Early studies reported high success rates: in one study in 1925, 60% of patients became seizure-free, and another 35% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. These studies generally examined a cohort of patients recently treated by the physician (what is known as a retrospective study) and selected patients who had successfully maintained the dietary restrictions. However, these studies are difficult to compare to modern trials. One reason is that these older trials suffered from selection bias, as they excluded patients who were unable to start or maintain the diet and thereby selected from patients who would generate better results. In an attempt to control for this bias, modern study design prefers a prospective cohort (the patients in the study are chosen before therapy begins) in which the results are presented for all patients regardless of whether they started or completed the treatment (known as intent-to-treat analysis).
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.”
Luckily, exercise can help spur things along when it comes to that pesky stomach fat. “Visceral fat responds well when… [you] start exercising and watching your calories and what you eat,” Harris-Pincus says. And while endless crunches aren’t your ticket to a flat stomach, it is still important to train your ab muscles. “Everything radiates from the center of your body – your balance, your posture, your functional movement,” says Joe Ardito, founder of Fit Crush NYC. “You can perform better when you have a strong core.”
You don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt in the making to enjoy some serious belly-slimming results from hitting the track from time to time. Even a moderate-rate jog a few times a week can blast through that belly fat; in fact, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that, over the course of an eight-month study, overweight adult study subjects who jogged 12 miles a week lost the most belly fat and burned 67 percent more calories than participants who did an equivalent amount of resistance exercise, or a combination of cardio and resistance work.
A 2014 Harvard study found that men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, and other studies have shown similar levels of success when guys hit the gym to cut down on fat. The implication: Guys can cut belly fat most efficiently with weight training.
4. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans (including soy). Studies show that these plant-based disease-fighters make up only 10% of the calories in the American diet. Plant-based foods are high in water and fiber and essential vitamins and antioxidants, yet very low in calories. Diets high in plant-based foods play a key role in the prevention of diseases, including obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Bonnie J. Brehm, Randy J. Seeley, Stephen R. Daniels, and David A. D’Alessio, “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Vol 88, No 4; January 14, 2009. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2002-021480.
And, of course, the low-cal nature of the military diet can dangerous, says Amidor. This is especially true if you plan to exercise: Attempting to do high-intensity workouts on such a low-calorie diet could potentially cause you to become weak, light-headed, and fatigued—so low-intensity cardio or walking is your safest option during this diet, says Allen.
Instagram user @healthyhappydays_ was happy with her results, though. "I found it easy to stick to as it's only three days," she told us. "You know you're going to see results if you [are] 100% committed to it... If you're feeling bloated, especially after a big weekend or event, it's a good diet to do to get back to shape in a short space of time. That's the reason why I did it after being indulgent over [the holidays]." Because she typically sticks to a vegetarian or vegan diet, she substituted out two veggie sausages instead of the hot dogs and the meat.
As with other types of extremely low-calorie diets, regaining the weight is almost guaranteed as soon as you stop the diet. “My own advice,” says Rothenberg: “Don't compromise for a big event! That often leads to weight gain and binge eating. If you want to change your diet, change your lifestyle. Studies actually show that ‘safe weight loss’ results in 1 to 2 lbs per week only,” citing recommendations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.” And that still is hard work,” she adds. Fad diets like the Military Diet put you at risk for regaining weight that is lost from muscle and water in particular.
“Crash diets, also called meal-replacement programs, have become increasingly fashionable in the past few years,” said lead author Dr. Jennifer Rayner, Oxford Centre for Magnetic Resonance, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. “The metabolic improvements with a very low-calorie diet, such as a reduction in liver fat and reversal of diabetes, would be expected to improve heart function. Instead, heart function got worse in the first week before starting to improve.”
If you want to sip your way to a faster metabolism, pour yourself a cup of green tea. The beverage is filled with powerful antioxidants that can help fight inflammation, burn fat, and increase energy. According to one study, drinking five cups a day could help you lose twice as much weight, mainly in your midsection. And drinking green tea could also reduce risk of Parkinson's disease, as well as ovarian, colorectal, skin, and prostate cancers.
The longer answer, according to MilitaryDiet.co, is that it “comprises carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, all of which are needed for optimal body function.” At least in theory. But the short answer is that you're seriously limiting your calorie consumption. As mentioned, moderately active adult women need about 1,800-2,000 calories a day, so by following the military diet plan, you're effectively cutting your calories by nearly half. And though you're indulging with some ice cream, most of the foods on the menu are ultimately pretty lean as well.
When I was at my highest weight, I had a full-blown peanut butter addiction. I would eat jars at a time, and my favorite food was Reese’s peanut butter cups. I had absolutely no control of myself when I ate any of it. When I decided that I no longer wanted to be heavy, I made a point to completely stop eating anything with peanuts or peanut butter in it.