The Military Diet is one of the world’s most “popular diet plans” that claims to help you quickly lose up to 10 pounds or 4.5 kg in under a week.
The author of this 3 day Military diet plan says that one can lose weight without exercise, while eating your favorite ice cream, hot dogs, eggs, cheese, meat, etc…
Unlike the other weight loss diet plans on the web, the three days military diet plan is budget friendly.
Another benefit is that you don’t have to subscribe to any expensive programs or purchase expensive food or dietary supplements.
All the foods mentioned in the military diet menu are commonly found in every household.
But does this 3 days military diet actually work or it is just a fad diet?
Read this article to know everything about the military diet program.
What is the Military Diet?
The military diet is also called by several other names such as 3-day diet, army diet, navy diet and even the ice cream diet.
The diet involves 3 days meal plan (military diet foods) followed by 4 days off (maintenance diet), and the 1 week cycle is repeated again and again until you reach your target weight.
Before going into the details of the 3 days diet, the first thing I would like you to know is that the military diet, as claimed by many, is not designed by nutritionists in the US military for the soldiers. If anyone says so, don’t believe in them.
A CNN reporter interviewed a few US Military officials, including a nutrition specialist and asked them about their opinions on the three day military diet.
According to the report, the officials said they did not even heard of any such diet and maintained that the diet plan was not developed by them.
However, since it is a low calorie meal plan, people who follow the diet without fail will definitely lose weight.
Bottom Line: The Military Diet Plan is a 3 day low calorie weight loss diet followed by a 4 day maintenance diet menu. Due to the lower calorie consumption, you’ll lose weight for sure.
How Does the Military Diet Work?
As I said above, the 3 day diet menu is split into two phases, which lasts for 1 week or 7 days.
During the first 3 days of the military diet, you’ll be eating only the suggested low calorie foods, 3 times a day with no snacks in between.
On an average, men burn around 2000 calories per day and women burns around 1800 calories a day without performing any strenuous activities like going to the GYM or doing cardio etc…
That is what their basal metabolic rate is supposed to do. Whereas the military diet provides you with less than those suggested by your BMR.
You usually get roughly 1000 to 1300 calories per day on the military diet.
So, your body will compensate for the missing calories by burning the stored fat in your body, thereby helping you lose weight.
And, during the remaining 4 days of the week (from day 4 to 7), you’re required to have a healthy meal plan with calorie restriction of 1500 calories for men and 1200 calories for women..
This helps in maintaining your lost weight during the first 3 days of the diet program..
Bottom Line: There is a calorie restriction on the first 3 days of the diet plan to help you lose weight. The remaining 4 days off meal plan will help in maintaining the lost weight.
Phase I: 3 Day Military Diet Menu
This phase lasts for three days and you’re allowed to eat only the suggested foods on the military diet menu, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Below is the sample meal plan for 3 days you should follow without fail for best weight loss results.
Military Diet Day 1 Meal Plan
On the first day of the military diet program, you’ll be getting around 1300 calories from the foods.
Here is what you can eat on the military diet day 1 menu.
|Breakfast||1 Slice of wholegrain toast with 2 tbsp of peanut butter½ grapefruit1 cup of coffee or tea without sugar|
|Lunch||A slice of whole grain toast.1/2 cup of Tuna.1 cup of coffee or tea.|
|Dinner||3-Oz (85 grams) serving of any meat1 cup of green beans.1 small apple.1/2 banana.1 cup Vanilla ice cream.|
Military Diet Day 2 Meal Plan
On the second day of the military diet program, you’ll be getting around 1100 calories from the foods.
Here is what you can eat on the military diet day 2 menu.
|Breakfast||1 slice of toast (whole grain).1 hard-boiled egg.1/2 banana.|
|Lunch||1 hard-boiled egg.A cup of cottage cheese.5 saltine crackers.|
|Dinner||2 hot dogs without bun.1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of broccoli.½ banana.1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream.|
Military Diet Day 3 Meal Plan
On the third day of the military diet program, you’ll be getting around 1000 calories from the foods.
