However, there’s little documentation that this internet-based diet originated in the U.S. military, or if it even has ties to it. There are plenty of established diet plans that promise quick weight loss—like the HMR diet—but is the Military Diet one of them? And is it actually a healthy or safe eating plan to follow? I took a hard look at the Military Diet to find out whether this seemingly faddish diet is really worth your time.
^ 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.
Some popular beliefs attached to weight loss have been shown to either have less effect on weight loss as commonly believed or are actively unhealthy. According to Harvard Health, the idea of metabolism being the "key to weight" is "part truth and part myth" as while metabolism does affect weight loss, external forces such as diet and exercise have an equal effect.[44] They also commented that the idea of changing one's rate of metabolism is under debate.[44] Diet plans in fitness magazines are also often believed to be effective, but may actually be harmful by limiting the daily intake of important calories and nutrients which can be detrimental depending on the person and are even capable of driving individuals away from weight loss.[45]
It usually takes three to four days for your body to go into ketosis because you have to use up your body's stores of glucose, i.e., sugar first, Keatley says. Any major diet change can give you some, uh, issues, and Keatley says he often sees patients who complain of IBS-like symptoms and feeling wiped out at the beginning of the diet. (The tiredness happens because you have less access to carbs, which give you quick energy, he explains.)

A systematic review in 2016 found and analysed seven randomized controlled trials of ketogenic diet in children and young people with epilepsy.[2] The trials were done among children and young people for whom drugs failed to control their seizures, and only one of the trials compared a group assigned to ketogenic diet with a group not assigned to one.[16] The other trials compared types of diets or ways of introducing them to make them more tolerable.[2] Nearly 40% of the children and young people had half or fewer seizures with the diet compared with the group not assigned to the diet. Only about 10% were still on the diet after a few years.[2] Adverse effects such as hunger and loss of energy in that trial were common, with about 30% experiencing constipation.[16]


Thank you for taking such a responsible viewpoint in this article. I think so many people and websites nowadays are talking about these diets, like the military diet, as a great way to drop weight quickly, but without discussion the repercussions or downsides to them. I don’t think a diet like this is healthy at all, and while it may be handy if you desperately need to drop a few pounds in a few days, I just don’t think it’s a healthy thing to do at all. I think it’s far better to maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet 24/7/365 instead.
If your fitness goals include a flatter belly and stronger core, you're going to need a solid plan, expert guidance, and a little outside motivation. Our 30 Days to a Flat Belly plan has all three! This comprehensive workout plan will give you results you want without a pricey gym membership; you can do these workouts anywhere — and they're all 30 minutes or less.

Weight loss occurs when the body is expending more energy in work and metabolism than it is absorbing from food or other nutrients. It will then use stored reserves from fat or muscle, gradually leading to weight loss. For athletes seeking to improve performance or to meet required weight classification for participation in a sport, it is not uncommon to seek additional weight loss even if they are already at their ideal body weight. Others may be driven to lose weight to achieve an appearance they consider more attractive. However, being underweight is associated with health risks such as difficulty fighting off infection, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, trouble regulating body temperature and even increased risk of death.[3]

