Military Diet: Meal Plan, Potential Benefits & Risks

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Posted on: September 27, 2015

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Military diet - Dr. Axe

Supporters of the very low-calorie “military diet” claim that you can lose up to 10 pounds in less than one week if you follow the diet precisely. But can you actually lose 10 pounds in just three days, and if so, is it even healthy to do so?

Many experts believe that when people lose weight very quickly due to severely restricting their calorie intake they are actually losing a combination of water, some fat mass and also some muscle mass. (1) A fast decline in water that’s stored inside muscles and other tissues is likely the primary reason that someone can drop pounds so quickly when following a calorie-restrictive plan like the 3-day military diet.

The problem with “crash diets” is that once the diet ends and people return to their normal ways of eating, they are likely to gain back most or all of the lost weight. Knowing that, is the military diet a weight loss plan that is effective and worth a try, or just another quick-fix diet fad?


What Is the Military Diet?

The military diet is a very low-calorie diet plan that some people choose to follow several days per week in hopes of losing weight quickly. How much weight loss might the military diet lead to? Up to 10 pounds in 3–7 days, according to those who promote the diet. However, there isn’t much evidence that this speed of weight loss will occur for every person, and even if it does, there are definitely still some drawbacks of the military diet to be aware of.

How Do You Follow the Military Diet?

  • The military diet is also sometimes called the “3-day military diet” due to how it restricts calories for three days of the week. The diet is split into two parts over a one-week period: for three days straight you limit your calorie intake while you adhere to the diet’s strict meal plan, and then for the next four days you “take off” from the diet and eat normally.
  • The four days of the week when calories are not purposefully being restricted you can eat whatever you’d like to for the most part, although some people also choose to restrict calories these days as well in order to further accelerate weight loss.
  • The military diet does not exclude any specific types of foods, such as all animal products or all grains, and is not very low in only one specific macronutrient (carbs, fat or protein).
  • The military diet promotes weight loss simply because it’s very low in calories — but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. Following the diet carefully for three days will keep calorie intake to only about 800–1,100 calories per day, which is far less than adults need to maintain their weight and cover all their nutrient needs.

Military Diet Origins and Facts:

Did anyone with a military background actually help create the 3-day military diet? Although the name implies that people who are either hoping to join the military or who are already in it use the diet to shed weight quickly and perhaps stay in shape, there isn’t any evidence that the...


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