Here is what you can eat on the military diet day 3 menu.
|Breakfast||1 slice of cheddar cheese.5 saltine crackers.A small apple.|
|Lunch||1 slice of toast.One egg (hard boiled or cooked)|
|Dinner||A cup of tuna.1/2 banana.1 cup of vanilla ice cream.|
P.S: Here is a detailed Vegetarian Military diet plan for those who don’t eat non-veg foods. There is also the vegan version as well.
In addition to the three day military diet plan menu, it is advised to drink as much water as you can (at least 3 to 4 liters per day).
Water helps in flushing out the toxins or impurities from your body, thus helps in water retention and enables you to lose more weight naturally.
If you’re a coffee addict, you can have it as long as you don’t add any sugar, milk or cream, which spikes up your calorie intake and thus spoils your diet.
Phase II: Military Diet 4 Days Off Menu
As mentioned earlier, this is the phase 2 of the army diet that lasts for 4 days.
You no longer have to eat foods that are suggested on the military diet menu during these remaining days.
You’re free to eat whatever you like as long as they’re healthy.
The only rule of thumb is to avoid any fast foods and include only healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and lean protein.
1500 Calories Sample Meal Plan
Here is a sample meal plan you can have during these four days after the military diet menu to maintain the lost weight.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal without milk
- Morning Snack: 1 Apple and 10 Almonds
- Lunch: Grilled chicken/beef along with a bowl of veg salad
- Afternoon Snack: Greek Yogurt with berries
- Dinner: Shrimp fried brown rice or Shrimp fried cauliflower rice
This is just a sample menu for easy reference. Just do a simple search on YouTube to find variety of meal plans.
Foods Allowed on the Military Diet Program
Here is a list of foods that are allowed as part of the military diet plan menu.
- Whole Wheat Bread – High in nutrients and fiber, reduces the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Cottage/Cheddar Cheese – Rich in calcium, good for bones.
- Grapefruit – Promotes appetite control and aids in weight loss. Turns the liver into a fat burning machine.
- Apples – Pectin is another ingredient found in Apple, which limits the ability of your cells to absorb any fat.
- Bananas – Excellent source of vitamin C. Helps in digestion and reduces fats and cholesterol.
- Eggs, Tuna Fish, Meat of any kind – High protein foods require more energy to process them and so the body is forced to burn more energy (fat) to digest those foods.
- Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots – Rich in fiber content and contain very less calories and carbohydrates.
- Peanut butter – High in potassium and protein; Improves bowel health and good for weight loss (when taken in limited quantity).
- Vanilla Ice Cream – Includes bone strengthening calcium, potassium and some vital B-vitamins. Limited consumption won’t harm you.
- Black Coffee – Contains caffeine, which improves your metabolism to a slight extent for up to 2 hours after drinking. Drink it without sugar or cream; Stevia is allowed.
- Saltine Crackers – Eases nausea and settles an upset stomach. Rich in fiber, low in calories and fats.
Foods to Avoid While on the Military Diet 3 Days Program
Though healthy, some foods have to be avoided on the 3 days diet as they increase the overall calorie intake and may cause weight gain. The list includes:
- Whole grains, legumes or beans
- Fruits or vegetables other than those allowed on the plan
- Added fats, such as Butter, Ghee or Oil
- All sweeteners that contain calories
- All condiments or beverages that contain calories
List of Groceries to Buy
The following is a list of foods that you need to buy for the first 3 days of the military diet program. Pack your refrigerator with these items and your diet would be easier to follow.
- 1 Grapefruit
- 2 Bananas
- 2 Apples
- 3 cans of Tuna
- A small piece of meat (of your choice)
- Hot dogs
- Whole-wheat bread
- Caffeinated Coffee or Tea
- Peanut butter
- A Small head of Broccoli
- Green beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- Cottage Cheese
- A small amount of Cheddar Cheese
- Vanilla ice cream
- Saltine crackers
Find here the complete 3-day shopping list.
