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How would you like to lose 10 pounds in a week while eating hot dogs and ice cream?

Most of us would say “sign me in!”, Right?

This is what the 3-day military diet plan has been enticing people with.

The diet claims that it can help you drop as much as 10 pounds in less than a week.

If that’s not tempting enough, it also claims you can lose that much weight without exercise.

Needless to say, these claims have made the military diet wildly popular.

So what is this mysterious diet? How did it come about and is it all legit? Here’s all you need to know in a nutshell.

What Is the Military Diet?

The military diet is a 3-day low-calorie weight loss meal plan that promises dieters to lose 10 pounds in a week.

The diet begins with a 3-day calorie-restrictive menu. It’s then followed by a 4-day off period where you can eat your way.

It’s a 7-day cycle that gets repeated until you reach your goal weight.

The military diet became famous for its supposed origin in the armed forces. But the fact of the matter is, it has no affiliations with any U.S. military institutions.

How Does the Military Diet Work?

The military diet is split into 2 phases: 3 days of dieting, followed by 4-days off.

During the first 3 days, you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner per the low-calorie meal plan. You’ll be eating roughly 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day in total.

There are no snacks between meals, but you can substitute some items. You can refer to this substitution list.

The last 4 days are off days, where you can choose what to eat. But the diet encourages you to eat healthily and keep your calories low.

You can repeat this weekly diet schedule if desired.

So what exactly do you eat on the Military Diet Plan?

Here is the 3-Day Military Diet Meal Plan with its calorie count.

Day 1: 857 to 1,300 total calories.

Breakfast: roughly 222 calories

  • 1 slice of whole grain toast
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
  • 1/2 Grapefruit.
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea.

Lunch: roughly 172 calories

  • 1 slice of whole grain toast.
  • 1/2 cup of Tuna.
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea.

Dinner: roughly 463 calories

  • 3-Oz (85g) serving of any meat
  • 1 cup of green beans.
  • 1 small apple.
  • 1/2 banana.
  • 1 cup Vanilla ice cream.

Day 2: 973 to 1,100 total calories

Breakfast: roughly 206 calories

  • 1 slice of whole grain toast.
  • 1 hard-boiled egg.
  • 1/2 banana.

Lunch: roughly 305 calories

  • 1 hard-boiled egg.
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.

Dinner: roughly 462 Calories

  • 2 hot dogs without a bun.
  • 1/2 cup of carrots
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli.
  • 1/2 banana.
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 3: 719 to 1,000 total calories

Breakfast: roughly 253 calories

  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • 1 small apple.

Lunch: roughly 153 calories

  • 1 slice of toast.
  • 1 hard-boiled egg.

Dinner: roughly 313 calories

  • 1 cup of tuna.
  • 1/2 banana.
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.

Hydration is important, so it’s essential you drink a lot of water. Coffee and tea are okay to drink black without sugar and milk. Any other sugary or calorie-added drinks are not allowed.

The Remaining 4 Days

The remaining 4 days are off days with far less dietary restrictions.

But it’s not to say you can be diet free.

The military diet encourages you to keep your calories under 1,500 a day by managing portions.

Other than that, you are free to eat from any food group and can have snacks if needed.

Once you complete your 4 off days, you can either repeat the 3-day meal plan or continue your off-day diet.

Does the Military Diet Work?

Yes, the military diet works.

Many cases show it can.

Anytime you reduce your calorie intake, you’ll lose weight. It does not matter which diet plan you are on. It could be intermittent fasting, Paleo or the ketogenic diet.

And the military diet is no exception.

How Much Weight Can You Lose On The Military Diet?

The proponents of the military diet claim you can lose weight 10 pounds or 4.5kg in a week.

But the “results” vary from person to person.

Here is what may influence your result.

Age, sex, and your current health conditions.

These personal factors can affect your weight loss just as much as your calorie intake. So don’t rely on others’ military diet results.

Be willing to consider your personal factors.

With that said, those overweight or obese may have an easier time seeing a greater weight loss result.

It’s generally harder to achieve a drastic weight loss for those already at a healthy weight.

Regardless of the actual figure, the military diet can help with weight loss —at least for the short term.

But you are also likely to regain the weight back very fast too. Though the diet is repeatable, it’s no way designed to be long-term.

If you’re serious about permanent weight loss, there are many healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off.

How Many Calories Are in the Three Day Diet?

I mentioned briefly on this earlier, but from day 1 to 3, it’s about 1,000 to 1,300 calories a day without any snack.

During the last 4 days, you’re allowed to eat any healthy meal totaling up to 1,500 calories a day.

Can I Repeat It for a Month?

Yes, you can repeat this diet after every 7th day.

But I wouldn’t suggest doing that.

It should at least be conditional.

You should at least take your basic calorie needs into consideration.

If you need a minimum of 1,500 calories a day, it’s unhealthy to stay on a diet like this that offers far less. That’s simply not the right calorie diet plan for you, especially for the long term.

Also, if this plan leaves you hungry and unsatisfied the first time, I highly recommend against staying on it for a month. Starvation should never be part of any dieting, and this military plan is no exception.

Instead, shift your focus to making healthy food choices after the first week and aim to build healthy habits that foster weight loss.

Why Does the Military Diet Work?

The primary reason is the low-calorie, low-carb aspect of the diet.

Limiting the daily calorie intake to 1,300 is enough to cause weight loss in many people.

Another aspect is the food selection.

Granted, not all foods on the menu are weight loss friendly.

For example, ice cream is no friend to dieting. It’s basically sugar and cream in a frozen form.

But there are many other foods that are indeed diet staples.

Black coffee, grapefruit, banana, tuna, steak, and even eggs are foods with powerful nutritional and weight loss benefits.

Proteins such as tuna, steak, and eggs contain a thermic effect, burning a good portion of the food’s its own calories to digest the food.

What this means is that your body may only absorb 70 calories eating a 100 calorie steak.

When trying to limit the calorie intake, certain foods’ natural reaction within the body can be a quite helpful resource for creating an even bigger calorie deficit.

Other foods like banana, grapefruit and black coffee are similarly known for their weight loss benefits.

So when looking at the diet as a whole, it may look nothing but illogical planning, but if you look closely at each food individually, you may start to discover why the military diet works.

Is the Military Diet Safe?

Anything that’s extreme and not sustainable can be bad for you. And this diet is no exception.

If the calories set by the diet are too low for you, then your body will be running low on energy to fuel the normal bodily functions.

Inevitably, it can lead to health issues.

It can slow down your metabolism, break down muscle mass, and dull your brain and other bodily functions.

Depending on how you decide to eat during the 4 off days, you may run the risk of nutritional deficiency.

The key is to understand your caloric needs and assess how well the diet will satisfy your needs. Generally speaking, 500 calories or more of a daily calorie deficit is too dangerous.

Use our calorie calculator here to find out your daily needs now to find out if the plan can be safe for you.

Is The Military Diet Evidence-Based?

Most likely not.

I dug deep but I haven’t found any actual published studies on the origin of the military diet.

But that’s because there’s none.

If you must try, know that you are doing so at your own risk.

Final Thoughts

The Military Diet can work —for the short term.

With a strictly restricted 3 day diet, you may lose some pounds rather quickly.

But that weight you see drop may not be sustainable and stick for the long term especially if you neglect to eat healthy the following days. Too often, you experience regaining the lost weight quite fast.

It’s nothing more than a short-term fix with some noticeable results.

To keep your weight off, be sure to follow a long-term healthy weight loss plan that’s much sustainable and can be part of your lifestyle.