The 3-day gut reset aims to reset the gut microbiome to help boost the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. However, there is little evidence that 3-day gut resets have lasting health benefits.

While changing the diet and taking steps to lead a healthful lifestyle benefits gut flora, further research is necessary to determine whether a short-term gut reset has any long lasting benefits.

This article looks at what a 3-day gut reset is, what it might do, and how to try it.

Businesswoman having lunch break in office with feet on desk, to accompany an article on 3 day gut resets.Share on Pinterest
Westend61/Getty Images

A 3-day gut reset is a short diet that aims to improve digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in a person’s large intestine.

Bacteria and other microorganisms in the large intestine help break down food. This, in turn, helps the body absorb nutrients and eliminate waste.

However, research suggests that gut bacteria influence many other aspects of health, such as immunity and inflammation. This influence can be positive or negative, depending on the species of microbes a person has in their gut.

Gut resets aim to restore the balance of the microbiome by:

  • removing foods that feed harmful bacteria and cause inflammation
  • introducing plenty of prebiotic foods, which feed beneficial bacteria
  • encouraging healthful practices, such as getting enough sleep and exercise and staying hydrated

Is a gut reset the same as a gut detox or cleanse?

People typically use gut cleanses or detox diets to remove toxins from the body and lose weight. This is in contrast to a gut reset, which aims to improve digestive health by encouraging beneficial bacteria in the gut.

There is very little research to support the effectiveness of gut detox diets or cleanses. In fact, some may present health risks, such as cleanses involving unpasteurized juices that contain harmful bacteria.

Often, 3-day gut resets involve adopting habits that are generally beneficial for human health. Eating a healthful, balanced diet and eliminating potentially harmful foods may help people feel better in various ways.

However, further research is necessary to determine whether a 3-day gut reset can permanently change a person’s microbiome or create lasting health improvements.

Diet can influence the function, diversity, and composition of a person’s gut microbiome. For example, a 2023 study found that certain gut microbiota responded rapidly to short-term dietary interventions.

However, the researchers suggest that stable gut microbiota may be more resistant to dietary disturbances, so a person’s initial gut microbiome diversity may affect the success of dietary interventions like a gut reset.

This suggests that although a 3-day gut reset may positively influence the microbiome during the diet, people should implement longer-term changes to diet and lifestyle for longer-lasting benefits.

Long-term dietary changes

According to a 2021 review, the Mediterranean diet can increase the amount and diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, whereas other types of diet may decrease it, including the Western diet or Standard American Diet (SAD)

The Mediterranean diet includes many of the features of a gut reset, focusing on healthy fats, vegetables, and other sources of fiber. A 3-day gut reset may help a person transition to a diet that includes more of these foods.

If a person wants to try a 3-day gut reset, it is a good idea to plan ahead. Gut resets often require sudden and significant changes to the diet, so it can help if a person prepares by:

  • eliminating any foods they wish to avoid from their cupboards and fridge
  • planning meals for the next 3 days
  • making a grocery list and shopping for the ingredients beforehand
  • making or freezing dishes ahead of time
  • making sure they have time each day to prepare homemade meals, exercise, and rest

Below are some steps people can follow on the first day of a gut reset.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

On the first day of a gut reset, the focus is on eliminating inflammatory foods and drinks from the diet. These include:

  • added sugars, such as table sugar, corn syrup, or ingredients ending in “-ose” (such as fructose)
  • refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, pizza dough, cakes, and pastries
  • foods high in saturated fat, such as processed meats

Instead, a person should eat plenty of fresh produce and healthy fats, including:

  • leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or kale
  • brightly colored vegetables, such as peppers, carrots, or eggplant
  • fruits that are lower in added sugar, such as berries, apples, or avocado
  • olives and olive oil
  • nuts and seeds
  • oily fish and lean protein

Complex carbohydrates can provide slow-burning energy throughout the day. A person can include moderate portions of foods such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, or sweet potatoes.

