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Military Diet: What is It and Does It Actually Work?

There’s another eating plan creating a buzz online right now—and the entire 3-day program is available for people to download for free. It’s called the Military Diet. But what is it all about and did it really come from the military?

Although this diet plan has been around for several years, it recently became one of the most Googled diets. It is said that the military diet is designed for quick weight loss. Its website even claims that those who follow the plan can lose up to 10 lbs in a matter of one week without having to do strenuous workouts or take prescriptions.

A diet program that only involves a 3-day phase while promising a possibility of double-digit weight loss with minimal effort? This may sound too good to be true for most, though.

Before you decide whether to get on this diet or not, here’s a backgrounder on how you can do it, the food restrictions, and if it is effective for long-term weight-loss.

The military diet has been trending lately

Three Days On, Three Days Off

The military diet basically follows a strict meal plan for 3 consecutive days, with a decreasing calorie intake limit for each day. Upon starting the plan, you are allowed to consume up to 1,400 calories. The limit is at 1,200 calories the next day, while day 3 is limited to 1,100 calories.

After those three days, you’ll have the freedom to eat anything for the rest of the days of the week. However, the proponents of the diet plan recommend limiting it to 1,500 calories or less to optimize your weight loss. You’ll just have to continue with this 3-days-on, 3-days-off cycle until you reach your goal.

What You Should Eat

Details about what to eat during the three-day period are found on their website. The military diet plan is very basic and includes food items that don’t need too much preparation. The dinner for day 1, for example, is composed of 2 hot dogs without any bun, a cup of broccoli, half a cup of baby carrots, half a banana, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream. Dinner for day 3 includes a cup of tuna and the same amount of banana and ice cream.

The website also details the vegetarian and vegan alternatives for some food items. If you have to substitute other things, you can replace it based on the calorie count even though it’s not the same portion size.

You can still get your daily dose of caffeine as black coffee is allowed with or without stevia. It is encouraged to drink water throughout the day. Other than salt, pepper, and lemon juice, any other seasoning is not allowed. Low-calorie condiments like hot sauce and mustard are okay as long as it is in very small amounts. Booze is a no-no for the three-day phase but is allowed on the off days.

This diet allows half a cup of vanilla ice cream for dinner

Pair It With Exercise

Like any other diet plan, the military diet is also best paired with exercise. Even with its low-calorie meal plans, it is still recommended to go walking for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you have an existing program for cardio, weight, lifting, or circuit, you can still continue following it. However, if the exercise makes you weak or dizzy, try to slow it down during the 3-day period.

Not Yet Proven By Studies

Although their website says that the military diet is safe and effective, there have been no published studies to prove its potential health outcomes, rate of weight loss maintenance compared to regain, and the average weight loss.

The information on the website also says that the diet is a combination of calorie restriction and “chemically compatible foods” that were made to work together and jumpstart your weight loss. However, it hasn’t been researched yet. There are also no studies to back up their claim that the military diet doesn’t slow down metabolism, unlike other diet plans.

The Military Didn’t Have a Hand in This

Even with its name, this diet plan didn’t come from military scientists. The name is due to the discipline and stamina that is required to achieve results. Because of this reason, it is also known as the army or navy diet.

As for the creator of the diet, the FAQ section of the website doesn’t have a direct reference to someone nor does it mention any health expert.

Despite the name, this did not come from military nutrition experts

Is It Ideal For Long-Term Weight Loss?

Well, it functions primarily as a quick fix. As their website says, it’s a diet plan for weight-loss emergencies. Something like needing to fit into your wedding dress or look drool-worthy on a social gathering you’ll soon be attending.

Bottom Line

Just like its references, the whole diet plan is outdated. Without any research on the short-term or long-term effects, it requires dieters to follow a strict, calorie-controlled, regimented diet. The servings for produce are too few, while there are too many processed foods on the menu like hot dogs and ice cream.

Instead of encouraging nourishment and lifestyle changes to aid in weight maintenance, the military plan relies on the old calories-in, calories-out strategy. Shedding off that extra weight may involve more than that, like avoiding surplus calories.

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