That’s why many health experts are concerned about people on the keto diet, especially those who try it without the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist. Doctors say that high-fat diets like this one may raise cholesterol levels, and some studies suggest that they increase the risk of diabetes. Some have even called it a “cardiologist’s nightmare.”
As a self-described “nutrition nerd,” I couldn’t help but analyze the first three days of menus provided using my nutrient analysis software. You’ll see the daily totals at the bottom of each day, and while I can’t describe the intake as “good”, “ideal” or “healthy,” the data was slightly better than I expected. (Or perhaps, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this very odd combination of foods!)
Your body consumes calories, even while you’re resting. A sedentary person (no exercise) burns an average of about 1600 calories in a day. These calories, however, are usually replaced with what you do eat. Through the first 3 Days of the diet you’ll eat less than what you consume, which means there’s an additional deficit of about 400 calories per day. So, without exercising, you can expect to cut out 1400 calories per day during the first 3 days of the Military Diet. Add in some walking and dedicate a bit of time to exercise, and you’ll eliminate another 600 calories or more! Based on these numbers, you’d cut out about 2000 calories per day, resulting in a weight loss of less than 3 pounds during the first 3 days of the Military Diet.
^ 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.
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.
When you are on a carbohydrate-rich diet, your body can store up to 1600-2000 calories worth of energy in muscles, blood and in the liver. Once these are depleted, you are out of fast energy sources. Now, when you are running on the keto diet, you are fueled by ketone bodies. This means you are using fat as the main energy source. And you don’t run low on blood glucose.
We weren't joking when we said gut flora was important—when it's out of whack, the way your body breaks down calories is also impacted and it's all to do with two kinds of fat cells: white and brown. The white ones cause obesity and insulin resistance when there are too many hanging around, and insulin resistance makes it super difficult to burn fat despite working out like a #boss. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, protect the body against excess weight, and the more you have, the more calories you can burn. So the goal is to have white fat cells turn into brown ones as often as possible. That happens when your gut flora is in check (with that balanced diet we talked about above), you exercise, and get enough sleep, as melatonin cues up the production of brown fat cells.
Craving something sweet? Instead of fattening cookies or cake, reach for fresh figs. Thanks to their dense consistency and high amount of filling fiber, they can slow the release of sugar into your blood. Pair with ricotta cheese, melons, and prosciutto to make a satisfying fruit salad, or use as a topping on whole-wheat pizza with crumbled feta and walnuts.
After initiation, the child regularly visits the hospital outpatient clinic where he or she is seen by the dietitian and neurologist, and various tests and examinations are performed. These are held every three months for the first year and then every six months thereafter. Infants under one year old are seen more frequently, with the initial visit held after just two to four weeks. A period of minor adjustments is necessary to ensure consistent ketosis is maintained and to better adapt the meal plans to the patient. This fine-tuning is typically done over the telephone with the hospital dietitian and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet. Urinary ketone levels are checked daily to detect whether ketosis has been achieved and to confirm that the patient is following the diet, though the level of ketones does not correlate with an anticonvulsant effect. This is performed using ketone test strips containing nitroprusside, which change colour from buff-pink to maroon in the presence of acetoacetate (one of the three ketone bodies).
The best way to understand and implement Step 1 is to skip the boxed, pre-made foods, and shop the perimeter of the grocery store. By shopping just the perimeter of the grocery store you’ll pick up organic fruits and veggies, lean protein from the butcher and freshly baked bread from the store bakery. You’re only buying fresh food. Of course this is more metaphor than rule. Organic pasta, rice and beans are usually found in isles as well are organic whole wheat flour and spices. Be sure to choose these ingredients in the purest forms, pick up the organic brown rice, not the box of rice mixture with the spices. The only ingredient on the label should be “brown rice.”
Details of fasting practices differ. Eastern Orthodox Christians fast during specified fasting seasons of the year, which include not only the better-known Great Lent, but also fasts on every Wednesday and Friday (except on special holidays), together with extended fasting periods before Christmas (the Nativity Fast), after Easter (the Apostles Fast) and in early August (the Dormition Fast). Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) generally fast for 24 hours on the first Sunday of each month. Like Muslims, they refrain from all drinking and eating unless they are children or are physically unable to fast. Fasting is also a feature of ascetic traditions in religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Mahayana traditions that follow the Brahma's Net Sutra may recommend that the laity fast "during the six days of fasting each month and the three months of fasting each year" [Brahma's Net Sutra, minor precept 30]. Members of the Baha'i Faith observe a Nineteen Day Fast from sunrise to sunset during March each year.
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. Similar conclusion is drawn by other studies, 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. 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.
For patients who benefit, half achieve a seizure reduction within five days (if the diet starts with an initial fast of one to two days), three-quarters achieve a reduction within two weeks, and 90% achieve a reduction within 23 days. If the diet does not begin with a fast, the time for half of the patients to achieve an improvement is longer (two weeks) but the long-term seizure reduction rates are unaffected. Parents are encouraged to persist with the diet for at least three months before any final consideration is made regarding efficacy.
The website LiveItBeautiful.com states, “The military diet plan is designed to help you lose weight in just three days, which can affect some people adversely…. [S]ide effects or health conditions you can experience with the military diet plan include: dehydration, headaches, weakness, irritability, fatigue, muscle loss, and irregular menstruation.”
A diet that’s low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lost—and especially when belly fat shrank—the arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you don’t have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key.
If losing up to 10 pounds isn't enough, people have followed the diet cycle for a full month. They repeat the cycle of 3 days on followed by 4 days off for a month. The Military Diet results on this plan are obviously much greater if you do multiple cycles- and you could conceivably lose 20-30 pounds if you do repeat the diet several times over. If choosing to go this route, make sure during the 4 days off the diet, you are eating a diet full of nutrients and vitamins that you may not be getting enough of during the 3 days on the strict regime. Another alternative is to give your body a bit more of a rest between cycles- and subsequently perform the 3 Day Military Diet once a month. This will also boost your military diet results, but more slowly and over a longer period of time.
And like all crash-diets known to man, Alpert says the military diet is meant to make only a short-term impact instead of teaching positive eating habits that can be sustained for a long, healthy life. As a result, she says it's very likely participants will gain back any weight lost shortly after concluding the diet. (Really. You should stop restrictive dieting.)