Nope — and it’s not the diet’s only name. Some know it by the Navy diet, the Army diet, or even the ice cream diet, since the three day menu allots for at least a few bites of vanilla ice cream each evening. Personally, we like to think that it’s called the military diet because it takes military-level self-control to stick to the restrictive meal plan.
First reported in 2003, the idea of using a form of the Atkins diet to treat epilepsy came about after parents and patients discovered that the induction phase of the Atkins diet controlled seizures. The ketogenic diet team at Johns Hopkins Hospital modified the Atkins diet by removing the aim of achieving weight loss, extending the induction phase indefinitely, and specifically encouraging fat consumption. Compared with the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet (MAD) places no limit on calories or protein, and the lower overall ketogenic ratio (approximately 1:1) does not need to be consistently maintained by all meals of the day. The MAD does not begin with a fast or with a stay in hospital and requires less dietitian support than the ketogenic diet. Carbohydrates are initially limited to 10 g per day in children or 20 g per day in adults, and are increased to 20–30 g per day after a month or so, depending on the effect on seizure control or tolerance of the restrictions. Like the ketogenic diet, the MAD requires vitamin and mineral supplements and children are carefully and periodically monitored at outpatient clinics.
Once you’ve completed the 3 Day Military Diet plan, it’s best if you limit yourself to 1500 calories a day for the next 4 days. Other dieters follow the military diet 4 days off rule, which means that after 4 days of following a 1500 calorie diet, they do the 3 Day Military Diet again. So, what does a 1500 calorie diet look like? Here are some ideas for how you can plan your meals for your 4 days off:
Science backs these ideas up when it comes shedding belly fat: In one study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers had overweight men and women follow a high-protein diet (30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat) or a high-carb diet (15 percent protein, 55 percent carbs, and 30 percent fat). After one year of weight loss and maintenance, they found that the high-protein group experienced a 21 percent greater weight loss and 27 percent greater body fat loss on average than the high-carb group.
Ranging from just-juice to just-tea cleanses, these typically short-term plans can be dangerous. “Detoxes and cleanses are usually low in calories, protein, and fiber, all nutrients that our bodies need to function,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD, who is in private practice in New York City. “These plans leave you feeling hungry and cranky, causing a rebound food binge once you stop the detox.”
Christopher D. Gardner, PhD; Alexandre Kiazand, MD; Sofiya Alhassan, PhD; Soowon Kim, PhD; Randall S. Stafford, MD, PhD; Raymond R. Balise, PhD; Helena C. Kraemer, PhD; Abby C. King, PhD, “Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women,” JAMA. 2007;297(9):969-977. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/art icle.aspx?articleid=205916.
When people tell me that they have a sugar addiction, I tell them to narrow it down. I used to eat anything and everything that looked sweet and tasty. I knew I had to cut back in that area so I realized that I am a chocolate lover, first and foremost. Berry tarts, gummy bears, and sprinkles won’t ever do it for me the same way chocolate does. Once I discovered this, I found it extremely easy to pass on these things and not be tempted by them. However, if I'm faced with good chocolate, I usually decide it’s totally worth it.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this type of diet is the potential for weight loss, given that currently over 70 percent of the United States population is either overweight or obese, according to the NIDDK. The NIDDK reports that people who initially lost 15 to 25 percent of their body weight within six months might be able to maintain a 5 percent weight loss over a period of four years. (2) The catch here is that exercise and permanent lifestyle changes must be made for such effects to stick — and there’s no evidence the military diet leads to sustainable healthy habits that result in maintainable weight loss.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, feels similarly concerned. "A restrictive diet that does not promote the nutritional value of foods and is only focused on calories, such as the Military Diet, may promote weight loss at the expense of health," she says. "This diet is not sustainable and any weight loss will most likely be regained quickly." She even cautions that the diet may ultimately lead to weight gain down the road. "A drastic reduction in calories will promote weight loss, however restricting calories this low may promote a loss of both lean body mass (muscle mass) as well as fat mass, which makes it easier to regain the weight as soon as you return to normal eating habits."
A website called TheMilitaryDiet.com offers the full menu for three days of dieting. It’s important that you eat exactly what the diet instructs on those three days, according to the website, although there is a substitutions list for those who don’t like the suggested foods. This is important, according to the site, because the diet is designed to “kick start your metabolism and promote fat burning.” Unfortunately, no scientific studies can back up the claim that certain foods can boost your metabolism.
The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, there may be complications. These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery. 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 and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%. 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. Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.
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.
Here's something else most people probably don't know: Fidgeting is good for you. It's considered a nonexercise physical activity, and it's an important way to burn energy. You get more health benefits if, in addition to exercising, you are a more fidgety, more active person the rest of the day. This means gesturing while you're talking, tapping your foot, just moving around.
Honestly? We don't know. While TheMilitaryDiet.com offers plenty of information, including a section with frequently asked questions, blog, and alternative meal plans for vegetarians, there are no authors, experts, or webpage owners listed. And while the name implies a military connection, the page doesn't actually claim any ties to the armed forces. (MensHealth.com reached out to the website for more information and will update if and when we hear back.)
