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.
Insulin (in-suh-lin): A hormone made by the cells in your pancreas. Insulin helps your body store the glucose (sugar) from your meals. If you have diabetes and your pancreas is unable to make enough of this hormone, you may be prescribed medicines to help your liver make more or make your muscles more sensitive to the available insulin. If these medicines are not enough, you may be prescribed insulin shots.
Make sure to program your cardio exercise in with your weight training the right way, though — a 2017 study found that performing cardio and weight training workouts on alternate days was far more effective for burning belly fat than stacking the workouts on top of each other in the same session. Put the two together, and watch that unhealthy midsection shrink.
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.”
Implementing the diet can present difficulties for caregivers and the patient due to the time commitment involved in measuring and planning meals. Since any unplanned eating can potentially break the nutritional balance required, some people find the discipline needed to maintain the diet challenging and unpleasant. Some people terminate the diet or switch to a less demanding diet, like the modified Atkins diet (MAD) or the low-glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) diet, because they find the difficulties too great.
When you are on a carbohydrate-rich diet, your body can store up to 1600-2000 calories worth of energy in muscles, blood and in the liver. Once these are depleted, you are out of fast energy sources. Now, when you are running on the keto diet, you are fueled by ketone bodies. This means you are using fat as the main energy source. And you don’t run low on blood glucose.
The Military Diet is a strict, short-term plan that requires drastically reducing your caloric intake. The restrictions work over a three-day period, and then you take four days off from the diet. Some users participate in the Military Diet on an occasional basis, while others might do three days on and four days off for a month at a time. In fact, the Military Diet website touts that people who follow the plan for 30 days could “lose up to 30 lbs,” though registered dietitians strongly advise against doing so. (More on that later.)
The fad military diet consists of low-calorie, odd food pairings such as bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli. “Any diet like the military diet that severely limits the amount of calories you consume or eliminates one or more entire food groups puts any individual at risk for nutrient deficiencies,” says Kyle. “This can be more harmful than holding onto those 10 extra lb you’re trying to lose.” (32)
Routinely squeaking by on five hours or less per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a 2010 Wake Forest University study. What’s more, after analyzing 28 different studies, UK researchers found that people who slept 5.5 hours or less per night ate an extra 385 calories the day after compared to those who snoozed for at least 7 to 12 hours. On top of that, they preferred to munch on fatty foods full of empty calories, like chips.
Dinner on day 2 is also heavy on meat, this time in the form of hot dogs, which are a source of protein and fat. You’ll also get Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-2, iron, calcium and sodium from the hot dogs. The broccoli, carrots and banana are where you’ll get lots more vitamins and minerals- including all the Vitamin C and A that you need for the day. In addition, they contain potassium, iron, calcium, fiber and Vitamin B-6. Don’t forget your ice cream!
"The glycemic index (GI) factor is a ranking of foods based on their overall effect on blood sugar levels. The diet based around this research is called the Low GI diet. Low glycemic index foods, such as lentils, provide a slower, more consistent source of glucose to the bloodstream, thereby stimulating less insulin release than high glycemic index foods, such as white bread."
“This warming—or cooling—beverage serves a dual purpose. Not only is it full of antioxidants and other healthy phytochemicals, but it has the benefit of slightly increasing your metabolism,” says Harris-Pincus. Sipping tea in the evening instead of snacking, or trading in your PSL for a cup of green tea will lower your calorie intake and help you burn a few extra calories. Just be sure to keep it unsweetened.
Even though the diet does provide foods from serval food groups, registered dietitian Toby Amidor R.D. says it's not enough for complete daily nutrition—especially since high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like hot dogs and vanilla ice cream are part of the limited menu. "Due to the lack of adequate amounts of whole grains, vegetables, dairy, and protein, you won't be able to meet your complete nutrient needs over these three days," she explains.
Some athletes swear by the ketogenic diet, not just for weight loss but for improved performance in their sport, as well. But Edward Weiss, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, doesn’t buy it. “I hear cyclists say all the time that they’re faster and better now that they’re on keto, and my first question is, 'Well, how much weight did you lose?'” he says.
Carb cycling lets you tailor carbohydrate intake to your needs. For instance, the American Council on Exercise points out that to lose weight, you might try a plan of five low-carb days and two high-carb days each week. If improving muscle mass is your goal, reverse that ratio — five high-carb days interspersed with two low-carb days, matching the high-carb days to your most intense workout days.
There are different types of HIIT but an easy one to begin with is to simply warm up for 3 minutes on an elliptical machine or by walking. Then work out for 30 seconds so that at the end of the exercise you feel satisfied. Reduce the speed to slow down to a moderate pace. Do this 7 more times or for total 8 intervals. Start with one interval and as your body is ready to take more increase the intervals. Studies show that HIIT to be the absolute premier cardio for weight loss and optimal health as compared to longer, traditional cardio.
You can do both types of exercise for each of the three days, or just one of them. Then, when you’re on your 4 days off the diet, you can do both cardio and weight training, or perhaps lengthen the time you do either one of them by up to 45-60 minutes. You can also alternate days- doing cardio one day and strength training the next. This way you get the benefits of each, but only focus on one at a time.
I am SO thankful that healthy lifestyle alternatives are adamantly mentioned in this article. I feel that the military diet is more of a tagline or “attention getter” and does not full give the the results that people are assuming they’ll receive. I feel that this method would get rid of bloat and excess water weight far before it would get rid of body fat, and the amount of fat lost will be gained back immediately upon return to a “normal diet”. While this may help a dieter become more familiar with portion control, I feel like the military diet grabs the attention of new/crash dieters more than experienced dieters that are looking for a healthy lifestyle.
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.