Stay hydrated

Adequate water intake is essential for the body to function. A person can tell if they are drinking enough water by the color of their urine, which should be the color of pale straw.

During the gut reset, a person should replace caffeine and alcohol with water or herbal teas, such as peppermint, chamomile, or fennel.

Get adequate sleep

Some evidence suggests that sleep can impact the microbiome, as well as cognitive function. A person can try making time to wind down in the evening and establish a regular time for sleeping and waking.

Learn more about why sleep is important for health here.

People can follow these steps on the second day of a gut reset.

Add more high fiber foods

Adding additional high fiber foods to the diet can provide beneficial gut flora with more to eat. Examples of high fiber foods include:

  • raw vegetables and salads
  • ground flaxseeds
  • beans and lentils

A sudden increase in fiber intake may cause temporary bloating or gas, so some people may benefit from including fiber in the diet from day one instead.

Try regular exercise

A 2022 systematic review concludes that exercise modulates gut microbiota. However, the authors note that intense exercise over long periods may lead to unfavorable gut conditions.

Regular exercise can also help people relieve stress and maintain a moderate weight. To start gentle exercise, people can try:

People can follow the steps below on the final day of their gut reset:

Try fermented foods

Fermented foods often contain probiotics, which are live bacteria that have beneficial health effects. A person can include the following fermented foods in their diet:

As with high fiber foods, probiotics can cause side effects, such as bloating or gas. This may resolve on its own after a few days. If it does not, a person may consider speaking with a doctor or dietitian for guidance.

Try relaxation techniques

Stress affects the gut in a number of ways. According to a 2019 review, the hormones, inflammation, and autonomic changes involved in stress can cause changes in the composition of a person’s gut bacteria.

The authors suggest a high-stress lifestyle may lead to imbalances and low diversity of gut bacteria.

A 3-day gut reset offers an opportunity for a person to introduce relaxation into their daily routine. This may involve:

When the 3 days are over, a person may consider continuing some or all of these practices for long-term benefits.

Below are some meal plans people could use in their 3-day gut reset.


Breakfast options include:

  • coconut yogurt with blueberries and flaked almonds
  • smoothie with coconut water, spinach leaves, an apple, a handful of blueberries, and a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
  • oatmeal with cinnamon and grated apple


Some lunch options include:

  • salad with rocket, watercress, tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers, topped with hummus and green olives
  • a chickpea flour wrap stuffed with salad, sauerkraut, and sliced tofu
  • a vegetable soup


Dinner ideas include:

  • lean chicken breast and vegetables stir-fried in coconut oil, fresh ginger, garlic, and tamari
  • salmon and steamed green vegetables, such as kale, cabbage, or pak choi
  • zucchini noodles and lentil bolognese sauce

Drinks and supplements

Some juice recipes may claim to cleanse the gut. However, not all of these drinks are safe. For example, some may include high levels of oxalates, which can cause complications such as kidney problems in large amounts.

People should drink plenty of water during a gut reset to ensure they stay hydrated. They may also create drinks like smoothies to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in a meal or herbal teas to replace drinks high in alcohol or added sugars.

Some supplements may contain probiotics. However, probiotics are not suitable for everyone. People should speak with a healthcare professional before introducing supplements into their diet.

Short-term gut resets may not be suitable for people who have certain health conditions, take medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Additionally, because gut resets involve dietary restrictions, they may not be helpful for people recovering from eating disorders.

It is important to speak with a doctor or dietician before making any sudden dietary changes. People should also let a healthcare professional know about any persistent or troubling symptoms, as these could indicate an underlying health condition.

A 3-day gut reset may be beneficial as a way of transitioning to a more healthful diet or lifestyle. However, there is a lack of evidence supporting the notion that it can dramatically change the microbiome or a person’s overall health within a 3-day period.

Longer-term changes to the diet may have a positive impact on a person’s gut health and some chronic health conditions. A doctor or dietician can advise on the best approach for this.