There's not a lot of reliable information available about how the military diet plan was started — or, for that matter, who started it. MilitaryDiet.co and TheMilitaryDiet.com, the two main resource sites for the diet regimen, are both run by fans and proponents of the diet without any cited health professional credentials. According to them, though, the military diet plan is an intermittent fasting diet that combines three days of a strict, low-calorie meal plan with four days of eating whatever you want (as long as it still falls below the calorie intake).
Women who wake up and go to bed at the same time each day have lower levels of body fat, according to a study of more than 300 women from Brigham Young University in Utah. Chaotic sleep habits cause your internal clock to go haywire, which in turn causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones like cortisol. The sweet spot? Try not to stray an hour from your usual sleep pattern, the study authors say. More than a 90-minute difference in sleep and wake times were linked to more body fat. (Tossing and turning? Check out these 100 tips to sleep better every night.)
Obviously, it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat fewer calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: Hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less”, i.e. being hungry forever. That’s dieting for masochists. Sooner or later, a normal person will give up and eat, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting”.
This diet has introduced structure into my eating and has helped me better plan what I am having. Day 1 was rough due to the lack of caffeine even though we can have 2 cups of coffee that day but I didn’t feel hungry at all. In fact, throughout my 3 days I haven’t felt hungry at all. It was more of my craving for the fatty unhealthy food I was so use to eating before. I am on the last stretch of my 3rd day, still have my ice cream to eat. Before starting this diet I was extremely skeptical. I was worried that the amount of food or lack there of was going to leave me feeling hungry, weak and tired. I have tried other diets in the past and got results but not enough to keep my motivation. I’m not going to lie to you and say these past 3 days have been easy. It definitely took every ounce of will power and I’m looking forward to eating my 1500 calories tomorrow. I have been able to sleep better and I still have energy to take on my day as a full time working mom.
The first popular diet was "Banting", named after the English undertaker William Banting. In 1863, he wrote a booklet called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, which contained the particular plan for the diet he had successfully followed. His own diet was four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis was on avoiding sugar, sweet foods, starch, beer, milk and butter. Banting’s pamphlet was popular for years to come, and would be used as a model for modern diets.[13] The pamphlet's popularity was such that the question "Do you bant?" referred to his method, and eventually to dieting in general.[14] His booklet remains in print as of 2007.[9][15][16]
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.
You’ll also notice that men seem to lose more weight than women. This is actually based on body composition. Sorry ladies, but men just naturally have a leg up on losing weight! Why? Because most men have more muscle tissue, so they are simply able to burn more calories than women. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even when the body is at rest. If you’re a woman, you can gain the benefits of additional muscle that will help you burn more calories by focusing on strength training. That will help the body weight you do have burn more calories, essentially boosting your metabolism.
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.

Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.[10][14]
Thanks for the article Jenna. I actually do something very similar when approaching a comp or a photoshoot…. I wouldn’t call it a diet as much as an advanced technique to prepare for something. Planning is definitely key….. I’m pretty disciplined, but when I’m tired or really hungry that all goes out the window. I’ve found that if I eat before I get too hungry and my food is pretty much all ready to go then I’m fine. If I’m super hungry and tired and I need to go to the grocery store then it all ends terribly… unless the thing I’m preparing for is really important and then I’m usually on top of it all the way.
You’ll also notice that men seem to lose more weight than women. This is actually based on body composition. Sorry ladies, but men just naturally have a leg up on losing weight! Why? Because most men have more muscle tissue, so they are simply able to burn more calories than women. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even when the body is at rest. If you’re a woman, you can gain the benefits of additional muscle that will help you burn more calories by focusing on strength training. That will help the body weight you do have burn more calories, essentially boosting your metabolism.
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.[54]
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.
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.
Unintentional weight loss may result from loss of body fats, loss of body fluids, muscle atrophy, or even a combination of these.[26][27] It is generally regarded as a medical problem when at least 10% of a person's body weight has been lost in six months[26][28] or 5% in the last month.[29] Another criterion used for assessing weight that is too low is the body mass index (BMI).[30] However, even lesser amounts of weight loss can be a cause for serious concern in a frail elderly person.[31]
You may have any kind of tuna or meat that you choose. Fresh or canned tuna doesn't make a difference for the 3 Day Military Diet. You can also choose between beef and turkey dogs; but it's recommended to avoid hot dogs from mixed meat sources. Since hot dogs aren't typically a nutritious choice, if you are concerned with your health and avoiding highly-processed food then another food option may be better for you. Just make sure that your meat or meat substitution for the 2 hot dogs contains between 250 and 350 calories, as that is the approximate calorie count in 2 hotdogs.

