Military Diet: Does The 3-Day Plan Really Cause Rapid Weight Loss?

Lose weight

Weight and body fat loss have long been a common goal many people desire to obtain at some point. Getting rid of fat and gaining muscle mass are not only aesthetic targets but also necessary steps towards improving our well-being. Healthy dietary plans for weight loss can help us decrease cholesterol and blood pressure, and calorie burning is a vital part of that process.

Weight loss is bound to occur when you eat less than what your body needs. Simply put, eat less, move more. That way, your body will tap into stored body fat as energy (as opposed to the food you eat.)

But some of us need a jump start on our diets; a huge reduction on the scale can give us that boost and motivation that we need. Here is the 3-day military diet that can help you lose 10 pounds! (This diet is intended for women, but men are recommended to add an extra 100 calories a day in the form of protein.)

Note: this diet may (or may not) actually be used by members of the military. But it does work! Not because of some fancy foods that can burn fat but simply because of the reduction of calories. (Hint: ice cream is included in this diet…but in moderation!)

Breakfast may be one of the most essential meals of the day simply because it will give you that desired energy first thing in the morning, and it can kickstart your metabolism. For your first meal of this 3-day military diet, you can have half a grapefruit, one slice of toast (preferably whole wheat or multigrain), and two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Boiled eggs

If you have a peanut allergy, you can substitute it with almond butter, soy butter, sunflower seed butter, hummus, pumpkin butter, or bean dip. And any breakfast isn’t complete without 1 cup of black coffee or caffeinated tea.

Please note you cannot add any sugar, cream, milk, or sweeteners to your coffee or tea. These beverages are optional to the diet as you can substitute them with any amount of water. But green tea and coffee both have thermogenic properties (burns more calories), and black coffee can suppress your appetite.

The next meal of the day (lunch) consists of half a cup of tuna, another slice of toast (but no peanut butter this time), and water, black coffee, or tea. If you need to season your foods, choose alternatives such as garlic salt, pepper, honey mustard, and any other low or no-calorie seasoning.

For dinner, you can have 3 ounces of any type of meat, 1 cup of green beans, half a banana, one small apple, and one cup of vanilla ice cream. As you can tell, there isn’t a lot of food in this diet, and that’s because lowering calories is what causes weight loss. If you want to drop the pounds, you have to cut the calories!

The following day, breakfast should include one slice of multi-grain or whole wheat toast, one whole egg, and half a banana. This diet is intended to last three days, and then take 4 days off. Rinse and repeat until you achieve the results you desire. The 4 days off do not mean you can binge eat and eat yourself to sickness. The goal should still be to eat around 1,500 calories or less.

For lunch, you are entitled to one cup of cottage cheese (or you can replace it with 1 slice of cheddar cheese), 1 hard-boiled egg, and 5 saltine crackers. Due to the low amount of food on this diet, it is not recommended to work out intensely during these days. Instead, go for a brisk 30-minute walk on a daily basis.

Dinner is served! You can have two hot dogs (minus the buns), 1 cup of broccoli, half a cup of carrots, half a banana, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream. This diet dictates vanilla ice cream only (why? I have no clue), but you can substitute ice cream (who would do that?) with one cup of apple juice or one cup of vanilla, strawberry, or banana-flavored almond milk.

The vegetables on this diet should be steamed, baked, boiled, or eaten raw. Meat should be grilled or baked, and if you are a vegetarian, then you can substitute the protein sources with tofu, lentils, beans, and/or portobello mushrooms.

vegetables on this diet should be steamed, baked, boiled, or eaten raw.

The third and final day has arrived! You’re almost there, don’t give up now! For breakfast, you are to have 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, and 1 small apple. Saltine crackers can be replaced with rice cakes (one for one), and cheddar cheese can be replaced with ham, eggs, cabbage, or soy cheese. Don’t forget your black coffee or caffeinated tea!

This lunch is going to be a bit small, but on the menu is one slice of whole wheat or multi-grain toast and one hard-boiled egg. You can switch the egg out for one cup of milk, two slices of bacon, or just one chicken wing. As you can probably tell, from day 1 to day 3, there is a slow and gradual reduction of even more calories (hence the rapid weight loss.)

For the last meal of day 3, you can have 1 cup of tuna, half a banana, and one cup of vanilla ice cream. And remember, there is no snacking allowed on this diet. You need to eat these foods and these foods only. You can switch the foods around, so you can have dinner for breakfast and vice versa, but you cannot add any additional foods!

Alcohol is strictly prohibited on this diet (even though alcohol is a macro-nutrient but without nutritional value); even on your 4 days off, you should not be consuming alcohol, especially beer or fruity drinks (it’s just empty calories!) If you MUST drink, then only one glass of wine is permitted.

Please remember weight and fat loss are two different entities. 10 pounds lost in 3 days does not mean 10 pounds of fat. The reduction in calories (and salt as well) will cause you to shed some water weight, some intestinal mass (poop), and some fat as well.

So, if you think this diet is for you, give it a go! Just make sure to consult a physician first before jumping into such a strict diet.

consult a physician

Is The Military Diet Healthy?

If you think the 3-day military diet sounds too good to be true, some dietitians might agree with you. This dietary regime is unbalanced, and repeating its cycle several times can result in potential nutrient deficiencies and related health issues. The aim of the military diet is dramatic calorie reduction over short periods of time. Studies have proven the link between diets that promise such dramatic results and the development of disordered eating patterns and an unhealthy relationship with food. 

Furthermore, the military diet involves regular consumption of processed foods, such as crackers, hot dogs, and ice cream. These foods are unhealthy for your metabolism and may put you at a higher risk of chronic disease. A healthy dietary pattern should prioritize whole, minimally processed foods instead. 

Although the low-calorie intake in the military diet may lead to frequent hunger, this regime is relatively easy to follow due to its short duration. However, the military diet only promotes short-term results rather than positive habit changes. Therefore, once you return to your usual eating pattern, you are likely to regain the weight you have lost.

The military diet can lead to certain safety issues. It is hardly sustainable in the long run and offers no long-term lifestyle changes. If you aim for long-lasting weight loss results and changes in your eating habits, we recommend that you set realistic goals and choose healthy, sustainable dietary plans rather than resorting to quick diets like the 3-day military diet plan. Long-term lifestyle changes are essential for permanent weight loss and prevention of potential weight regain.

Can You Really Lose 10 Pounds In 3 Days On The Military Diet?

The main reason for the military diet’s popularity lies in its dramatic promise to help you lose up to 10 pounds in one week. However, it is important to remember that everyone’s body will react differently to this diet, and in most cases, this promise is far-fetched. You may lose this amount of weight in a week, but not everyone will see the same results.

Most of the weight loss with this diet plan is associated with the loss of water and liquids. According to a 2015 study published on NCBI, diets that involve severe calorie restriction cause a decrease in glycogen stores, which are our body’s primary reserve of energy. 

Consuming sufficient calories allows an easy accumulation of fluid because every gram of glycogen contains around 3 grams of water. Therefore, when a dietary plan depletes your glycogen stores, your body also loses the stored water. It is this shift in water balance that results in weight loss. So, once you return to your previous eating habits and stop these processes, your body replenishes its glycogen stores and regains the same weight again.

In its essence, long-term weight loss and management consist of two stages: losing weight and maintaining your ideal weight. The healthiest dietary practices out there aim for a perfect weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds in one week, which leads to fat burning instead of muscle mass or liquid loss.

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