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The Military Diet: What Is It and Is It Effective?

military diet grapefruit

Think about this idea: lose weight while eating ice cream, hot dogs, and cheese. Appealing, isn't it? It's difficult not to be enticed by the Military Diet. In exchange for three days of a hypo-caloric diet, dieters can expect a 10-pound weight loss. But is the Military Diet all it's cracked up to be? We're tackling the truth behind this diet to determine whether or not it's actually safe and effective.

What is the Military Diet?

hot dog military diet

The Military Diet is a three-day eating regimen that promises participants will lose 10 pounds. The calorie-restricted meal plan includes chemically compatible food combinations for each meal, which are specifically arranged to boost your metabolism and help you lose weight fast.

This diet is a form of intermittent fasting. You eat a restricted diet for three days (averaging 1,000 calories per day), and then eat and exercise normally during the remaining four.

The Plan

peanut butter diet

The first three days of the diet are very structured and must be followed rigidly. If dieters have allergies or food preferences, they can refer to the approved substitution list. Only foods on this list can be used as substitutions; otherwise you compromise the results.

The Military Diet is as follows:

Day 1

Breakfast
  • 1 cup coffee
  • ½ grapefruit
  • 1 slice of toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter
Lunch
  • 1 cup coffee
  • ½ cup tuna
  • 1 slice toast
Dinner
  • 3 oz any meat
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 small apple
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Day 2

Breakfast
  • 1 slice toast
  • 1 egg
  • ½ banana
Lunch
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers
Dinner
  • 2 hot dogs (no bun)
  • ½ cup carrots
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup vanilla ice cream

Day 3

Breakfast
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 slice cheddar
  • 5 saltine crackers
Lunch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice toast
Dinner
  • 1 cup tuna
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

Because you're eating so few calories, you'll definitely lose weight. To avoid adding the pounds back by the end of the week, proponents suggest that you continue to eat healthy and exercise during the remaining four days. You are allowed to repeat this three-on, four-off cycle as long as it works for you.

Is It Effective?

Many people claim success with this diet, but nutrition experts caution against following the plan for a long-term period. Starvation or fasting diets have been debated often, and support is still anecdotal. While this diet may meet your initial weight loss goals, it's not a long-term, sustainable lifestyle (the website itself says that it's about quick fixes and providing support in a weight loss emergency).

The diet doesn't offer balanced nutrition: some of the recommended foods are high in sodium, the reduced calorie intake is below the recommended allotment for both men and women, and you may not receive sufficient fiber, vitamins, and minerals during this three-day period. Prolonged application of the diet may weaken your organs and immunity as well as increase your risk of heart damage.

Like any lasting change, dietary switches must be incorporated into your daily life. If losing weight is your goal, try starting small, such as by cutting our soda or walking for 30 minutes every day. By making healthy eating decisions, you'll feel better and be able to maintain a sustainable and nutritious diet.

Photos: avrene, slgckgc, robinmcnicoll