Is there anything avocados can't do? This creamy superfood (loaded with monounsaturated fats, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and E) has been linked to improved vision, good heart health, and a reduced risk of certain cancers. And avocados can also help whittle your middle: according to one study, people who regularly consume them weigh less and have smaller waists than those who do not. Another study found that women who eat half an avocado at lunchtime might experience reduced food cravings later in the day.
After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Then it starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs—and oh, it also burns fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
However, it's safe to say that no one really knows the origin of the military diet, Yurechko said, as it is certainly not approved by the military. But if you are still a tad bit curious about taking this diet out for a spin, we spoke to some experts on the subject to make sure you have all the ins-and-outs. Here are some takeaways to keep in mind.
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.
The researchers agree that the diet itself isn’t inherently dangerous. But, cautions Weiss, “If you have any medical condition, if you take any medicine at all – there are lots of things that change how medicines work in our bodies, and nutrition is definitely one of them. If you’re making a real change in your nutrition, you really should talk to your doctor.”
If you need to lose weight quickly, you can use any diet that cuts calories. But you're likely to put the weight back on (and possibly gain more) unless you learn to eat portion-controlled, nutritious meals for the long term. On the Military Diet, you're not likely to learn those skills. And I don't know about you, but if I'm going to go on a diet, I want to keep the pounds off for good.
I have tried all kinds of weight loss programs and exercise, and they just didn’t get me the results I was hoping for. So I tried the 3 Day Military Diet after hearing about it through a co-worker. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is! Since you only have to make it through 3 days, I can manage the restrictive diet. Now I’ve done 3 rounds of the diet, losing 6.5 pounds each time! I haven’t gained the wait back afterwards either. I do eat only 1400 calories for the 4 days after the 3 day diet portion.
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”.
Make things yourself. While it’s extremely convenient to buy most things pre-made or pre-cooked, it always adds to the price per pound on items. Try prepping veggies ahead of time instead of buying pre-cut ones. Try making your stew meat from a chuck roast. Or, simply try to make your mayo and salad dressings at home. The simplest of things can work to cut down on your overall grocery shopping.
If you’re looking for a quick fix to fit into a dress, say, for your daughter’s wedding, then this diet could be a good fit for you. And if you simply can't give up ice cream, the military diet shows how you can work it into your meal plan without overdoing it. But if you’re looking to make long-term lifestyle changes, you might be more interested in something like the Mediterranean diet or the anti-inflammatory diet.
It's so easy to run through the store and grab products blasted with "healthy," "all-natural," "organic,""vegan," or "gluten-free" all over them. But Ilyse Schapiro, M.S., R.D., and Hallie Rich, authors of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel, say that's exactly what could be making the belly bulge stick. "You still must read the nutrition labels because many of these foods can be high in sugar, calories, carbohydrates, and processed ingredients in order to make up for the lack of flavor," says Schapiro. And unlike the nutrition labels, front-of-the-box packaging is not tightly regulated and monitored. Because it's what you see when you walk down the aisle, research shows that it gives people a "false sense of health" and they fail to understand what leads to obesity and what doesn't. A few tricks to keep in mind: multigrain bread doesn't mean it's 100-percent whole-wheat, and anything "no-sugar-added" is loaded with simple sugars or complex starches that pack on those sneaky pounds.
"There is promising research on effective weight loss from intermittent fasting, an eating strategy where you eat very few calories two days per week while eating higher calorie levels the remainder of the week. However, this form of eating involves careful planning to ensure every calorie consumed on ‘fasting’ days is nutritionally dense. I would encourage someone interested in the Military Diet to consider this weight loss strategy before following this diet plan. Fad diets don’t work — whatever you do to lose weight has to be something you can see yourself following for life. If it is too restrictive, you will just regain the weight."
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.
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.”