The military diet is strictly calorie-counting, but allows desserts to be eaten every day. Learn all the details about this meal plan.
The content of the article
In fact, the military diet is not related to the army. But this rather peculiar way of eating is actively praised by bloggers, and all because it helps to lose up to five kilograms a week!
How the military diet works and its benefits
It is believed that the military diet starts and speeds up the metabolism. This is due to a three-day calorie restriction. Yes, yes, you understood correctly: three days of low-calorie nutrition is followed by a regular, unrestricted diet. At the same time, you do not have to spend money on any supplements or join closed clubs for losing weight.
Cons of the military diet
Yes, the military diet can lead to rapid and dramatic weight loss. However, such weight loss will be short-term and not very sustainable in the long run — there is a risk of gaining more than you lost. And it’s a shame!
In addition, strict diets of this type can provoke eating disorders and further breakdowns. Before you try it, be sure to consult a therapist. And, of course, evaluate your willpower.
And now we will tell you in more detail what kind of diet this is.
As we have already said, the military diet is a special three-day meal plan, which in theory helps to get rid of five kilograms in a week. A three-day calorie-restricted meal plan is followed by four days off—no daily calorie restriction.
Followers of the diet are encouraged to repeat the weekly cycle for up to a month or until they reach their dream weight.
Since the basis of the military diet is intermittent calorie restriction, it can be considered a special form of intermittent fasting. Diets of this type are characterized by alternating periods of reduced daily calorie intake and periods of calorie intake without restrictions.
But despite the fact that you can supposedly eat whatever you want during these “weekends”, the diet may encourage you to follow the same (well, slightly less limited) eating plan during this time — and continue to lose weight. So be careful with your feelings!
Detailed military diet plan
The three-day military diet is divided into two stages of seven days. It provides a set diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first three days — no snacks between meals.
At this stage, the total calorie intake is approximately 1100–1400 calories per day, making the diet low in calories. We remind you that this type of diet includes restrictive nutrition systems that set the norm at 800-1200 calories per day.
It is important to note that this calorie restriction is well below the recommended adult rate. To ensure adequate nutrient intake (we don’t want to harm the body, do we?), you shouldn’t limit your calorie intake as drastically as a military diet would require without a doctor’s recommendation or supervision.
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For the remaining four days of the week, the military diet encourages us to simply eat a well-balanced diet without abuse.
military diet food
And this is what the weekly diet looks like.
The 3-Day Military Diet Meal Plan consists of a limited set of foods — there are only 16 of them! – which should be shared between breakfast, lunch and dinner.
toast or saltine crackers
grapefruit, apples or bananas
hard boiled eggs or cheddar cheese
toast or saltine crackers
canned tuna, hard boiled eggs or cottage cheese
any meat or canned tuna
green beans, carrots or broccoli
apples or bananas
vanilla ice cream
As you can see, in the early days of the diet there is not much variety. In addition, the recommended amount of these 16 foods is gradually decreasing day by day. Total calorie intake starts at about 1400 calories on the first day and drops to about 1100 calories on the last day. It doesn’t sound like much, to be honest.
As for drinks, pure water and herbal teas are allowed. The good news for coffee lovers is that you can drink caffeinated coffee or tea twice a day, but of course avoid creamers and sweeteners.
And for the remaining 4 days of the diet there are no limits or restrictions, except for observing the rules of a healthy lifestyle. But that’s in theory. In practice, the diet offers a less strict menu (for 1500 calories). It is intended for those who hope to further accelerate weight loss. For example, snacking is allowed on these days, but it is recommended to limit portion sizes.
It’s important to remember that 1500 calories a day is still a calorie restriction that may not meet your needs. Especially if you lead an active lifestyle, which increases energy consumption.
Additional Allowed and Prohibited Foods on the Military Diet
For those who have dietary restrictions, the military diet allows for substitutions during the first phase. The main thing is that portions correspond to the number of calories.
In addition to replacing foods that can cause allergic reactions (such as peanut butter), there are alternatives for those on a gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian, or vegan diet.
However, the diet emphasizes the need to avoid substituting orange for grapefruit. Instead, it is recommended to replace it with a glass of water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, which experts say helps alkalize the body and reduce body fat.
Military diet proponents recommend avoiding artificially sweetened drinks to prevent weight gain — well, that’s a pretty obvious point in our opinion.
Scientific rationale for the military diet
Currently, the military diet has not been researched, which means that there is no accurate and clear evidence of its effectiveness. However, keep in mind that weight loss usually requires a calorie deficit, which means that there will still be some effect.
In general, we advise making weight loss decisions only under the supervision of nutritionists. If this is not possible, then it is better to follow a simply healthy diet without abuse. This way you will achieve slow but steady weight loss without any hard restrictions.
This is the opposite of what the military diet suggests, but it won’t harm your health.
Do not starve yourself and do not forget about physical activity!
Pitfalls of the military diet
The military diet does not take into account individual health and lifestyle characteristics, as it tries to offer a universal nutrition plan. The diet in this approach is unbalanced, which means that repeated repetition of the cycle can lead to health problems, such as nutritional deficiencies.
In addition, current research shows that drastic calorie reduction, even for short periods of time, can create or exacerbate eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.
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What’s more, regular consumption of crackers and ice cream can cause metabolic problems and increase the risk of chronic disease.
And further. The military diet is not conducive to positive and long-term habit change. This means that any weight lost is likely to be quickly regained once you return to your regular eating pattern.
Research shows that the key to successful weight loss is first and foremost setting realistic weight loss goals and committing to lifestyle changes, rather than short-term weird diets so popular on social networks.
Is it really possible to lose five pounds in a week?
The military diet has become popular because its fans claim that it is possible to lose five kilograms on it in just one week. However, we are different, so it is logical that the diet will not have the same effect for everyone.
In addition, most of the weight loss will be due to water loss. This is due to the fact that severe calorie restriction leads to a decrease in glycogen stores in the body.
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When we consume enough calories, body fluid accumulates easily because for every gram of stored glycogen, there are 3 grams of water. Hence, when glycogen stores are depleted, associated water is also lost.
Thus, this change in water balance leads to weight loss. But the weight will come back as soon as you return to your normal diet and your glycogen stores are replenished again.
Today, nutritionists recommend aiming for a weight loss rate of 0.5-1 kg per week to ensure fat loss, not fluid or muscle mass.
If you are determined to lose weight, remember that weight management consists of two important steps: reaching your desired weight and maintaining it. And the second stage is actually much more difficult.