There’s some debate on this. For example, can coffee help you lose weight by raising your metabolism? I’ll go with: unlikely. Any effect of caffeine to your metabolic rate isn’t enough to make a substantial impact[6]. If anything, it might act as an appetite suppressor[7]. Which isn’t nothing. But don’t count on it to raise your resting caloric expenditure like magic.
Pinners, bloggers and YouTube vlogs are driving this trend forward with viral before-and-after pictures showcasing impressive (and often hard to believe) changes. Devotees of the diet consume 1,100 to 1,400 calories a day in the form of so-called “fat-burning” food combinations like hot dogs and bananas, and tuna and toast. (Yes, we said hot dogs.) It’s a one-size-fits-all plan, so athletic men and women are going to dine on the same grub as their more sedentary peers. But is this really a healthy way to lose weight? We got to the bottom of this much-talked-about plan.

While some report that they look forward to doing the diet again — "I wasn't hungry... just lacking energy," one user wrote — others preferred to find a diet that kept them feeling more full. Mom of three @sweatherly816 also gave it a shot. "I wanted to see how much I could lose, and I wanted to get a jump start on a healthier me," she said. "I lost 7lbs 3oz in the three days, which I was pretty proud of." She found it difficult — "It is a hard challenge, you have to drink plenty of water to stay full" — but ultimately was pleased with her results.
"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. 
Again, there’s an easy short answer: Yes. By drastically limiting your calorie intake, your body is burning more than it’s taking in, and you’ll shed pounds quickly, possibly even that 10 pounds in one week that others who've tried the diet have claimed. However, the diet itself is only designed to last one week. If you're looking to get a jump start on your weight loss journey, it can be a good place to begin. But if you're looking to make healthy changes in your life, longer-term solutions might be the better fit.
While there are probably plenty of pre-made bean and veggie soup options that just need a few minutes to heat through on the stovetop, making your own soup is really easy—and a great idea for your health. Homemade soups are much lower in sodium – about 100 milligrams or less per 2-cup serving. By contrast, 2 cups of many canned soups contain a blood-pressure-busting 1,200 milligrams or more, a worrisome amount considering that health experts recommend consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium for the entire day. This is also a great way to use up all those leftover vegetables in your crisper—pretty much anything works in this soup.
Many people claim success with this diet, but nutrition experts caution against following the plan for a long-term period. Starvation or fasting diets have been debated often, and support is still anecdotal. While this diet may meet your initial weight loss goals, it's not a long-term, sustainable lifestyle (the website itself says that it's about quick fixes and providing support in a weight loss emergency).
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!
Dinner on day 2 is also heavy on meat, this time in the form of hot dogs, which are a source of protein and fat. You’ll also get Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-2, iron, calcium and sodium from the hot dogs. The broccoli, carrots and banana are where you’ll get lots more vitamins and minerals- including all the Vitamin C and A that you need for the day. In addition, they contain potassium, iron, calcium, fiber and Vitamin B-6. Don’t forget your ice cream!
^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.