Are Food Substitutions Allowed?
Yes! Since, not everyone could eat all the foods suggested on the 3 day diet military menu, you’re allowed to replace them with foods that contain a similar amount of calories and nutrients.
For example, you can swap 1 cup of Tuna for a handful of almonds. This is good for vegetarians too.
Not a fan of grapefruit? Don’t worry! Just add ½ tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. It has the same fat-burning benefits as the grapefruit.
Here is the complete list of Military Diet Substitutions allowed on the 3 day diet.
Any Scientific Evidence Behind the Military Diet?
As of now, there are no studies conducted on the effectiveness of the military diet.
However, most people have lost weight successfully on the diet since they’re consuming less calories than they require per day.
So, the less calories you consume, the more fat you’ll lose. Period.
Some proponents of the diet also claimed that you’ll see a boost in your metabolism due to certain “food combinations” suggested in the meal plan. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence behind these claims.
Who Should Try the Diet?
The military diet is basically an eating plan that is aimed at people who wanted to lose some pounds quickly for emergency situations.
You’re only eating real foods and not any processed foods, which makes this weight loss program very safe and affordable too.
So, if you’re in an urgent situation to lose weight for an upcoming event or vacation, then this military diet is simply perfect as you’ll lose a minimum of 8 to 10 pounds in under a week.
But, remember that the weight will come back if you go back to your regular high calorie eating habits.
There is no diet in this world that guarantees permanent weight loss results. It is all just maintenance.
Who Should Avoid the Diet?
If you’re extremely obese and wanted to lose weight just by following the military diet plan repeatedly, then you should better stay off the program, else you’ll be facing severe health issues like drop in metabolism, poor nutrition, muscle loss, headache and many more.
It is meant only for those who’re just 10 to 15 pounds overweight and wanted to quickly lose those extra pounds without any big fuss.
Hope you get the point.
Military Diet Benefits (Pros)
- Gives Quick Weight Loss Results: To maintain their weight, Adult men need around 2000 to 2500 calories per day, while the women need around 1500 to 2000 calories per day. And, you get roughly 900 to 1100 calories on the military 3 day diet. So, the deficit calories will be taken from your body fat, thus resulting in quick weight loss.
- High Protein Foods Helps Control Appetite: No matter what you weight goal is, it is highly advised to include protein in your menu as it helps in building muscle and at the same time losing weight by controlling your appetite. Since the military diet foods are high in protein content, it helps you stay fuller for longer periods.
- Includes Veggies and Fruits: The diet plan includes vegetables like carrots, green beans and broccoli, which contain good fiber along with fruits like Banana, Grapefruit and Apple. You don’t have to worry about sweet tooth. Just munch on these fruits.
- Easy & Cost-Effective: Food preparation is very easy and also affordable.
- No Extended Commitment Needed: Just 3 days of low calorie & 4 days of moderate calorie meal plan is enough.
- No decision making to choose foods: The diet suggests the foods you should eat for all three days.
Military Diet Side Effects (Cons)
- Too Low in Calories: If you consume low amount of calories for a longer period of time, then it will trigger a ‘starvation mode’ response. It is a state where your metabolic rate starts to slow down and hence your body burns less calories. So, trying out the military diet continuously for several weeks together might do some great damage to your metabolism and is also not advisable. It is recommended to do once or twice a month with a gap of at least 1 week in between two sessions.
- Reduced Energy: Since you’re eating way less than your body requires per day, you’ll have less energy to perform any strenuous activities like exercises.
- Weight Loss is Temporary: As we said earlier, it is just a low calorie diet plan to lose weight quickly. You’ll regain some or all of the lost weight once you start eating normally. So, try to stick to a healthy diet once you’ve finished the military diet program.
