Total calories are low on all three days of the plan, but extremely low and not capable of meeting energy needs for an adult on at least two of these days. In addition, numerous other nutrients were below the USDA’s recommendations. When you look at daily average intake provided, these include getting only 10g fiber, 10% DV for Vitamin D, 37% DV for calcium, 42% DV for iron, and 40% DV for potassium.
No shocker here: It turns out that the Military Diet isn’t quite 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. In other words, a restrictive three-day plan is nothing new in the health industry.
Water weight can drop incredibly fast. Fat loss is much slower. Water weight is also easier to put back on if you are not exercising and not following a healthy diet. Again, if you are looking to lose weight quickly, but not sustain it, dropping water weight through the 3-day Military Diet may be a good option for you. For long-term success, you cannot avoid leading a healthy lifestyle through eating whole foods, exercising, sleeping, and taking care of your emotional well-being.
Women who wake up and go to bed at the same time each day have lower levels of body fat, according to a study of more than 300 women from Brigham Young University in Utah. Chaotic sleep habits cause your internal clock to go haywire, which in turn causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones like cortisol. The sweet spot? Try not to stray an hour from your usual sleep pattern, the study authors say. More than a 90-minute difference in sleep and wake times were linked to more body fat. (Tossing and turning? Check out these 100 tips to sleep better every night.)
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids. Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.
Because the Military Diet discourages substitutions, some may be led to believe that specific food choices have a “magical” effect to enhance weight loss. The truth is, there’s nothing special or unique about the combination of these foods over the three-day period. In fact, choosing different foods with similar macronutrient profiles would provide the exact results.
You’ll also notice that men seem to lose more weight than women. This is actually based on body composition. Sorry ladies, but men just naturally have a leg up on losing weight! Why? Because most men have more muscle tissue, so they are simply able to burn more calories than women. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even when the body is at rest. If you’re a woman, you can gain the benefits of additional muscle that will help you burn more calories by focusing on strength training. That will help the body weight you do have burn more calories, essentially boosting your metabolism.
^ Brand-Miller, Janette Cecile; Thomas, M.; Swan, V.; Ahmad, Z.I.; Petocz, P.; Colagiuri, S. (2003). Written at Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. "Physiological Validation of the Concept of Glycemic Load in Lean Young Adults" (PDF). The Journal of Nutrition. USA (published September 2003). 133 (9): 2728–32. doi:10.1093/jn/133.9.2728. PMID 12949357.
If you have health reasons that make you want to try it and eating bacon, eggs and steak salads every day sounds amazing, maybe you could swing it. If nothing makes you happier than a fresh piece of sourdough, or if beans are one of the protein sources you rely on, there’s no point in trying a diet that’s not going to work. (And, by the way, sourdough toast with mashed avocado for breakfast and black bean soup for lunch are really delicious and healthy.)
Being seriously committed to this type of eating, I've found it helpful to have a ketone blood tester to check on where I'm at, at different points. The breath and urine testers are a waste of money if you want accurate testing. The tester I found, and believe is the most accurate and least expensive is called Keto Mojo. It tests both ketones and glucose and if you purchase it from them, you're guaranteed to be able to purchase ketone test strips for only .99 cents, instead of the $2.00 to $7.00 each, as I've seen them listed for on the internet.
In a recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Weiss and his colleagues found that participants performed worse on high-intensity cycling and running tasks after four days on a ketogenic diet, compared to those who’d spent four days on a high-carb diet. Weiss says that the body is in a more acidic state when it’s in ketosis, which may limit its ability to perform at peak levels.
Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., R.D.N., is the co-creator of Beachbody’s 2B Mindset program. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Maryland, sits on the executive leadership team for the American Heart Association, and leads the Bruin Health Improvement Program at UCLA. Ilana acts as a nutrition consultant for several companies, including Beachbody and Whole Foods Market. At home, she is a wife and mother of two.