occasional fast food and some frozen or processed foods. One key to success on the 3-Hour diet is planning meals and snacks ahead of time. Knowing what they will eat for the next meal helps dieters stick to the diet.

The 3-Hour diet is not a low carbohydrate, high protein, or very low fat diet. Meals are required to consist of a reasonable balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. The emphasis is on choosing appropriate foods and on strict portion control. Although Cruise claims people can eat anything they want and still lose weight on his diet, in reality, by following the diet correctly, an individual is limited to about 1,450 calories a day. Many nutritionists consider this an appropriate calorie intake for slow, steady weight loss. Cruise claims that people following the 3-Hour Diet will lose 2 lb (0.9 kg) per week, and that they can target the spots on the body where they can lose fat. The diet is intended to last 28 days, with a repeat cycle for people who need to lose more weight.

The exercise aspect of the 3-Hour diet is somewhat confusing. Cruise initially claims that exercise is not a part of this weight-loss program and that the 3-Hour diet is good for individuals with arthritis or limited mobility. However, he also says that building muscle mass is important in weight loss because even at rest a pound of muscle burns twice as many calories as a pound of fat. This occurs because metabolic activity is higher in muscle cells. Ultimately Cruise does suggest exercises to go along with the 3-Hour diet, and they are generally not appropriate for people with sore joints or mobility limitations.

The premise of the 3-Hour Diet weight-loss plan is that eating small meals every three hours can help you lose weight. Jorge Cruise, the fitness trainer who developed the 3-Hour Diet, claims that by eating frequently and watching portion control, you can lose 10 pounds in two weeks — starting with belly fat — all while eating your favorite foods and without exercising.

The 3-Hour Diet is based on eating between 1,400 and 2,000 calories a day — people who weigh 200 pounds or more are allowed more calories as snacks between meals. Besides eating every three hours, Cruise recommends eating within one hour of waking up and not eating within three hours of going to bed. The foods suggested in the 3-Hour Diet are a good, overall balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables, which are eaten at each meal. And to aid portion control, the 3-Hour Diet gives portion sizes in easy-to-visualize terms, such as a deck of cards or a ping pong ball.

3-Hour Diet: How Does It Work?

According to Cruise, eating more frequently throughout the day can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. But the reality is that there is no science or research to proves this. “Our metabolism does ramp up a little bit every time we eat, but it doesn’t turn into a furnace of calorie burning,” says dietitian Lona Sandon, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that three hours is the optimal amount of time between meals for weight loss, nor is there any proof that the weight you lose first will be from abdominal fat, particularly since the 3-Hour Diet makes exercise optional.

3-Hour Diet: Sample Diet

Here’s what a sample day looks like:

Breakfast at 7 a.m.

Apples, walnuts, and yogurt

Snack at 10 a.m.

2 cups of carrots

Lunch at 1 p.m.

Cold shrimp platter with mango, onion, tomato, and chickpeas

Snack at 3 p.m.


Dinner at 6 p.m.

Chicken teriyaki

Chocolate strawberries

3-Hour Diet: Pros

The advantages of this diet are:

Portion control is a useful diet aid. “I like the fact that provides portion sizes,” says registered dietitian Keri Gans, RD, also a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. The food lists also add to the ease of rationing portions.

People are less likely to feel deprived or become ravenous. “Frequent eating can help decrease appetite because you’re eating constantly and less likely to be hungry and starved when you sit down to eat,” says Gans.

Tools include planners and journals.The 3-Hour Diet offers a 28-day success planner and daily journals, as well as suggestions for visualization exercises, which can be helpful for people who are on a weight-loss plan.

The emotional aspects of weight problems are addressed. The 3-Hour Diet book has chapters that tackle emotional overeating, as well as topics such as weight-loss plateaus, useful for people who know what it’s like to struggle with their weight.

