The Military Diet is one that has aroused a great deal of interest, thanks to its claims that you can lose as many as 10 pounds in one week. But does it actually work? And is it a safe, healthy diet to try, or one you’re better off avoiding? Below, we break down the Military Diet to help you know everything you need to:
What is the Military Diet?
The Military Diet (see more at www.themilitarydiet.com) is a weight loss plan that claims you can not only lose weight—up to 10 pounds in one week—but that you can do so while still eating foods like ice cream and crackers. However, the diet calls for a very strict restriction of calories for the first three days, no more than 1078 calories per day. Then, for the next three days, you can only eat 1500 calories. Doing this every week for an entire month is supposed to be able to help you lose as much as 30 pounds in 30 days!
What Can You Eat?
The Military Diet isn’t too strict on what you can eat, mainly on how much. As long as you stick within the limit—1000 to 1500 calories, depending on the day of the week—you can get away with eating almost anything. For example, the sample meal plans include ice cream, crackers, coffee, toast, and fruits. In small quantities, granted, but the range of foods is varied enough that you won’t suffer from boredom.
Is it Really a Military Diet?
The answer to that is a resounding no. While it may call itself The Military Diet, the truth is that the US Military does not endorse or recommend it. There is no association with the armed forces in any way, and a number of other organizations—including the Cleveland Clinic, Birmingham Hospital, and Mayo Clinic—have also noticeably avoided recommending it, even while it was using a name associated with their organizations.
How Safe and Healthy is the Military Diet?
The first warning sign of this diet is that it is so calorie-restrictive. For an active man, the daily calorie intake is upwards of 2,000 calories, or closer to 1700 calories for active women. Slashing that to just 1000 calories per day can be harsh on your body, deprive you of energy, and even cause your body to go into starvation mode. On the days that you eat 1,500 calories, you’re back to eating almost like normal, but it’s still very restrictive in terms of calorie intake. This can lead to hunger, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and low energy levels.
The Benefits of the Military Diet
Unlike many other restrictive diets, the Military Diet DOES encourage a healthy balance of nutrients. It doesn’t cut out any single food group, but helps you to get a balance of carbs, proteins, fats, fiber, and micronutrients. That, at least, is one thing you don’t need to worry about.
The Verdict: Not Ideal
But the harsh truth is that the Military Diet is far too restrictive to be healthy, especially for someone who engages in daily activity—even light activity like walking. The reduced calorie intake means that you’ll never get enough energy to function, and it’s very likely that your metabolism will slow down as a result of the restricted calorie intake. While it’s a good idea to balance out your nutrients and reduce your calorie intake slightly, doing so to this extreme is definitely not good for your health!