Weight Loss Made Practical » Dieting

Should You Try The Military Diet?

This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

The military diet is another weight loss routine you sometimes see people talk about.

What is it and is it the solution to your weight loss challenges? Discover the advantages and disadvantages of following this diet plan.

What is the military diet?

Also called the 3-day diet, the military diet follows a 7 day cycle. You go on a 3 day low calorie meal plan and the other 4 days you can eat what you want as long as you stay under a certain amount of calories. You can continue to do this cycle until you are at your desired weight.

Even though it is in the name, the military diet is not associated with the military in any way.

How do you follow the military diet?

For the first 3 days you need to follow a low calorie meal plan. You can consume around 1100-1400 calories each day.

You can drink water, coffee and tea during the low calorie days but nothing else.

The four days after that you can eat what you want as long as you stay under 1500 calories.

The 3 day meal plan of the military diet

Military diet meal plan

Day 1

The meal plan of the first day results in about 1400 calories.

Breakfast:

  • A slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Half a grapefruit

Lunch:

  • A slice of toast
  • Half a cup of tuna

Dinner:

  • A 3-oz (85 grams) serving of meat with a cup of green beans
  • A small apple
  • Half a banana
  • One cup vanilla ice cream

Day 2

The total calories of the second day results in around 1200 calories.

Breakfast:

  • A slice of toast
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • Half a banana

Lunch:

  • One hard-boiled egg
  • A cup of cottage cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers

Dinner:

  • Two hot dogs, with no bun
  • Half a cup of carrots and half a cup of broccoli
  • Half a banana
  • Half a cup of vanilla ice cream

Day 3

The day 3 plan contains around 1100 calories.

Breakfast:

  • A 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese
  • 5 saltine crackers
  • A small apple

Lunch:

  • A slice of toast
  • One egg, prepared however you want

Dinner:

  • A cup of tuna
  • Half a banana
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Advantages of this diet plan

The military diet makes the 3 days of eating fairly simple. There is no question about what you can and cannot eat. For some people other diet plans may be too complicated.

There is also no question that in the short term you will be in a calorie deficit.

Disadvantages of this diet plan

Following this diet plan in the long-term can be the cause of a few weight loss and health issues.

Low nutrition levels

The military diet provides not enough vitamins and minerals to function properly in the long term. Your body does store nutrients. If you do this diet only once in a while your body should be able to get enough micronutrients from its stores.

Slowing down metabolism

Extended periods of such a low amount of calories can slow down your metabolism. Incorporating some higher calorie days on the military diet to combat this sounds like a good idea.

Not consuming anything to put your body into a fasted state might be a better option than this diet plan. Losing weight by fasting provides a lot of benefits compared to extreme calorie deficits

Hard to stick to

While I have not tried this meal plan, I can probably predict you will be very hungry on this meal plan. Low calorie days like this make you more hungry than not consuming anything.

You will probably also feel fairly week due to the low amount of calories.

Should you ever do the military diet?

I don’t see any situation where you would want to choose the military diet over anything else. For most people fasting is easier to stick to. While fasting you also get other health benefits.

If you do decide to do the military diet, you shouldn’t do it for months at a time. This can slow your metabolism down a lot. If you then stop following this food plan you will probably regain all the weight and more.

Choosing a diet plan isn’t always easy. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a diet plan.