Like most fad diets, the 3 Day Military Diet is extremely rigid with strict rules. Though it doesn't specifically rule out entire food groups, as a result of the rules most foods are off-limits. It therefore lacks variety. Though it doesn't promote unlimited consumption of anything, it does promote unhealthy, processed foods that are high in sugar, fat, and cholesterol. These include ice cream, hot dogs, and cheese.
Carbohydrates are a touchy subject: while some blame them for all fat gain, it’s the type of carbs you eat that’s key. A 2011 study out of the University of Alabama found that a diet that slightly cut back on carbs, and which comprised mostly low-GI carbohydrates, lost more deep abdominal fat than those who ate a lower-fat diet. GI stands for glycemic index, a measure of how fast carbohydrates supply your body with energy: high-GI foods make you spike then crash, while low-GI foods provide a slow burn.
But again, there are very few solid studies that deem apple cider vinegar as a magical weight loss elixir. The drink can, however, be a decent addition to your routine if you’re already eating healthy and exercising frequently. Some research shows that people who sip on ACV may experience smaller blood sugar spikes after they eat, which can help you manage cravings. If you can stand the taste and want to try it, just be sure to dilute a tablespoon or two in 8 ounces of water, since ACV has a high acidity that can burn your throat and damage your teeth.
"One of the hardest parts of losing weight is maintaining the lifestyle changes you’ve made. It’s difficult to stay motivated all the time, especially if you’ve slipped up along the way. But don’t let this affect your end goal. If you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, ask a friend to join you for your workout and then afterwards cook something healthy for dinner together."
In this Military Diet vlog, learn in detail about the experience of Charmaine. Although she struggles with hunger throughout the diet, she’s happy with her results. Charmaine reports that she’s hoping to lose weight for an upcoming trip so that she can feel more confident in her vacation outfits. In addition to following the diet, Charmaine hits the gym and completes workouts even though she does feel tired. She feels that exercising has contributed to her success. Throughout the vlog footage, she shares images of her meals and talks about how she’s feeling. In the end, she lost 5 pounds! Charmaine reminds us all to continue to follow a healthy diet afterwards so that you don’t gain the weight back.
While there are studies that show the health and medical benefits of weight loss, a study in 2005 of around 3000 Finns over an 18-year period showed that weight loss from dieting can result in increased mortality, while those who maintained their weight fared the best.[6][8][27] Similar conclusion is drawn by other studies,[6][28] and although other studies suggest that intentional weight loss has a small benefit for individuals classified as unhealthy, it is associated with slightly increased mortality for healthy individuals and the slightly overweight but not obese.[7] This may reflect the loss of subcutaneous fat and beneficial mass from organs and muscle in addition to visceral fat when there is a sudden and dramatic weight loss.[8]

When the body is expending more energy than it is consuming (e.g. when exercising), the body's cells rely on internally stored energy sources, such as complex carbohydrates and fats, for energy. The first source to which the body turns is glycogen (by glycogenolysis). Glycogen is a complex carbohydrate, 65% of which is stored in skeletal muscles and the remainder in the liver (totaling about 2,000 kcal in the whole body). It is created from the excess of ingested macronutrients, mainly carbohydrates. When glycogen is nearly depleted, the body begins lipolysis, the mobilization and catabolism of fat stores for energy. In this process, fats, obtained from adipose tissue, or fat cells, are broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, which can be used to generate energy.[25] The primary by-products of metabolism are carbon dioxide and water; carbon dioxide is expelled through the respiratory system.

Very low levels of thyroid hormone usually indicate an autoimmune reaction to the thyroid gland itself. This means you’ll have to take thyroid hormone supplements orally, usually the stable form T4 (Levaxin), which your doctor can prescribe for you. Your body will transform this into the active T3 hormone when necessary. The supplement dose should be adjusted so that you reach normal hormone levels (TSH, T3, T4) and sufficiently alleviate symptoms – though a few people feel best when keeping TSH slightly below normal.
Carb cycling lets you tailor carbohydrate intake to your needs. For instance, the American Council on Exercise points out that to lose weight, you might try a plan of five low-carb days and two high-carb days each week. If improving muscle mass is your goal, reverse that ratio — five high-carb days interspersed with two low-carb days, matching the high-carb days to your most intense workout days.
We reached out to two experts to see what they thought — and if the diet works. "It’s a low calorie diet that includes typical American foods," said Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, an adjunct professor of Nutrition at American University. "It’s nutritionally deficient, but not as crazy as some (i.e. juice fasts)." When it comes to the meal plan, she's not a fan. "It’s too low in many nutrients," she explains. Day 2 alone is "so low in fiber, iron, calcium and other nutrients, yet it manages to hit the daily sodium max. (Actually, most health authorities recommend 2,300 mg as a max, so this diet exceeds it.) Sure, the other four days offer more calories and nutrients, but even so, you’re still skimping."
Very low levels of thyroid hormone usually indicate an autoimmune reaction to the thyroid gland itself. This means you’ll have to take thyroid hormone supplements orally, usually the stable form T4 (Levaxin), which your doctor can prescribe for you. Your body will transform this into the active T3 hormone when necessary. The supplement dose should be adjusted so that you reach normal hormone levels (TSH, T3, T4) and sufficiently alleviate symptoms – though a few people feel best when keeping TSH slightly below normal.

