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What Is The 3-Day Military Diet? What You Need To Know

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What Is The 3-Day Military Diet? What You Need To Know

It seems like every week there’s a new fad diet sweeping the Internet.

This latest one, however, is not for the faint of heart.

The Military Diet is a three-day regimen that promises to help you lose 10 pounds a week, if followed correctly — trust us, this is easier said than done.

Also Read: Lose 10 Pounds In Two Weeks

Also known as the  Birmingham Cardiac diet, the 3-Day diet, and the Army or Navy diet, the plan consists of just 860 to 1,150 calories a day for three days (with four days off), which essentially makes it a form of fasting. Self-restraint and discipline — like that of a solider, perhaps — is key for sticking to this hardcore diet.

The diet has already drawn criticism from medical experts, who say it isn’t sustainable over the long term. Furthermore, it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, or anyone with chronic health issues.

As far as diets go, the military diet is relatively simple, if not rather rigid. Everything is laid out plainly.

The 3-Day Diet:

Day one (approximately 1,400 calories):

Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice toast, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)

3 day military diet - day 1 breakfast

Related: 7 Healthy Breakfasts Under 300 Calories

Lunch: 1/2 cup tuna, 1 slice toast, 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)

3 day military diet- day 1 lunch

Dinner: 3 ounces any type of meat, 1 cup green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup vanilla ice cream

3 day military diet- day 1 dinner

Day two (approximately 1,200 calories):

Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 slice toast, 1/2 banana

3 day military diet- day 2 breakfast

Lunch: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers

3 day military diet- day 2 lunch

Dinner: 2 hot dogs (without bun), 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream

3 day military diet- day 2 dinner

Day three (approximately 1,100 calories):

Breakfast: 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice (1 ounce) cheddar cheese, 1 small apple

3 day military diet- day 3 breakfast

Lunch: 1 hard-boiled egg (or cooked however you like), 1 slice toast

3 day military diet- day 3 lunch

Dinner: 1 cup tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream

3 day military diet- day 3 dinner

The Rules

1. You can drink water, black coffee or tea, but no soda, milk, juice, or alcohol during the three-day plan.

2. You must stick to this menu as much as possible, though there are some substitutions available on the website should you require them (for example, there are swaps available if you are allergic to peanut butter or you are a vegetarian). The substitutions are just as strict as the original diet, so don’t think you can just swap out an orange for your grapefruit (apparently, that’s a no no). Stick to the guidelines.

3. Other than what’s on the menu, you cannot add anything else. That means no condiments or different cooking techniques allowed unless specified (exceptions are nonstick cooking spray, salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, herbs, spices and calorie-free sweeter).

Pros And Cons Of The Military Diet

On this plan, you’ll be eating so few calories that it’s likely you’ll lose weight. However, there is a greater risk of hunger and therefore overeating during the four days off, potentially sabotaging your efforts and promoting a binge-restrict cycle. Repeated weight loss and weight gain can strain your metabolism and weaken your immune system.

“This is allowing a very little bit of rich food,” explains Kimberly Gomer, R.D., director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Centre of the diet. She’s concerned that the regime will leave most dieters hungry — especially as it includes calorie-laden ice cream in the plan instead of more filling foods, for example.

“It makes me frustrated because I could give people six times the amount of food [for the same amount of calories],” she says.

The Military Diet website provides some guidelines for what to eat during your four days off in order to prevent the binge-restrict cycle from happening, but these are simply recommendations.

The plan also does not encourage regular exercise.

On the other hand, the diet is inexpensive and completely free. There’s no fees to pay or meetings to join.

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