The military diet is world famous and was once among the most popular. Raised in the United States, it promises to lose 4.5 kg in just one week. But does it really work?
We put together a complete guide for beginners, explaining how to carry out the diet and which menu to follow.
Read on if you want to know more about the military diet.
You can also learn more about other regimes, such as the ketogenic diet , the low carb diet and the Mediterranean diet , or to receive our free weekly newsletter, subscribe below.
What is the military diet
The military diet, also known as the 3-day diet, is focused on quick weight loss and promises the loss of up to 10 kg in a week.
The plan to follow for its implementation refers to 3 days of meals with predetermined foods and 4 days off, eating normally.
This weekly cycle should be repeated until the ideal weight is reached.
Many rumors claim that it was designed by American nutritionists to get soldiers in shape quickly, but the truth is that the diet is not affiliated with any military or governmental institution.
Promising a weekly weight loss of up to 10 kg, the military diet was created in the United States. For its implementation, a 3-day meal plan should be followed, with 4 days off. Repeat the cycle until reaching the ideal weight.
How it works
The military diet is divided into two phases and lasts for 7 days. During the first 3, a low calorie meal plan should be followed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks are not allowed during breaks.
The total recommended calorie consumption for this initial phase is 1,100 to 1,400 calories per day, that is, much less than the average intake of an adult.
For the remaining 4 days of the week, eating should be done normally, but in a healthy way and keeping the calorie intake low.
The diet should be done for 3 days, eating from 1,100 to 1,400 calories in each of them. On the remaining days, food should be eaten normally, but in a healthy way and keeping the calorie consumption low.
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Military diet menu
See the menu for the first day of the military diet, averaging 1,400 calories.
|Meal||What to eat?|
|Breakfast||A slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, half a grapefruit, a cup of coffee or tea (optional).|
|Lunch||A slice of toast, Half a cup of tuna, A cup of coffee or tea (optional)|
|Dinner||One serving (85 g) of meat with a cup of green beans, a small apple, half a banana, a cup of vanilla ice cream.|
On the second day of the diet, the average is 1,200 calories.
|Meal||What to eat ?|
|Breakfast||A slice of toast, a boiled egg, half a banana, a cup of coffee or tea (optional).|
|Lunch||A boiled egg, a cup of cottage cheese 5 cream crackers, a cup of coffee or tea (optional).|
|Dinner||Two sausages, half a cup of carrots, half a cup of broccoli, half a banana, half a cup of vanilla ice cream.|
The third day of the military diet has an average of 1,100 calories.
|Meal||What to eat ?|
|Breakfast||A slice of cheddar cheese, 5 cream crackers, a small apple, a cup of coffee or tea (optional).|
|Lunch||A slice of toast, an egg, cooked the way you prefer, a cup of coffee or tea (optional).|
|Dinner||A cup of tuna, half a banana, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.|
The consumption of coffee and tea is free, as long as it is not sweetened. A valid tip is to drink lots of water, especially when you wake up and before meals. It will help to increase the feeling of satiety.
The remaining days
In the remaining 4 days of the weekly cycle, snacks are released and there is no food restriction.
However, it is recommended to limit your portion sizes and keep your total calorie intake below 1,500 per day.
In the first 3 days of the cycle, there is a recommended menu with the foods to be eaten. In the remaining 4, there is no restriction to be followed, however the amount of calories must remain below 1,500 per day.
Substitutions are allowed during the 3-day phase for those with dietary restrictions, but the portions must contain the same amount of calories.
For example, if you are allergic to peanuts, you can exchange peanut butter for almond butter.
For vegetarians, tuna can be substituted for some almonds.
In the military diet, it is possible to make substitutions if you are allergic to any food or have any restrictions, as is the case with vegetarians. The important thing is to keep the same number of calories.
Is there evidence that it works?
There are no studies that prove the efficiency of the military diet. However, due to calorie restrictions, it is very likely that the average person will get thin.
Supporters of the diet claim that weight loss happens thanks to combinations in the meal plan.
According to them, these combinations increase metabolism and burn fat, but there is no science behind it to prove these claims.
Coffee and green tea contain compounds that can slightly increase metabolism, but the foods that are allowed in the diet simply do not promote this burning of fat ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ).
Protein-rich foods are responsible for speeding up our metabolism, but most meals in the military diet are low in this nutrient and rich in carbohydrates, which is a terrible combination for weight loss ( 5 , 6 ).
The military diet can promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake, but there are no studies that prove its effectiveness by accelerating the metabolism.
Is the military diet safe and sustainable?
It can be considered safe for the average person, as it is too short to cause permanent damage.
However, the restricted calorie limit for months can cause serious nutritional deficiencies.
Especially if on healthy days, healthy foods like greens, vegetables and fruits are not eaten.
In addition, sausage, cream crackers and ice cream, when eaten regularly, have the potential to cause problems with metabolism.
In terms of sustainability, the diet is quite easy to do. It does not depend on long-term changes in habits and only requires willpower for a short period of time.
So, it probably won’t help you maintain weight for long, because the lifestyle will remain the same.
The foods recommended for the military diet have a very large nutrient deficit, which can be harmful in the long run. The ease of returning to the previous weight should also be considered, as it does not promote dietary reeducation.
Is it possible to lose 4.5 kg in one week? (Myth)
The military diet was famous for promising the loss of 4.5 kg in one week.
Theoretically, this is possible for people who are overweight after a severe calorie restriction. But weight loss will be thanks to loss of water, not fat.
When calories and carbohydrates are restricted, the weight of the water drops quickly because the body’s glycogen stores decrease.
This may seem positive, but that number will be recovered as you start eating normally ( 7 ).
The diet has a false promise of weight loss, since in fact the weight lost corresponds to liquid, not fat, and must be resumed as the diet normalizes.
If you want to lose a few pounds quickly, then the military diet can help. But you are likely to regain weight very quickly as well.
The ideal is that you look for a doctor or nutritionist and try to improve your diet, balancing meals according to the right nutrients for each moment of the day.
We also recommend regular physical exercise.
Often, losing weight may seem like a priority, but putting your health at risk ends up being more expensive and it just isn’t worth it.
It is possible to lose weight while maintaining well-being. Inquire!