3-Hour Diet: Cons

Possible drawbacks include:

There is the potential for overeating. “Every opportunity you have to eat is an opportunity to overeat,” says Sandon. “Unless you are good at keeping close to the calorie limits, the 3-Hour Diet can lead to overeating.”

Detailed specifics don’t always work. “The problem with meal plans is that nobody follows them,” says Sandon. “People improvise and put in what they prefer. By doing that, they can get too many calories and portions that are too big. And the more specific the plan, the less likely it is that they’ll follow it.”

The diet requires lifestyle changes. “The reality is that many people don’t have time to eat every three hours,” says Sandon. “You constantly have to portion out food and snacks and take them everywhere with you.” Adds Gans: “Some people eat dinner late. simply may not fit into certain lifestyles. And what if you’re not hungry? Some people may not be hungry that frequently.”

Exercise is not part of the plan. An overwhelming amount of research shows that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and an essential component of any long-term weight-loss plan.

3-Hour Diet: Short- and Long-Term Effects

In the short term, you’ll probably lose weight on the 3-Hour Diet, says Sandon. As far as the long-term outlook, the issue is sustainability. “I can see that it might be doable if you have the lifestyle that allows for frequent eating, such as a job that allows for breaks,” says Sandon.

Learn more in Everyday Health’s Diet and Nutrition Center.

Read an Excerpt

How to Successfully Do the 3-Hour Diet™

“Today, when I look in the mirror, I see a healthy, active person. My knees don’t hurt like they did seven weeks ago. I really do feel healthier now. This is a big change for me-a change for the better. I want to enjoy my retirement. I thank Jorge for my success. I am now on the right path for an active lifestyle.”
-Dona Buth-Lost 20 Pounds

Most of us pay close attention to the clock. We set an alarm to wake us in time for work. We strive to leave work by a particular time in order to beat rush-hour traffic. We structure our lives around the time we need to pick the kids up from day care, soccer practice, and play dates.

Yet too many of us seem to get out of sync when it comes to eating. Rather than having an eating schedule, many people tend to eat only when it occurs to them. They rush out the door in the morning, forgetting to eat breakfast or intentionally skipping it to save time and calories. They get swept up at work, and realize at two or three in the afternoon that they haven’t eaten lunch-and for many people that is their first meal of the day. They complete errands and other tasks after work, only remembering to eat dinner when they are too hungry to stand it.

When you eat is critical. As I mentioned in chapter 1, it’s essential that you know that successfully losing weight and keeping it off is all about timing.
Yet most people use bad timing by eating sporadically. You eat sporadically anytime you allow more than 3 hours to pass between meals. This causes the body to switch from a fat-burning mode to a fat-preservation mode. Instead of fat, the body burns muscle tissue and your metabolism plummets as a result. This leads to fat gain.

So to get thin, you need to create a consistent eating schedule. That’s the secret way to lose weight and keep it off. What exactly does this mean? You may be wondering again, “Is it just about eating every 3 hours? Is that all there is?” The answer is no. Although this program is very simple, there’s a little bit more. You see, the key is that it must become automatic for you. Your eating schedule must become effortless and easy. It’s all about learning how to use my Visual Timing™ formula.

The power of Visual Timing™ will free you from your past dieting failures. You will at last have an enjoyable and automatic way to eat everyday. Specifically, I promise that by following the 3-Hour Diet™ you will lose up to 2 pounds a week from your belly first and bring back the joy of eating!

The Power of Visual Timing™
The goal of Visual Timing™ is to make eating every 3 hours completely effortless and automatic. In this way, you will not only lose the weight, but keep it off long term. How will Visual Timing™ do this for you? Visual Timing™ involves two critical secrets.