One main point to be remembered is that the diet works differently for each of us, depending on the person’s metabolism and the type of diet you’ve followed before starting this one.
For example, I’ve followed this diet along with my friend (male) and while I lost around 8.5 pounds in the first try, he just lost 6 pounds. So, you should always understand that the number of pounds you lose depends on several factors such as age, metabolism, activity levels etc…
The final and the most important point to be remembered is to avoid any fast food both while on the diet and after completion of the diet. Once you lose the weight, try to maintain it by eating healthy.
The sole purpose of this diet is to teach you how to control the food portions while eating different foods you like.
So, after completion of the diet, it depends on your lifestyle whether you could maintain the results or not. Eat healthy, be active and stay healthy.
Expert’s Answers for Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! It is likely safe if you do it once in a while for quick weight loss results. But, if you follow the military diet repeatedly, then you’ll likely to see some negative effects.
No! Unfortunately, there is no diet program in this world that guarantees permanent weight loss results.
You’ll definitely put on weight if you’re back to your regular unhealthy eating habits.
The only way to maintain your lost weight is to eat according to your BMI. Period.
So, in order to keep your weight off, it is always advised to eat/maintain < 2000 calories a day. Anything above the 2000 calories and you’ll end up gaining weight again for sure.
Of course, it also depends on your daily activities. In case you’re burning more than 2000 calories a day through different activities like running, exercising, etc., then your case might differ from the rest.
On an average, dieters will lose anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds in a span of 7 days. But, do note that the end weight loss results varies from one individual to another depending on age, health, current weight, fitness activity level etc…
People usually repeat the diet (3+4 days) several times until they reach their weight loss goal.
However, I would personally recommend that you use it as a quick weight loss hack to lose weight in emergency situations like upcoming events or vacations.
Following the military diet once in a while is OK, but don’t repeat it multiple times continuously as it will make your muscles weak, which is not good in the long run.
Say for example, you followed the diet this week and lost some weight. Then, you just have to eat normally for the next 3 or 4 weeks before starting it again.
Once a month or two is reasonably fine. But, don’t follow it more than once in a single month.
You usually get anywhere from 1000 calories to 1300 calories during the first 3 days of the military diet plan. On the remaining 4 days, you’ll be eating up to 1500 calories per day.
If you’re extremely obese, then yes, it is water weight that you lose on the military diet.
But, if you’re just a few pounds heavier (say < 10 lbs), then you’ll lose mostly fat due to calorie restriction.
Of-course, Yes. Losing 10 pounds in 7 days definitely possible if you’re more than 30 pounds overweight as you’ll lose most of the water weight initially.
But, if you’re just 15 or 20 pounds overweight, then you might lose anywhere between 5 to 6 pounds.
The thumb rule is, the more you weigh, the more pounds you’ll lose initially.
This is one of the biggest myths of the military diet. Our body enters into the starvation mode only if we go beneath the 1000 calorie mark per day for at least a week continuously. Fortunately, you’ll be getting more than 1000 calories per day through the military diet and that too only for 3 days a week.
On the remaining 4 days, you can follow the high protein, low calorie diet so that you can lose up to 10 pounds in a week..
The 3 day military diet plan menu consists of foods that are good in carbs, fat and protein content and hence you don’t feel hunger while following the diet.
However, if you feel hungry during the diet, you can drink coffee, tea, carbonated water etc…to curb your appetite.
Definitely not. Almost half of the ingredients are found in your kitchen already and the remaining foods can be easily bought from any local grocery store for less.
Since, there are no special or magic ingredients in this diet, you don’t have to shell out more for losing pounds.
You should first check your BMI and based on your weight loss goals, you should reduce a maximum of 500 calories from your daily calorie consumption so that you can lose up to 1 or 2 pounds per week.
You can also include strength training in your routine to lose additional pounds fast.
Not really. But, you can include 16/8 intermittent fasting routine along with the military diet to improve your weight loss results.
