The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet. This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.
Ketogenic diets are, however, a well-established way to help control Type 2 diabetes, and the plan has for nearly 100 years been used to reduce instances of childhood epileptic seizures. Some scientists also think the high-fat diet may hold promise for staving off Alzheimer's, and there are some early indications it might help improve certain cancer treatment outcomes when used in conjunction with drugs. (Harper is part of a research team investigating how the diet might help boost treatment among people with breast cancer.)
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).
On the surface level, the food craze sounds like a good one—lots of meat and veggies, grain- and processed-food-free. But Dr. Melina worries people on this diet tend to overeat protein, and most experts estimate the average woman only needs about 46 grams of it per day. Not to mention that researchers say the meat our ancestors ate was very different than the processed kinds we eat today. Cavemen were hunter-gathers, but today's agriculture is fed artificial diets of corn and grains, and beefed up with hormones and antibodies—all of which can recreate problems with inflammation and digestion. So it's important to keep in mind that the meat you buy at your local food store is far from the wild game eaten centuries ago. And while lower-carb diets can help you drop belly weight, a diet high in meat and meat products that eliminates any kind of bread means missing many of the nutrients you score when you eat good grains.
The Military Diet is a very calorie-restricted 3 day diet that's based on the principles of consuming the right combination of metabolism-boosting foods. The diet also incorporates the idea of intermittent fasting with 3 days of very restricted eating followed by 4 days of a more moderate approach. While the diet itself is pretty straight forward, it's not for the faint of heart. This diet may be exceedingly difficult to stick with because it must be followed exactingly.
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.
Recently, the Military Diet began provided scientific evidence to support their program. The problem is that the science is about other diets, not about this 3-day program. For example, the website cites research conducted by nutrition scientist Krista Varady. But her research was conducted to support her diet (The Every Other Day Diet), not the Military Diet. There is some science to support intermittent fasting, but none (that I've seen) to support a hot dog and ice cream based plan.
The diet claims to be “one of the best natural diets.” They recommend that dieters avoid artificial sweeteners because they “aren’t good for you.” But then the site goes on to include foods like hot dogs and crackers in the daily meal plans. These are foods that are heavily processed and contain ingredients that have been associated with an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
The 3 Day Military Diet sounds perfect for someone that is trying to fit into a smaller dress or suit before an upcoming class reunion, but not designed to sustain a healthy lifestyle over an extended period. The concept of smaller portions, exercise, and drinking plenty of water is a good idea, but I agree that low calorie diets can be dangerous. Thanks for the interesting post!
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by the international Cochrane Collaboration in 2002 concluded that fat-restricted diets are no better than calorie-restricted diets in achieving long term weight loss in overweight or obese people. A more recent meta-analysis that included randomized controlled trials published after the Cochrane review found that low-carbohydrate, non-energy-restricted diets appear to be at least as effective as low-fat, energy-restricted diets in inducing weight loss for up to 1 year. These results can be understood because weight loss is mainly governed by daily caloric deficit and not by the particular foods eaten. However, when low-carbohydrate diets to induce weight loss are considered, potential favorable changes in triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol values."
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.
So what happens when you can’t exercise? There are many people with health and physical difficulties who can’t exercise in the traditional way. For those people, I assure you that you can still lose weight. Like I said above, weight loss is 70% what you eat and 30% exercise, so if you can’t exercise you have to be spot on with your diet plan to lose weight.
Here’s a great example: For the same number of calories that are in a handful of peanuts (about two ounces), you can eat 2½ pounds of strawberries (about five of those green boxes that strawberries come in.) Eating “big” foods like strawberries, salads, and other fruits and vegetables can prevent hunger from taking over and taking you places you don’t want to go
Since we are talking about setting a meal plan, we need to talk about how many calories you should plan to eat. If your goal is to lose weight, all you need to know is your goal weight. The equation is easy; add a zero to the end of your goal weight to find your daily calorie goal. Just be sure not to go under 1200 calories per day as this will send your metabolism into preservation mode, which may cause your body to hold onto weight instead of releasing it.