Variations on the Johns Hopkins protocol are common. The initiation can be performed using outpatient clinics rather than requiring a stay in hospital. Often there is no initial fast (fasting increases the risk of acidosis and hypoglycaemia and weight loss). Rather than increasing meal sizes over the three-day initiation, some institutions maintain meal size but alter the ketogenic ratio from 2:1 to 4:1.[9]


One of the most important things to take into consideration when either trying to lose or put on weight is output versus input. It is important to know the amount of energy your body is using every day, so that your intake fits the needs of one's personal weight goal. Someone wanting to lose weight would want a smaller energy intake than what they put out. There is increasing research-based evidence that low-fat vegetarian diets consistently lead to healthy weight loss and management, a decrease in diabetic symptoms[23] as well as improved cardiac health.[24]
"Eating too much sugar, high doses of unhealthy oils and fats, stress, and lack of exercise can all cause the injury that leads to inflammation," explains Pines. So if you're doing those things often, it's going to ramp up the amount of time your body is inflamed—just like when you get a nasty bruise from repeatedly hitting the same area of your body. Pines says the biggest clue that you might be having a problem is, well, your belly. "If you've been 'dieting' and you still have that belly bulge, look at nutrition labels to see how much sugar or sodium is sneaking in," she suggests. She also suggests adding inflammation-busting foods into your diet, like a cup of blueberries in oatmeal, or a half-cup of edamame with lunch. 
The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet.[57] This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.[55]
Lunch on day 1 is packed with protein, fulfilling about 60% of your daily protein intake requirements just in the tuna. The tuna also contributes other vitamins including Vitamin A, B-12, B-6 and minerals including magnesium and iron. Vitamin B-12 is an important vitamin often found in fish that plays an important role in the creation of new cells. It’s also important for nerve function. (1) The bread offers carbohydrates and plenty of fiber.
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.
Ketogenic diets are, however, a well-established way to help control Type 2 diabetes, and the plan has for nearly 100 years been used to reduce instances of childhood epileptic seizures. Some scientists also think the high-fat diet may hold promise for staving off Alzheimer's, and there are some early indications it might help improve certain cancer treatment outcomes when used in conjunction with drugs. (Harper is part of a research team investigating how the diet might help boost treatment among people with breast cancer.)
Tasmin recently returned home from university 12 pounds heavier! Her experience is typical of the returning college student who’s gained their “freshman fifteen.” She decided to give the 3 Day Military Diet a try to see if it would help her lose some of the extra weight. Follow her journey through this video. In the vlog, you’ll see how she’s feeling, how she did with the meals and of course – her results! Tasmin was upbeat throughout the diet, saying she powered through it even though it was a bit tough at times. As you’ll see, she exercised while on the diet and also spread out some of the foods, using some parts of meals as snacks. She did well on the diet and lost a total of 6 pounds!
The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, there may be complications.[27] These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery.[27] Common but easily treatable short-term side effects include constipation, low-grade acidosis and hypoglycaemia if there is an initial fast. Raised levels of lipids in the blood affect up to 60% of children[37] and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%.[27] This can be treated by changes to the fat content of the diet, such as from saturated fats towards polyunsaturated fats, and, if persistent, by lowering the ketogenic ratio.[37] Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.[3]

A study from Canada’s McMaster University (partly funded by  Dairy Farmers of Canada) put women on several different diets (lower protein, low dairy; lower protein, medium dairy; higher protein, high dairy) and found they all lost the same amount of weight — but that the higher-protein, high-dairy group lost the most belly fat while also gaining and holding onto the most muscle mass. “It seems… increasing calcium and protein in the diet may help to further promote loss of fat from the worst storage area in the body,” said Andrea Josse, lead author of the study.