This often over-looked gem is loaded with protein, filling fats, and calcium to help you build and repair muscles, which can aid in weight loss. “It's fabulous with fruit, on whole grain toast, oatmeal or salads, but the super high protein content [13 grams per 1/2 cup serving!] helps to keep you full in between meals,” says Harris-Pincus. You can also use it in smoothies, in eggs, or in pancake batter. Just be sure to check labels and find a product that’s low in sugar.


The first popular diet was "Banting", named after the English undertaker William Banting. In 1863, he wrote a booklet called Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public, which contained the particular plan for the diet he had successfully followed. His own diet was four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis was on avoiding sugar, sweet foods, starch, beer, milk and butter. Banting’s pamphlet was popular for years to come, and would be used as a model for modern diets.[13] The pamphlet's popularity was such that the question "Do you bant?" referred to his method, and eventually to dieting in general.[14] His booklet remains in print as of 2007.[9][15][16]

Water weight can drop incredibly fast. Fat loss is much slower. Water weight is also easier to put back on if you are not exercising and not following a healthy diet. Again, if you are looking to lose weight quickly, but not sustain it, dropping water weight through the 3-day Military Diet may be a good option for you. For long-term success, you cannot avoid leading a healthy lifestyle through eating whole foods, exercising, sleeping, and taking care of your emotional well-being.
"If your diet consists of lots of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy pop and flavoured waters, or sugary foods like chocolate and cakes, it will make losing weight harder. While whole fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly good for you, they can also sometimes cause weight gain if you eat too much, as they have high levels of natural sugars in them. Low-fat food options might have high amounts of added sugar in there too, so make sure to check the food label.
If what you're attracted to is the idea of a quick, three day challenge, Palinski-Wade has other ideas. "Challenge yourself to eat a minimum of 30 grams of fiber per day and at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. This would still reduce calorie intake while providing your body with nutrients that promote health all while allowing you to develop eating habits that can actually lead to sustained weight loss." If it's the idea of inermittent fasting that you like, there are other ways to try that, too.
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]
Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.

Rami co-founded Tasteaholics with Vicky at the start of 2015 to master the art of creating extremely delicious food while researching the truth behind nutrition, dieting and overall health. You can usually find him marketing, coding or coming up with the next crazy idea because he can’t sit still for too long. His favorite book is The 4-Hour Workweek and artist is Infected Mushroom.


The military diet is a restrictive three-day plan—a concept that’s nothing new in the health industry. That may explain why the originator of the military diet is unknown—it’s not a unique diet. The three-day diet concept “has been dressed up differently and brought out to dance before,” writes Kimberly Gomer, RD, director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center, at the DailyBurn.com.
Very low calorie diets provide 200–800 calories per day, maintaining protein intake but limiting calories from both fat and carbohydrates. They subject the body to starvation and produce an average loss of 1.5–2.5 kg (3.3–5.5 lb) per week. "2-4-6-8", a popular diet of this variety, follows a four-day cycle in which only 200 calories are consumed the first day, 400 the second day, 600 the third day, 800 the fourth day, and then totally fasting, after which the cycle repeats. These diets are not recommended for general use as they are associated with adverse side effects such as loss of lean muscle mass, increased risks of gout, and electrolyte imbalances. People attempting these diets must be monitored closely by a physician to prevent complications.[1]
A computer program such as KetoCalculator may be used to help generate recipes.[46] The meals often have four components: heavy whipping cream, a protein-rich food (typically meat), a fruit or vegetable and a fat such as butter, vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Only low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables are allowed, which excludes bananas, potatoes, peas and corn. Suitable fruits are divided into two groups based on the amount of carbohydrate they contain, and vegetables are similarly divided into two groups. Foods within each of these four groups may be freely substituted to allow for variation without needing to recalculate portion sizes. For example, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and green beans are all equivalent. Fresh, canned or frozen foods are equivalent, but raw and cooked vegetables differ, and processed foods are an additional complication. Parents are required to be precise when measuring food quantities on an electronic scale accurate to 1 g. The child must eat the whole meal and cannot have extra portions; any snacks must be incorporated into the meal plan. A small amount of MCT oil may be used to help with constipation or to increase ketosis.[36]
“The alkaline diet often has a focus on eating lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which could be a good thing,” says Hultin. “However, keep in mind that this is not an evidence-based therapeutic diet. When people take it too far — for instance, drinking baking soda — or become too restrictive or obsessive over food choices, it can definitely turn negative.”
This was a very hard one for me because I'm a frugal and waste-conscious person. I hold on to things for far longer than I should and always try to either recycle or donate whatever I don’t use anymore. This can be difficult when it comes to having leftover food that I probably shouldn't eat three days in a row (I'm looking at you, pizza.) I use the phrase “better in the trash than in my body” anytime I am in that situation to help me realize that if I eat my daughter's picked-at leftovers, for example, they're still not going anywhere in need.
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