Fasting for a period of time will help in lowering the IGF-1 levels, which are similar to Insulin.
Here the lower levels indicate only goods like increased metabolism, longevity and lesser diabetic risk. When our body finds the decrease in IGF-1 levels, it enters into a fat burning machine, thereby letting you lose more pounds than usual.
Conclusion: Is the Military Diet for you?
Since the Military diet is a low calorie regime, people will definitely lose weight.
Due to the energy deficit, the body utilizes the stored fat for energy and help you shed pounds.
So, If you want to lose a few pounds quickly for an upcoming event like your anniversary, birthday or an occasion, then the 3 day military diet menu is the best weight loss plan out there.
However, if you’re looking for long term weight loss results, then this army diet may not be for you.
Instead, we recommend the low carb – moderate protein – high fat diet for such needs.
The best way to lose weight and maintain it is by changing your lifestyle (healthy eating habits). It is the only recommended way to stay fit for a longer period of time.
Additional Weight Loss Tips to Get the Best Results
Most of the things you hear about the ‘weight loss’ online are myths that are not backed by science.
However, people just blindly follow those weight loss fads without actually thinking about their effectiveness.
And, in this article, we’ve tried to cover the top 15 weight loss tips that are scientifically proven to have significant effect on your weight as well as the overall health.
According to some studies, drinking enough water everyday not only helps in flushing out the harmful impurities from your body, but also aids in weight loss.
Water helps in improving your metabolism by up to 30% over a period of 60 to 90 minutes and thus help you burn some extra calories.
And, another study has proven that drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water 30 minutes before having a meal helped the dieters to eat fewer calories than normal.
Tip: As a general thumb rule, aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water everyday i.e., 3 to 4 liters. You can also have a glass of warm water with acv on an empty stomach for best results.
2.Avoid Sugar Completely
If you want me to quote the worst ingredient that makes you put on weight, then the first thing I would say is the ‘Sugar’.
Yes, this simple carb ingredient is said to cause obesity and other diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart problems etc…
If you wanted to lose weight, then it is highly advised to ditch the sugar and other artificial sugar substitutes completely.
Tip: You can instead opt for Natural Stevia to help your sweet tooth and it won’t spike the blood sugar.
3.Stay Away from Refined Carbs
Fast foods like white bread, pasta etc… are considered to be refined carbs as they contain nothing but sugar as the fiber and other nutrients are missing in them.
Refined carb foods are said to spike your Insulin levels so rapidly and can lead to cravings and hunger.
According to science, refined carbs are linked to obesity and hence it is highly advised to either limit them or completely avoid them if possible.
Tip: Try to get the carbs from the foods that are also rich in fiber so that the net carbs will be lower.
4.Try the Low Carb Diet
If you don’t know already, Ketogenic diet plan is one of the best ways to lose weight fast in the long-term.
P.S: The 3 day Military diet is beneficial for short-term weight loss. It is mainly useful for those who’re looking to lose those extra fat for the upcoming event in less period of time.
You’ll be eating less carbs i.e., under 50 gms per day. You’ll then enter a state called ‘Ketosis’ where your body will use the stored fat as it is deprived of carbs for its energy needs.
Numerous studies show that high fat, moderate protein and low carb diets can help you lose weight faster than a regular low carb diet.
Tip: Try to go below the 20 gms carb limit if you’re suffering from extreme obesity, else you may go up to 50 gms limit per day for slow and steady weight loss results.
5.Eat a High Protein Breakfast
There are many studies that showed eating a breakfast high in proteins helped the dieters lose more weight than those who skipped their morning meal.
It is said that eating protein early in the morning keeps you more satiated and energetic until noon so that you won’t munch on unhealthy snacks in between meals.
Tip: Eggs are the best breakfast choice. If you’re a vegetarian, you may have the Cottage Cheese or Whey protein shake.
6.Eat Fiber Rich Foods
Several studies have proven that a healthy gut is necessary to lose weight and also to keep your overall health in check.