Around this time, Bernarr Macfadden, an American exponent of physical culture, popularised the use of fasting to restore health. His disciple, the osteopathic physician Dr. Hugh William Conklin of Battle Creek, Michigan, began to treat his epilepsy patients by recommending fasting. Conklin conjectured that epileptic seizures were caused when a toxin, secreted from the Peyer's patches in the intestines, was discharged into the bloodstream. He recommended a fast lasting 18 to 25 days to allow this toxin to dissipate. Conklin probably treated hundreds of epilepsy patients with his "water diet" and boasted of a 90% cure rate in children, falling to 50% in adults. Later analysis of Conklin's case records showed 20% of his patients achieved freedom from seizures and 50% had some improvement.
“For weight loss, it’s important to eat foods with plenty of protein and fiber to keep you full throughout the day and prevent you from overeating. I like to recommend opting for plant-based proteins, since they tend to have fewer calories than their meat counterparts,” says Rizzo. A 1/2 cup of cooked lentils has 12 grams of protein for just 140 calories. It's super versatile and can be added to grain bowls, salads, soups, and more.
Keto breath, on the other hand, is less of a side-effect and more of a major (not harmful) inconvenience (your breath literally smells like nail polish remover). Basically, when your body breaks down all that extra fat on the keto diet, it produces ketones—one of which is the chemical acetone (yes, the same stuff that's in nail polish remover), Keatley previously told WomensHealthMag.com.
In the 1960s, it was discovered that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides). MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system. The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on twelve children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children. The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.
Breakfast on day 1 includes grapefruit, toast, peanut butter and coffee or tea. There are a range of important vitamins and minerals present in this meal. Starting out with the grapefruit, you’ll get 28% of the Vitamin A and over half of your Vitamin C requirements for the day, all with just a half a grapefruit! Vitamin A is vital because it helps the body in a number of areas including vision, promoting healthy skin and mucous membranes, the immune system and bone/ tooth growth. The Vitamin C is equally important. Although it may stop short of curing the common cold, this vitamin does support your immune system and helps your body to absorb iron. Grapefruit packs in the nutritional value and also contains Vitamin B-6, potassium and plenty of fiber. Vitamin B-6 is important for protein metabolism and is also indispensable in forming new red blood cells (1), while potassium helps to maintain fluid balance in the body, supports nerve transmission and acts in muscle contractions as well (2). Finally, fiber is what keeps your digestive system moving and is essential in any diet; especially one focused on weight loss.
Keep eating low carb to continue losing weight, feeling good and becoming healthier!Try making any of our hundreds of recipes available on the site. We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.
So we hate to break it to you, but devouring hot dogs and ice cream probably won’t be your ticket to sustainable and healthy weight loss. “The idea that there’s something magical in a certain diet, that’s the American dream,” says Gomer. The Military Diet isn’t sustainable, she says. “You’ll get hungry and grouchy and you break your diet and [then] you’re looking for the next miracle.”
Are you curious to know how nutritious this diet is? The 3 Day Military Diet does provide a variety of foods that contain a range of nutrients. You’ll notice that each day contains a significant amount of protein which is especially helpful while you’re on this low-calorie diet so that you don’t lose muscle or have a metabolism slow-down. In addition, the diet contains a number of vitamin and mineral-packed foods- some of which may surprise you.
Artichokes are incredibly filling—in fact, they are one of the highest-fiber vegetables, says Sass. A single boiled artichoke contains a whopping 10.3 grams of fiber—almost half the recommended daily amount for women. To curb your appetite before a meal, Sass suggests enjoying the veggie as a pre-dinner appetizer: try them in a refreshing salad with edamame and asparagus, or make homemade salsa with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, and red onions.
‘Lastly, if your nutrition is on point but you still have excess tummy fat, then you need to look at your training. There’s a real craze for high-intensity workouts and really pushing yourself at the moment, but training is a stress on the body, and if you’re not giving it the tools to manage that stress and recover from it, then it can lead things like excess belly fat.
If you don’t like the taste of water try some of my metabolism boosting Fruit Infused Water Recipes. They are a great way to enjoy a sweet treat while doing something good for your body. Just be sure to stay away from the squirt bottles and flavor packets that many people add to their water – they are full of artificial sweeteners that can make you gain weight.
This dark, leafy green has a long list of benefits: it's a rich source of iron, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, and powerful antioxidants that can help fight diseases like ovarian and breast cancer. Spinach is also loaded with magnesium, which can lower blood sugar and insulin levels (aiding your body in weight loss as a result), according to a 2013 study.
Because the ketogenic diet alters the body's metabolism, it is a first-line therapy in children with certain congenital metabolic diseases such as pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) deficiency and glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome, which prevent the body from using carbohydrates as fuel, leading to a dependency on ketone bodies. The ketogenic diet is beneficial in treating the seizures and some other symptoms in these diseases and is an absolute indication. On the other hand, it is absolutely contraindicated in the treatment of other diseases such as pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, porphyria and other rare genetic disorders of fat metabolism. A person with a disorder of fatty acid oxidation is unable to metabolise fatty acids, which replace carbohydrates as the major energy source on the diet. On the ketogenic diet, their body would consume its own protein stores for fuel, leading to ketoacidosis, and eventually coma and death.
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.