When you eat foods high in carbohydrates and fat, your body naturally produces glucose. Carbohydrates are the easiest thing for the body to process, and therefore it will use them first – resulting in the excess fats to be stored immediately. In turn, this causes weight gain and health problems that are associated with high fat, high carbohydrate diets (NOT keto).

The Johns Hopkins Hospital protocol for initiating the ketogenic diet has been widely adopted.[42] It involves a consultation with the patient and their caregivers and, later, a short hospital admission.[18] Because of the risk of complications during ketogenic diet initiation, most centres begin the diet under close medical supervision in the hospital.[9]
Digestion is sneaking its way into the spotlight more and more these days, and for good reason—it does a heck of a lot of work. Think of it like a plumbing system: when food makes its way through your body, the digestive system works to turn calories into fuel you can burn for energy, or uses them to build the body's tissues, says Pines. Along the way, that food is also broken down so your body can absorb important nutrients and eliminate toxins and waste. When digestion is poor—i.e. there's a backup from undigested food or the pipes are leaking due to food sensitivities, the pipes won't work properly. As a result, "vitamins and nutrients aren't sufficiently absorbed, you become tired and bloated, your metabolism slows, and your body hangs onto belly fat." Once again, the fix to your problem relies in good ole' fiber and probiotics. These foods are a great place to start.
Basically, whatever you want — but you're only allotted 1,500 calories per day, so if you want to feel full, your best bet is sticking to healthy fare. The advantage is that instead of limiting yourself to the menu laid out for you on the first three days, you can divvy those calories up however you'd like. You can fill up on a salad, eat plenty of small fruit snacks throughout the day, or focus on your proteins. It's up to you and whatever you decide to make of it.

Based on calories, you need to cut out or burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound . Multiply that by 10 pounds, and you’re talking about cutting out 35,000 calories in a week. That’s quite a bit! If we consider your eating habits, most people consume about 2000 to 2500 calories every day. On the Military Diet, you’re cutting back to about 1200 calories a day on the 3 Day diet, and probably around 1500-1700 calories on the 4 days off. That means just in calorie consumption, you’re cutting out about 1000 per day during the restricted portion of the diet.
The low glycaemic index treatment (LGIT)[48] is an attempt to achieve the stable blood glucose levels seen in children on the classic ketogenic diet while using a much less restrictive regimen. The hypothesis is that stable blood glucose may be one of the mechanisms of action involved in the ketogenic diet,[9] which occurs because the absorption of the limited carbohydrates is slowed by the high fat content.[5] Although it is also a high-fat diet (with approximately 60% calories from fat),[5] the LGIT allows more carbohydrate than either the classic ketogenic diet or the modified Atkins diet, approximately 40–60 g per day.[3] However, the types of carbohydrates consumed are restricted to those that have a glycaemic index lower than 50. Like the modified Atkins diet, the LGIT is initiated and maintained at outpatient clinics and does not require precise weighing of food or intensive dietitian support. Both are offered at most centres that run ketogenic diet programmes, and in some centres they are often the primary dietary therapy for adolescents.[9]

Weight loss can be a major challenge today because of the abundance of food available and a more sedentary lifestyle. But there are strategies people can use to reach and maintain a healthy weight, including choosing eating patterns that are sustainable over the long term, adding in regular exercise, and focusing on restarting their efforts if they go off track. More »

I've learned that if I am around food for long enough, I will eat it. It doesn’t matter if I am hungry or if the food even looks good; I'll just start nibbling out of habit. When my husband would get home late from work, I would typically eat a dinner by myself and then eat more with him when he got home. I tried to sit with him at the table and not eat, but eventually, I would start picking at his plate. Over time, I realized that I needed to sit either across the table or on a nearby couch to avoid the thoughtless habit. He didn’t mind either way and moving away from the food actually allowed me to focus more on him.
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