The 3-day military diet is a short-term calorie-restricting diet that promises to help you lose weight quickly.
Although the name implies affiliation to the military, this diet plan has nothing to do with it. Some military diet proponents claim that you will lose as much as 10 pounds per week.
Before you attempt it, it is critical to arm yourself with plenty of information so as to know if the diet is for you.
Do’s of the military diet
The military diet is a specified diet plan. In other words, it has specific foods that dieters can eat. These range from toast, crackers, cheddar cheese, eggs, hot dogs, bananas, meat, tuna, apples, grapefruits, and black coffee.
You alternate between dieting and no dieting cycles. For 3 days, you can only take 1,100-1,400 calories. Then for 4 days, you rest from the plan.
However, you mustn’t exceed 1,500 calories during the break. Exercise is not a must since you may not have enough energy to do it.
However, you should walk around or move moderately – use these walking tricks to burn more calories. You are also supposed to take water throughout the day.
Don’ts of the military diet
When following this plan, you are not allowed to tweak anything. You cannot substitute the recommended foods and you can’t exceed the calorie limit during the 3 days of calorie restriction. No snacks are allowed in this program.
The 3-Day Military Diet Plan
For breakfast on day 1, you are supposed to take 1 cup of coffee, a slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and ½ grapefruit.
Eat the same foods you ate for breakfast but replace the grapefruit with ½ cup of tuna. No peanut butter this time.
Take 1 cup of green beans, 1 apple, 1 cup vanilla ice cream, ½ banana and 3 ounces of meat.
You can only take an egg, a slice of toast and a banana for breakfast.
For lunch, eat an egg, a cup of cottage cheese and 5 saltine crackers.
Take ½ cup of carrots, ½ cup of vanilla ice cream, a cup of broccoli, and two hot dogs minus the buns.
Breakfast consists of cheddar cheese (a slice), an apple and 5 saltine crackers.
Lunch comprises of one egg and 1 slice of toast.
Take a cup of tuna, ½ banana and 1 cup vanilla ice cream for dinner.
Shortcomings of The 3-Day Military Diet
The biggest problem with this diet plan is that it is a short-term solution. Most people don’t restrict their calories to such low levels permanently. Therefore, when they get off the diet, they are likely to revert to their normal, unhealthy habits and gain back all the weight they lost during the military diet.
In this study, it was shown that diets that promise rapid weight loss often lead to unsustainable outcomes. The best way to identify a fad diet (which the 3-day military diet belongs) is to check for extreme calorie deprivation. If you don’t feel full after every meal, it’s virtually impossible to stick to that diet long-term.
They also claim that these results can be achieved without a healthy and balanced meal or no exercise.
The 3-day military diet only facilitates the loss of water weight. Usually, only 2 pounds of fat is lost while water weight can be 8 pounds. By the end of the diet, any changes in the weighing scale would only be temporary.
Some of the foods in the diet are high in calories and low in nutrients. Therefore, you are supposed to eat only a small portion of these. For instance, hot dogs can only be taken without the buns or you are only supposed to eat a slice of toast.
In proper weight management, it is always essential to balance the quality and quantity of food you consume. If you eat low-quality foods that are rich in sugar and fat, you would need to eat very little of them not to gain weight.
Conversely, if you eat high-quality foods; that is, those that are rich in nutrients and low in sugar and fat, you could eat a greater quantity. That way, you’d feel satiated throughout the day and would not have problems getting off track or binging.
The foods on the list are likely to cause hunger because they do not have a substantial amount of fiber. This means that you must exercise a lot of willpower to avoid overeating. Most likely, you will just not follow the diet.
For instance, all the lunches do not have fiber. Toast and egg or firecrackers and cheese are typical examples. Fiber makes you feel fuller for longer. That way, you don’t have to keep eating to satisfy that hunger.
Additionally, it helps in boosting your metabolism so that you use up all the foods you consume. Without fiber, you may also experience gastrointestinal problems like constipation.
Aside from fiber, some of the meals in the plan do not contain minerals and vitamins. Vitamins are essential in supporting numerous body functions.
These can be maintaining a positive metabolic rate, stimulating proper brain functioning or enabling bone or teeth formation as well as promoting good eyesight. A person can thus become malnourished while on this regimen.
The problem with having 4 days to do what you want is that a person may go overboard. However, since there is a calorie limit of 1,500, dieters have to familiarize themselves with the tedious process of counting calories.
Finally, some of the foods on the list are too high in sugar, salt or saturated fat. Cheese, hot dogs and crackers usually have too much of these ingredients. In this study, it was shown that when you take too much salt, you become predisposed to hypertension.
Advantages of the 3-Day Military Diet
The main benefit of this plan is that it will cause you to lose weight. Low-calorie diets usually achieve this objective, at least in the short run.
In this study, it was shown that obese adults who restricted their calories on alternative days reported changes in their body weight as well as their insulin and triglyceride levels.
If you need to go for a function or prepare for your wedding in a short amount of time, then this diet can help you achieve that outcome.
The military diet also has some junk foods like hot dogs, ice cream and crackers. You are therefore less likely to crave these types of foods. Most people fall off a diet plan and binge because of experiencing a sense of deprivation.
This program gives you the legroom to indulge in such tasty foods. Since it is an alternating diet, there are days when you get off calorie restriction and can eat what you want. That flexibility is always a good thing when making food choices.
Moreover, by carefully stipulating what you can and can’t eat, the plan removes the guesswork out of dieting. That way, you are less likely to veer off track.
Finally, most of the meals on the plan are easily available. You don’t have to go out of your way to buy exotic dishes.
The Bottom Line
Since the gains made during the military diet are likely to be reversed when you go back to regular eating, you may want to give this plan a pass.
It isn’t a good idea to take up a program that lacks healthy and balanced nutrients. Overall, the military diet is only helpful for short term goals but unhelpful in the long run.