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."
I would love to see a health professional’s list of substitutes for this diet! Is there by chance a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free version? I understand the importance of following it strictly due to the scientific research behind the given foods, but I think it would be interesting to see a follow-up article or link to another publication that discusses what you can also use in the military diet.
Lunch on day 1 is packed with protein, fulfilling about 60% of your daily protein intake requirements just in the tuna. The tuna also contributes other vitamins including Vitamin A, B-12, B-6 and minerals including magnesium and iron. Vitamin B-12 is an important vitamin often found in fish that plays an important role in the creation of new cells. It’s also important for nerve function. (1) The bread offers carbohydrates and plenty of fiber.

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.”
Your body consumes calories, even while you’re resting. A sedentary person (no exercise) burns an average of about 1600 calories in a day. These calories, however, are usually replaced with what you do eat. Through the first 3 Days of the diet you’ll eat less than what you consume, which means there’s an additional deficit of about 400 calories per day. So, without exercising, you can expect to cut out 1400 calories per day during the first 3 days of the Military Diet. Add in some walking and dedicate a bit of time to exercise, and you’ll eliminate another 600 calories or more! Based on these numbers, you’d cut out about 2000 calories per day, resulting in a weight loss of less than 3 pounds during the first 3 days of the Military Diet.
Scroll through the #militarydietresults hashtag on Instagram and you can see plenty of people trying the meal plan out. Most report being down at least a couple of pounds and reducing their body fat percentage as well. And checking out their pictures, it's pretty crazy the progess they can make with just a few meals and a few days. Want to see what we mean? We asked Instagram users @healthyhappydays_ and @sweatherly816 to share their results with us. Check out their military diet results in the video below.
Religious prescription may be a factor in motivating people to adopt a specific restrictive diet.[18] For example, the Biblical Book of Daniel (1:2-20, and 10:2-3) refers to a 10- or 21-day avoidance of foods (Daniel Fast) declared unclean by God in the laws of Moses.[18][19] In modern versions of the Daniel Fast, food choices may be limited to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and oil. The Daniel Fast resembles the vegan diet in that it excludes foods of animal origin.[19] The passages strongly suggest that the Daniel Fast will promote good health and mental performance.[18]
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.
If you don't eat meat — or any animal products, for that matter — or if you have a food allergy, you can replace anything on the meal plan with foods that have a similar calorie count and provide the same nutrients. For example, instead of eating half a cup of tuna, you can eat about 2/3 cup of tofu. Instead of eating an egg at breakfast, you can drink a cup of soy milk. On day two of the military diet, cottage cheese substitution ideas include 15-20 almonds. Almonds work to sub out the slice of cheddar cheese, too. And instead of peanut butter, you can spread almond butter or sunflower butter on your toast for breakfast of day one.
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).[18]
When I go to big meals at family-style restaurants or people’s homes, I keep my appetizer or salad plate for the entrée course. I load up on a lot of food during both courses but using the slightly smaller plate helps. I've also learned to fill my plates with mostly veggies. I will still gladly take a spoonful of mac and cheese, but I'm careful not to take more than that because I know that if it’s on the plate, it will end up in my mouth.
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