What Is The Military Diet & Can It Work For You?

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Take one look at a military serviceman or woman, and it’s not hard to see that they are in great shape, which leaves many people wondering what they eat. The military diet claims it can help you lose ten pounds in one week, but does it really work? Moreover, is it safe to lose that much weight in one week?

Although the diet wasn’t actually created by the United States military as commonly thought, many people use it to get in soldier shape. The good news is that the diet is 100 percent free and doesn’t require you to buy expensive books or supplements. Should you try it? Read on to find out more about the military diet, and its prospective health benefits.

What Is The Military Diet Can It Work For You

What Is The Military Diet?

The military diet is also known as the three-day diet because it is split up into two parts over the course of the week. You follow the military diet for three days, and then you take a break the remaining four days (but you still need to eat healthily). It claims you can lose up to ten pounds during that week, and even up to 30 pounds if you follow it for a month. If you want to optimize your weight loss, you can follow the military diet for four days of the week and take three days off. It works by having you eat a very low-calorie diet for the days that you follow the plan. It supposedly kick-starts your metabolism so that you burn more fat.

For the first three days of the week, you must follow a very low-calorie diet of about 1,000 to 1,400 calories per day. These calories are split up between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No snacks are allowed on the plan. For the remaining four days of the week, you are encouraged to keep your calorie count low and eat healthily, but you aren’t required to be as strict as you wound during the first three days. You can also stay on the diet for as long as you need until you reach your goal weight.

diet What is the Military Diet

Here is an example of a three-day meal plan on the military diet:

Day one: 1,400 calories


  • Half of a grapefruit
  • One slice of toast with two tablespoons of no-sugar-added peanut butter
  • A cup of tea or coffee is optional


  • Another slice of toast topped with one half of a cup of tuna packed in water (not oil to keep your calories down; you can also use fresh, wild-caught tuna)
  • One small apple
  • Again, a cup of coffee or tea is optional


  • Three ounces of meat such as chicken or turkey
  • One cup of green beans (can be fresh or canned)
  • A half of a banana
  • One cup of plain vanilla ice cream for dessert

Day two: 1,200 calories


toast hard boiled egg coffee What is the Military Diet

  • One slice of plain toast
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A half of a grapefruit
  • One cup of coffee or tea is optional


  • One cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • Another hard boiled egg
  • Five saltine crackers
  • Again, a cup of coffee or tea is optional


  • Two plain hot dogs without the bun
  • A half of a cup of steamed broccoli
  • A half of a cup of steamed carrots
  • One half of a banana
  • One cup of plain vanilla ice cream for dessert

Day three: 1,100 calories


saltine crackers What is the Military Diet

  • Five saltine crackers
  • One ounce of low-fat cheese (this can be one slice of cheese or one ounce of blocked cheddar cheese)
  • One small apple
  • One cup of coffee or tea is optional


  • One plain slice of toast
  • One egg prepared however you like (hard boiled, scrambled, poached, etc.)
  • One cup of coffee or tea is optional


  • One cup of tuna
  • One half of a banana
  • One cup of vanilla ice cream for dessert

Although you’re not dieting as extremely during the remainder of the week, the last four days are no walk in the park, either. You’re encouraged to keep your calories around 1,500 per day. You can do this by eating the same way as you do on the first three days, but add low-calorie snacks in between meals. Also, you don’t need to restrict your food groups as much during the other four days, but you’ll want to keep your calorie count low as this is the primary goal of the diet.

almond butter What is the Military Diet

If you have a dietary restriction, you can swap out foods with equal calorie counts for any of the above-mentioned foods. For example, you can swap out peanut butter for almond butter if you have a peanut allergy. If you’re vegetarian, you can swap out almonds for the tuna. Just make sure the calories are the same. You’ll also want to make sure you’re drinking lots of water on the military diet. Adding lemon to your water is a good way to further detox and get some vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties and can help you eliminate toxins in the body. Water will also aid in digestion and help you lose weight quicker. Plus, it keeps you full, which is helpful on a diet that is so low in calories.

Pros And Cons Of The Military Diet

The military diet will help you lose weight just because it restricts your calories. Simply put, you will lose weight if more fat leaves your tissue then enters it. For most people, this is why they diet in the first place. But is it safe? Some health experts aren’t so sure. Here are some pros and cons of the military diet.


1. Weight loss

weight loss What is the Military Diet

If your primary desire is to lose weight and you don’t have many other health goals, then you may find success with the military diet. The average adult men and women need around 2,000 to 2,6000 calories a day to maintain their current weight, so anything below this number will likely cause weight loss. The only downside to this mentality is that the military diet is so strict, you might be tempted to cheat, which means the diet won’t work. It’s also hard to maintain this way of eating for too long. For example, you may be able to follow the military diet for several weeks and lose a significant amount of weight, but then you’ll regain that weight (and then some) when you start eating a reasonable amount of calories again.