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."
Just before her birthday, Rocio decided to lose a few pounds by following the Military Diet. Using an old photocopy her mom had given her from years before, Rocio got started with the diet. Rocio shares with viewers that her mom has been using the diet for years, and had encouraged her to try it. So, although there’s been a lot of hype recently about the diet, it’s by no means new. You’ll notice that her Military Diet plan varies from the one we’ve listed- probably due to the fact that there are various versions of the diet floating around online. Rocio was able to lose 7 pounds while on the diet. She reports that she didn’t feel hungry; but she thinks that drinking water and staying strong mentally helped her. However, due to a birthday cake binge, she gained back 2 pounds after completing the diet. That’s an important reminder to all of us: avoid binge-eating after completing the diet or the pounds will come right back on! Take a look at her experience.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
Rachel is a writer, Montessori teacher, and mother, happily living with her family in Guatemala where fresh coffee is always ready. Professionally, she enjoys providing her audiences with thought-provoking articles about health and fitness, early childhood education, and parenting. When she's not busy meeting deadlines, Rachel, a former long-distance runner, still makes fitness and health a priority in her life. She enjoys concocting healthy meals in the kitchen, going for long walks and chasing after her 3 young children.
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.[9] 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[18] and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet.[3] 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.[18] 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).[44]
“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the co-author of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. But considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”
Low-fat diets involve the reduction of the percentage of fat in one's diet. Calorie consumption is reduced because less fat is consumed. Diets of this type include NCEP Step I and II. A meta-analysis of 16 trials of 2–12 months' duration found that low-fat diets (without intentional restriction of caloric intake) resulted in average weight loss of 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) over habitual eating.[1]
Low-calorie diets usually produce an energy deficit of 500–1,000 calories per day, which can result in a 0.5 to 1 kilogram (1.1 to 2.2 pounds) weight loss per week. One of the most commonly used low-calorie diets is Weight Watchers. The National Institutes of Health reviewed 34 randomized controlled trials to determine the effectiveness of low-calorie diets. They found that these diets lowered total body mass by 8% in the short term, over 3–12 months.[1] Women doing low-calorie diets should have at least 1,000 calories per day and men should have approximately 1,200 calories per day. These caloric intake values vary depending on additional factors, such as age and weight.[1]
A study published in American Psychologist found that short-term dieting involving "severe restriction of calorie intake" does not lead to "sustained improvements in weight and health for the majority of individuals".[4] Other studies have found that the average individual maintains some weight loss after dieting.[5] Weight loss by dieting, while of benefit to those classified as unhealthy, may slightly increase the mortality rate for individuals who are otherwise healthy.[6][7][8]
The 2003 research indicated that exercise is a top weapon against visceral fat, backed up by a 2011 study which found that aerobic exercise is basically a magic bullet. Aerobic exercise is known to most people as cardio — activities such as running and cycling, as opposed to resistance training (where you lift heavy stuff around). While participants in the study worked fairly hard (jogging 20km per week at a high intensity), the researchers said lower-intensity but longer workouts should have similar benefits.
The ketogenic diet tries to bring carbohydrates down to less than 5 percent of a person’s daily caloric intake – which means eliminating most grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes and sweets. Instead, it replaces those calories with fat. That fat is turned into ketone bodies, which are an alternative energy source: besides glucose derived from carbohydrates, ketones from fat are the only fuel the brain can use.
Our increasingly slothful lifestyles are partly to blame for skyrocketing obesity rates, so it’s no surprise that being more active is a simple fix for belly fat. In 2003, a first-of-its-kind study from Duke University showed that sedentary adults accumulated abdominal fat surprisingly quickly — and that sedentary women stacked on fat more visceral fat than sedentary men, even though they added less fat overall.
Military diet-approved foods aren't what you'd typically think of as "diet" fare, including hot dogs, toast, ice cream, and canned tuna, says registered dietitian Brooke Alpert. See the full breakdown of the diet meals below. These same meals are prescribed for everyone observing the diet and are carefully planned out so you don't overindulge or stray off the diet (since you can only eat the foods recommended below), says Alpert.

Going gluten-free may be a popular trend, but unless you're actually gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease, plenty of reasons exist to continue eating whole grains. They're a tasty way to fill up on both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help you feel full for longer and keep bowel movements regular (oats, barley, and bulgur are especially high sources). Whole grains can also help prevent weight gain: in one study, women who ate whole grains like wheat germ and dark bread had a 49% lower risk of "major" weight gain over time.
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]

Sure, you can lose weight quickly. There are plenty of fad diets that work to shed pounds rapidly -- while leaving you feeling hungry and deprived. But what good is losing weight only to regain it? To keep pounds off permanently, it's best to lose weight slowly. And many experts say you can do that without going on a "diet." Instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
There are no days off. The plan actually requires you to restrict your food intake all the time. The site says that you have three days "on" and 4 days "off", but on your off days you are limited to 1,500 calories. Healthy food recommendations are provided for your off days. But anyone who can eat healthy portion-controlled meals doesn't need a special hot dog and ice cream program for weight loss. They should just stick to the nutritious diet they're already on.
Big salad of baby greens with Pritikin-Style Thousand Island Dressing, which has less than one-quarter the calories and sodium of regular Thousand Island Dressing. What a gift for your heart and waistline! To make dressing, combine thoroughly the following: ¾ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, ½ cup fat-free sour cream, ¾ cup unsweetened, low-sodium ketchup (good brand is Westbrae), ½ teaspoon oregano, and ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in children increases the risk of slowed or stunted growth, bone fractures and kidney stones.[3] The diet reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is important for childhood growth. Like many anticonvulsant drugs, the ketogenic diet has an adverse effect on bone health. Many factors may be involved such as acidosis and suppressed growth hormone.[37] About 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet will develop kidney stones (compared with one in several thousand for the general population). A class of anticonvulsants known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (topiramate, zonisamide) are known to increase the risk of kidney stones, but the combination of these anticonvulsants and the ketogenic diet does not appear to elevate the risk above that of the diet alone.[38] The stones are treatable and do not justify discontinuation of the diet.[38] Johns Hopkins Hospital now gives oral potassium citrate supplements to all ketogenic diet patients, resulting in a sevenfold decrease in the incidence of kidney stones.[39] However, this empiric usage has not been tested in a prospective controlled trial.[9] Kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) is associated with the diet for four reasons:[38]
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions.[18] Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.[3]
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
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