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The 3-Day Military Diet (Review)

Is it really possible to lose 30 pounds quickly?


Updated May 28, 2014

Soldier doing push-ups
Walter B. McKenzie/Stone/Getty Images

Are you tempted to try the Military Diet? The quick weight loss program, sometimes called the “3 Day Diet,” is popular on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites. According the claims, you can lose up to 10 pounds per week or 30 pounds in a month. Sounds attractive, huh? But before you try this eating plan, a word of caution is advised.

What is the Military Diet?

This weight loss program is a “3 day on/4 day off” eating plan. According to the website, the diet is a “combination of low calorie, chemically compatible foods designed to work together and jump start your weight loss.” There is no further information about what they mean by “chemically compatible.” There is also no mention of any real affiliation or history with the military.

It is unclear who (or what) is behind the Military Diet, although there is clearly someone collecting revenue from paid advertisements on the site. The language on the site and the “contact” portal would lead you to believe that there is someone available to answer questions or offer advice. But I tried reaching out to them (anonymously) on several occasions and no one ever replied.

Will I Lose Weight on the Military Diet?

I can’t promise that you will lose weight on any diet, but if you follow The Military Diet you will probably lose a few pounds. I doubt that you’ll lose ten in the first week. So do I recommend the Military Diet? No. In fact, I would predict that if you try the diet, you will regain the weight – and maybe put on more weight in the months after dieting.

Why will the weight come back? First, because the food plan is not sustainable for most people. Very few dieters would be able to spend their lives eating grapefruit and saltines for all of eternity. And second, because some foods that you’ll get used to on the diet are very high calorie, high fat foods. For example, on day two of the diet you eat hot dogs and ice cream for dinner. If you get used to eating foods like that, you’re likely to eventually make portion size mistakes and gain weight as a result.

Loose Logic Behind the Military Diet

Much of the information about diet's website just doesn’t make sense. Because the Military Diet doesn’t actually sell anything, their claims don’t have to be backed up by any real data. Here are a few examples of the claims that don’t add up:

  • There are no days off. You get the idea that you this is a 3 day on/4 day off plan – which would imply that you eat a normal diet for four days during the week. But this plan actually requires you to diet all the time. Here’s what the site says about your four days “off”

    “On the four days off, we recommend a diet of about 1300 – 1500 calories per day, made of up lean protein, veggies and easy on the carbs.”

    I had to laugh out loud when I read this statement. Because anyone who eats a calorie controlled diet that includes the right amount of lean protein, the correct ratio of carbs and plenty of veggies all the time probably doesn’t need a diet in the first place.

  • Calorie counting in disguise. The Military Diet is no different than any other plan that requires you to understand and record your caloric intake. If you substitute any food on your three days “on” you are required to measure your food and add up calories. On your four days “off” you are also required to count calories.

  • Natural diet claims are questionable. The diet claims to be “one of the best natural diets.” They recommend that dieters avoid artificial sweeteners because they “aren’t good for you.” But then the site goes on to include foods like hot dogs and Skinny Cow brand treats in the daily meal plans. I’ve got nothing against hot dogs or Skinny Cows, but they are both loaded with artificial ingredients that aren’t natural.

  • What about water weight? The site claims that when a dieter loses weight on the diet, it “is not just water weight.” But there is no further documentation provided. I’m not sure why a dieter would believe that claim without significant evidence to prove otherwise.

Should I Go on the Military Diet?

If you need to lose weight quickly, any diet that requires you to significantly decrease your caloric intake will cause weight loss. In most cases, the weight loss is not sustainable and in many cases, the dieter regains more than they lost. I don’t recommend quick weight loss programs, but if I had to, I would recommend one that includes healthier foods than hot dogs.

For long-term weight loss, I wouldn’t recommend this plan either. Your health is too important to trust it to a nameless, faceless fad on the internet. Find the right diet for you and invest a little time and effort into putting a reasonable healthy plan in place. Is it more work in the beginning? Yep! But you're far more likely to achieve sustainable results.

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