2. Fasting cycles

Fasting is one of the best ways to lose weight. The military diet includes some of these principles in its cycle by asking you to switch up your calorie intake each day. Research shows that intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to lose weight. It’s also more sustainable because it allows you to take days off. But it should be noted that the military diet is not the same thing as intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting usually works by liming your calories to a six or eight hour period during the day or fasting for a total of 16 hours a day. On the other hand, the military diet has you eating tiny amounts of food throughout the day with little room for error. It works by depleting all your stored glycogen in the body so that you’ll lose weight. Many people find that carb cycling is an easier way to lose weight than sticking to a very low-calorie diet.

3. No exercise required

no need excercise What is the Military Diet

The military diet doesn’t require you to workout because your caloric intake is already so low, so this could be a pro for some people who don’t like to exercise or just don’t have time. Some people are so strapped for time that diet is the only thing they can control when it comes to a weight loss program. Because of this, you might be able to lose weight and find that the diet works for you despite not exercising. On the other hand, exercise has many benefits, such as improved mood, lower stress levels, better skin, more energy, brain and digestive health, and more. If you skip out on the working out, you’ll miss out on the high that accompanies a good sweat.

The military diet isn’t very exercise-friendly, either. This means that if you’re working out consistently, your body needs a certain amount of calorie to sustain it. You could get injured in the gym or run out of energy if you try to exercise on low calories. So if you’re not a fan of exercise but still want to lose weight, then the military diet could be a temporary tool to help you until you find a permanent solution.

4. Doesn’t cut out entire food groups

tuna What is the Military Diet

One of the best things about the military diet is that it doesn’t cut out entire food groups, unlike some other diets. It has you eating lean protein, such as eggs and tuna, fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, carrots, and broccoli, dairy such as cheese, legumes such as peanuts, and grains in the form of toast. While the foods on this list aren’t the best food choices you could make from your food groups, at least it’s a start. You could easily swap out your favorite fruits and vegetables for the ones mentioned as long as the calories matchup. For example, try pineapple in place of a banana. Or eat kale instead of green beans. Make sure your toast is made of sprouted wheat for added fiber and swap out the saltine crackers for a cracker made entirely of nuts and seeds.


1. Too low in calories

The military diet basically puts you into starvation mode, which could work against you if you’re trying to lose weight. It might not affect you if you try it for only a few weeks, but eating this way long term could prompt your body to slow down its metabolism and hold onto the fat you have for energy because it knows that you won’t feed it anymore. Your body could perceive this lack of calories as a threat to survival, and it will do whatever it can to preserve what little energy you have for the most essential functions. As a result, you might experience digestive problems, hormonal imbalances, impaired cognitive function, low libido, and problems recovering from tissue damage. Your work performance could suffer, and your relationships might even, too.

2. Includes lots of processed foods

ice cream What is the Military Diet

Most nutritionists wouldn’t be OK with you eating hot dogs, processed bread, ice cream and saltine crackers as part of your meal plan. The military diet allows a lot of processed foods on its meal plan, which are highly inflammatory and work against your body when it comes to removing toxins and promoting weight loss. The truth is that there are much better food choices out there that you could make and you wouldn’t have to limit your calories so much. For example, a diet that allows you to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want along with lean protein, omega-rich fish, and healthy fats in nuts and seeds is a great way to help you feel better. Although the processed foods suggested by the military diet are low in calories, they are also low in nutrition. This means that your body needs to get these nutrients in other places, and when you limit your calories so intensely, you’re simply not getting what you need. As a result, you may feel lethargic or weak if you follow the diet for too long.


3. Not sustainable

It’s tough to follow such a low-calorie diet for so long. Additionally, the military diet doesn’t teach you good eating habits. In fact, it shows you that it’s OK to eat processed foods with low calories over fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts and fish with a higher calorie count. Eventually, you might hit a plateau or get so hungry that you binge on junk food just because you are so starved for calories. Instead of eating low calories, learn how to eat an anti-inflammatory diet that’s high in plant-based foods, so you feel your best and lose weight the natural way without the risk of it coming back.

One Reply to “What Is The Military Diet & Can It Work For You?”

  • Military 3 Day Diet

    I`ve followed the Military Diet for 7 days with my set military diet menu. After 7 days, I have pretty much lost about 10 pounds of body weight. The weight lost was 70% water weight and 30% muscle weight. I ate about 1200 calories for first 3 days and 1500 calories in last 4 days.

    Following this diet, i conclude that if you are overweight and preparing for some special occasion, you can follow this diet for max 7 days. I can give pretty good results. But, if you are looking for a more sustainable way of reducing weight, my personal favorite is Ketogenic Diet. A Military Diet followed for a long duration can cause nutritional deficiencies and can sacrifice your muscle weight. Also, you will end yourself with a slow metabolism.

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