Secret 1: The 3-Hour Timeline™
The first key is to learn when to eat. This involves learning when to start eating, how to keep going through the day, and when to stop. Chapter 5 will help you do all this, by uncovering my 3-Hour Timeline™ system. This simple visual planner will help ensure that eating on time (what I call cruise-time) becomes effortless and automatic for you. In this chapter, you will learn how to create your ideal eating schedule. This is very important because you will never have to worry again about when you should eat. You will know exactly when to eat every day. Automatically your life will become simpler and your mind will have one less thing to think about. It’s all about one word: simplicity. The 3-Hour Timeline™ will make sure you start eating at the right time in the morning, keep eating on time throughout the day, and stop eating at the right time at the end of the day. You will love it.

Secret 2: The 3-Hour Plate™
In chapter 6 you will also learn how to eat anything with my visual all-new 3-Hour Plate™ system. This super-simple eating method will ensure you never again have to deprive yourself of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. It will give you true freedom. Then, in chapters 12 and 13, you will find my all-new food lists and yummy meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the meals you make-whether you follow my suggestions in chapter 13 or create your own with the guidance of my 3-Hour Plate™-will be healthy and delicious. You’ll eat from all of the food groups: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. That’s right. Carbs are not off-limits. Remember from chapter 2 what happens to lean muscle when you don’t get enough carbohydrates? You lose up to 25 percent of your muscle mass. That will never happen again. You’ll also never crave foods that are off-limits-because no foods are off-limits! Just imagine eating chocolate, bread, or fast food. You will never feel the need to cheat, sneak, or binge. Good eating will finally be yours to have!

Ensure your Success
Okay, so now I want to help motivate you to your success. This will ensure that you stay inspired to succeed. You see, sometimes we can have the best tools in front of us that could change our lives, but because we think we can’t do it, we don’t do it. What you must do right now is prove to yourself that you will achieve success with the 3-Hour Diet™.

How are new habits and ideas born? How do you become so certain that you can do it-that you will do it? You do so by changing your belief system about what you can and cannot do. Yep, because if you think you can, you will. And if you think you can’t, you won’t. If you are thinking right now that since you have failed at every other diet in the past, and odds are you will fail here too, then you have sealed your fate. You must not let that happen.

You will do this in two steps that help you break away from any negative thoughts and help you use positive thinking to meet your goals. By the time you are done with them, you will feel your confidence truly soar.

Weight Loss: How Many Meals a Day?

3-Hour Diet or 3 Meals a Day?

Experts debate how often we should eat for weight loss

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic – Feature

To eat three meals a day or to eat six small meals a day: that is the question. If you have heard about or read Jorge Cruise’s new book, The 3-Hour Diet, you would bet the answer is the latter. But many nutrition researchers out there say, “not so fast!”

Cruise’s plan boasts a three-point approach: eat breakfast within one hour of rising, eat every three hours, and stop eating three hours before bedtime. He says this ritualized way of eating increases BMR (baseline metabolic rate), increases energy levels, and decreases appetite, among other things. While many nutrition experts agree that when it comes to weight loss irregular eating patterns and skipped meals can mean trouble for most of us, there isn’t anything close to a consensus on whether we are metabolically better off eating three regular meals a day or spreading that out into five or six smaller meals.

Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) would like to see the studies Cruise used to formulate his 3 Hour Diet. “If there are any good studies proving his point, they certainly aren’t well established,” says Liebman.

And ADA spokeswoman Noralyn Mills, RD, believes if we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn’t have to store calories and when we skip meals, we affect the metabolism negatively. “But this can be accomplished with three regular meals a day for many of us,” she notes.

Gary Schwartz, a researcher with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, answered, “There’s no strong data supporting either as being more effective” for losing weight or maintaining lost weight. “Clearly there is an emphasis on reducing caloric intake overall, whether it be by decreasing meal size and/or decreasing meal frequency.”

In a recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition editorial, a team of nutrition researchers concluded that whether you are practicing the “three” or “six” meal daily dietary pattern, weight loss ultimately comes down to “how much energy (or calories) is consumed as opposed to how often or how regularly one eats.”

