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What You Need to Know About the Military Diet
The Military Diet is a eating plan that has become popular in the last few years, with people trying it in the hopes that it will offer quick, easy weight loss. But how much do we really know about this diet? Is it a healthy one, or just another fad diet that won’t really work? Below, we take a cold, hard look at the Military Diet so you know the full truth.
Military Diet 101
Despite the diet’s name, it has nothing to do with the U.S. military. There were no military scientists or dieticians involved in its creation—it simply uses the name “military” because it requires discipline and stamina in order to persist with the diet. The diet’s website doesn’t provide information on who created it, how it has evolved over time, or what science backs it up. All of the claims the diet makes—about “chemically compatible foods” and the outcomes of the diet—remain unsubstantiated.
The Military Diet Basics
At its core, the diet is a restricted-calorie diet, one that involves eating around 1100 to 1400 calories on the “on” days. Day 1 is 1400 calories, Day 2 is 1200 calories, and Day 3 is 1100 calories. After these “on” days, you are allowed to eat whatever you want, but it’s recommended that you remain within the 1500-calorie range. This cycle of three days on and four days off continues for as long as you can sustain it, or until you reach your weight loss goals.
What You Can Eat on the Military Diet
The website contains a lot of details on what you’re permitted to eat during the three “on” days, and it’s a pretty classic diet. The majority of the focus is on healthy fruits and vegetables, but there are some allowances made—such as hot dogs and ice cream—that seem a bit odd for a diet. However, if the goal is making it easier on people who struggle with harsh diets, it could be a slightly easier eating plan to follow thanks to the inclusion of these foods. Alcohol isn’t permitted during the “on” days, but it’s allowed during the “off” days.
Of Course the Military Diet Encourages Exercise
Like most healthy diets, the Military Diet encourages at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, no less than five days per week. It’s a low-calorie diet, so you won’t have a ton of energy available for high-intensity exercise, but you’ll find that a light walk for 30 minutes or so per day will be enough exercise to help you focus on your fitness while going through the diet.
How Sustainable is the Military Diet?
The Military Diet is chiefly meant as a quick-fix diet, meaning it’s supposed to help you lose weight quickly by drastically reducing your calories. It’s strict, regimented, and highly controlled, which means that it’s going to be much harder for you to stick with it over the long term.
How Healthy is the Military Diet?
Unfortunately, the mix of calorie restrictions and the allowance of unhealthy processed and packaged foods means the Military Diet isn’t going to be a great option. It relies on the old “calories in vs. calories out” diet strategy rather than encouraging the consumption of healthy food. While it may be a good idea for those who need a bit of structure in their diet to build new habits, it’s not sustainable over the long term and thus not a diet that will last. You’d be better off looking for a diet that encourages healthy foods in moderation and balance!