Imagine you could lose 5 kilos a week…whilst eating your favorite junk food like ice cream? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s what the big fuss behind the 3 Day Military Diet is, a strict eating regimen that’s been taking over the Internet over the past couple of months.The rules are simple: Follow a rigid meal plan for three days, then do four more days of maintenance and watch as the kilos “melt away” by the end of the week.
Bloggers and YouTube vloggers are pushing this trend forward with viral before-and-after pictures showing impressively unbelievable transformations. Followers of the diet consume about 1,100 to 1,400 calories per day in the form of “fat-burning” food combos like hot dogs and bananas, and tuna and toast. It’s a one-size-fits-all plan, so athletic men and women are going to eat the same food as their more sedentary counterparts. But is it really a healthy way to lose weight? Let’s find out.
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
Well, it turns out that the 3-day Military Diet isn’t the unique weight loss solution it’s made out to be.“This [diet concept] has been dressed up differently and brought out to dance before,” says Kimberly Gomer, R.D., director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center. Restrictive three-day diet plans are nothing new in the fitness industry.
Plus, the diet has no affiliation with the actual U.S. Army and that just seems to be a gimmick to attract people to it.
According to websites dedicated to the diet plan, the three-day Military Diet prescribes the following meal plan:
Starting, you’ll have to prepare a half grapefruit, a slice of toast, a scoop of peanut butter and some coffee for breakfast. And for lunch, it’s tuna, toast and more coffee (or tea with added caffeine).For the dinner menu: three ounces of any kind of preferred meat, a cup of green beans, half a banana, a small apple and a cup of vanilla ice cream.
This is where the interesting bit begins. For breakfast you’ll have an egg, a slice of toast and half a banana. For lunch, another egg but this time hard broiled, some saltines and a cup of cottage cheese.Finally, for dinner, you’re gonna have some hot dogs. You’ll eat two mystery tubes plus some fruits and veggies, finishing it off with some more vanilla ice cream.
For the last day of the diet, you’ll cut calories down a notch to approximately 1,100 in the following breakdown. For breakfast, five saltines, an ounce of cheddar cheese and a small apple. Then next, just one egg and a slice of toast for lunch. And finally for the last meal, a cup of tuna, half of a banana and one last cup of vanilla ice cream.
SO WHAT COMES AFTER?
After you’ve completed the three-day diet, you’re supposed to eat and exercise normally for the next four days. “What I found interesting is that this diet allows for almost 1,500 calories, which is a pretty normal weight management diet,” says Gomer. “It’s not a crazy 800-calorie crash diet.” But its promises it seems aren’t what all they claim to be.
One of the main claims of the three-day Military Diet is that your meals are all arranged in “fat-burning” food combinations. However, “There’s no science behind it,” says Gomer. You might still lose weight if the calories you’re putting in your body are less than the calories you’re burning off throughout your day. But absolutely nothing about pairing grapefruit with peanut butter toast will necessarily help you slim down yourself and trim your waistline more than other combinations of similarly caloric foods, Gomer said.
The 3-day Military Diet focuses on small quantities of high-fat food and this might leave you feeling hungry, too. “This is allowing a very little bit of rich food,” explains Gomer, noting that you’ll still feel hungry despite having indulged in ice cream each night. “It makes me frustrated because I could give people six times the amount of food [for the same amount of calories],” says Gomer.
You’d be better off focusing on stomach filling, low-density food items such as fruits and vegetables, which have a lot of water and fiber quantity, Gomer notes. Plus, the diet is also greatly lacking in whole grains, which can reduce your risk of many chronic diseases (like diabetes and heart disease) and help with your weight maintenance.
So hate to break it to you, but eating hot dogs and ice cream won’t probably be your golden ticket to sustainable and healthy weight loss. “The idea that there’s something magical in a certain diet, that’s the American dream,” says Gomer. The Military Diet isn’t sustainable, she says. “You’ll get hungry and grouchy and you break your diet and [then] you’re looking for the next miracle.”
It might be time to get off the fad diet bandwagon and leave the fantasy world. Miracles aren’t happening