And, to get regular bowel movements, you need to eat enough fiber content.
Fiber also increases satiety and helps in long term weight loss.
Tip: Eat more veggies and fruits as they have more fiber and fewer calories.
7.Chew Your Food 32 Times
Do you know that your brain needs at least 15 minutes to register that you’re full?
Yes! If you don’t chew enough, then you’ll be eating more than required in those 15 minutes, which in turn makes you gain weight.
Tip: As a thumb rule, try to chew every piece or bit of food for at least 32 times so that the food is properly digested without wasting time. It also helps you eat fewer calories.
8.Portion Control – Calorie Limit
You might have already known this tip if you’re trying to lose weight since a long time.
Every person needs some calories based on his metabolism, sex, age and lifestyle. And, if you eat fewer calories than those minimum recommended calories per day, then you’ll lose weight.
Likewise, if you exceed that calorie limit, then you’ll put on weight.
It’s that simple!
Tip: Use the MyFitnessPal mobile app to keep track of how many calories you’re getting per day.
9.Use Smaller Plates
Eating in smaller plates helped the dieters get fewer calories and thus helped them lose weight in the process.
So, replace your old bigger plates with smaller ones.
Tip: Get a considerably smaller plate and fill it completely so that you’ll think that you’re eating enough. Just a psychological trick that works most of the time.
10.Drink Green Tea or Black Coffee
Green tea has numerous health benefits and one of them being weight management.
It is calorie-free and loaded with caffeine, powerful antioxidants that help enhance fat burning mechanism.
Likewise, the Black Coffee (without milk or sugar) is said to boost your metabolism by 3-11% and can increase fat burning by up to 10 to 29%.
Tip: If you don’t like the bland taste, then just add 1 or 2 drops of Stevia for taste.
11.Keep Healthy & Low Calorie Snacks Around
No matter how hard you try to limit your number of meals, most people tend to cheat in between meals.
So, it is better to have some healthy snacks handy so that you don’t munch on unhealthy or high carb foods.
Tip: Low calorie snacks include – eggs, yogurt, carrots, nuts, whole fruits, dry roasted peanuts etc…
12.Strength Training – Build Muscle to Burn Fat
Although the cardio workouts like running on the treadmill etc… are good for weight loss, they’re not efficient for long term results.
Strength training on the other hand help you build muscles, which improves your metabolism and burns calories throughout the day after the workout session. So, you’ll actually be burning calories even when you’re resting.
Tip: Invest in a good Gym membership and get a personal trainer if you have the budget.
13.Get Enough Sleep
Several studies have proven that sleep deprived individuals are more prone to health risks and is linked to 89% increased risk of obesity.
So, get some good night sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours everyday.
Tip: Stay away from blue light (computer/mobile screen) 1 or 2 hours before going to bed and drink a glass of milk with a pinch of turmeric to get a good night’s sleep. Track your sleep using the best activity tracker band.
14.Avoid Empty Calories and Fruit Juices
We’ve already said that sugar is bad and the soft drinks contain nothing but empty calories from sugar.
The same goes with fruit juices. You should instead eat whole fruits without juicing them.
Tip: Have the carbonated water if you still wanted to. It is a zero calorie drink with no sugar.
15.Follow the Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Final and the most useful weight loss tip that is backed by science is to follow the Intermittent fasting routine.
Well, it is simply a lifestyle routine and not a diet.
You’ll be fasting for 16 hours and eat during the 8 hour eating window. You can also do the 18/4 or 20/2 schedule as long as you feel comfortable.
During the fasting period, your body will have nothing to digest and hence enters into ketosis and burns the stored fat, thereby helping you lose weight naturally.
Tip: I personally follow the 16/8 IF schedule and it works for most people without any issues.
That’s all friends! All these weight loss tips are scientifically proven in the studies conducted on select individuals. So, they may work for you too. All you need is some patience and dedication to lose weight.