So given the tried-and-true equation for weight maintenance: Calories “in” = Calories “out,” what this really boils down to is whether eating five or six small meals a day truly helps us to:

  • Burn more total calories at the end of the day
  • Eat fewer total calories at the end of the day

As far as increasing the calories we burn, “The only thing that has been consistently shown to increase BMR is exercise,” says Vicki Sullivan, PhD, RD, LD, national lecturer and president of Balance, LLC. Sullivan agrees that eating every three hours would certainly help some people control appetite and feel more energized, but she also believes that everyone is different. “I have clients who find that they gain weight when they eat more frequently, or some simply cannot eat every three hours due to job constraints.”

Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, with the American Institute for Cancer Research, noted that in a recent study, the baseline metabolic rate (how fast the body burns calories) was unaffected by differences in meal timing. “Other studies also show that eating frequency has no effect on a person’s overall metabolic rate,” says Collins.

The answer to No. 2, it seems, can only be found within each individual. The truth is, the more times a day you sit down to eat a meal or snack, the more opportunities you have to overeat; this can be a serious problem for some people. If you are someone who has a difficult time eating a small amount at a meal or snack (you have a hard time stopping once you get started), then it’s quite possible that, for you, eating five or six times a day isn’t the best way to go.

The trick is eating when you are truly hungry but not so ravenous that you are at risk of overeating or eating out of control. To me, true hunger is when your stomach feels definitely empty; but once you feel this, don’t go more than an hour without eating or you will move from truly hungry to ragingly ravenous. According to the ADA, eating every time you feel “slightly” hungry can result in overeating. Their remedy for this is to ask yourself these questions before a meal if you aren’t sure:

  • Am I hungry? (If unsure, wait 20 minutes and ask yourself again)
  • When was the last time I ate? (If it’s less than three hours, it may not be real hunger)
  • Could a small snack tide me over until the next meal? (Have ready-to-eat fruits or vegetables on hand for this)

And if you have a difficult time sticking to healthier meal choices — perhaps you have a tendency to choose “junk” foods in between the regular meals — then eating five or six times a day may end up being a diet disaster. Some of us are simply more in tune with our body’s natural cues to eat when we are truly hungry and to stop when we are comfortable (not full). When we follow this mealtime mantra, some of us may very well end up eating five or six small meals, but for others, it may end up being three or four. What if you can’t recognize when you are truly hungry? The American Dietetic Association suggests making a schedule and eating small meals every three or four hours until you learn what hunger feels like. If you overeat at one of the meals, get back on track at the next one.

Breakfast Basics

No matter whether you end up eating three or six meals a day, breakfast is still the first of those meals. “Getting people to eat breakfast at all would be a great improvement and is a long-standing, well-documented way to help with weight loss and weight management,” says Sullivan. Most of us wake up relatively hungry, especially if we ate light the night before. But some of us need more time to wake up our gastrointestinal tract just a bit. Let your hunger be your guide.

“It’s common sense: If you wake up hungry, eat. I’m not sure it’s important to force yourself to eat,” says Liebman. “People think that any breakfast is better than no breakfast, and that’s just not true for adults.”

The two proposed benefits of breakfast are:

  • It increases your metabolism
  • People who skip breakfast tend to eat more total calories by day’s end.

According to Lisa Most, RD, clinical dietitian at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, your metabolism does increase if you eat breakfast. As far as eating more later in the day if you skip the all-important breakfast, have you found this to be true for you? If you skip breakfast, are you more likely to pass the point of no return with your hunger later that morning, and does it encourage you to overeat when you do finally get the opportunity to eat?

British scientists did find, in a recent study, that women who skipped breakfast ate more calories during the rest of the day and also had higher fasting levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol compared with the women in the breakfast-eating group. The researchers noted that skipping breakfast could lead to weight gain if the higher calorie intake was sustained.

The bottom line to breakfast is to consider breakfast as an ideal opportunity to fit in some of those smart foods we should get several servings of every day, like fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. You can even get some veggies in depending on the breakfast dish!

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