No. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Save your cocktail for when you’re off the diet, or on the 4 days off. Even when you’re not on the diet, if you’re interested in maintaining your weight, you should avoid certain types of alcohol. For example, steer clear of sugary alcoholic drinks such as long island iced teas and margaritas. The sugar adds in a lot of calories that will promote weight gain. Instead, go for a gin and tonic or vodka with soda water and lime. Red wine is also a great choice. You should also try to lay off beer if you’re hoping to maintain or lose weight. If you’re really craving a beer, go for a dark beer like Guinness which is rich in antioxidants.
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."
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.
Unsurprisingly, the results showed that nothing had happened to the weight of the women receiving calcium or the placebo. However, the group which took the multivitamin lost more weight – about 3 kg more – and improved their health markers. Among other things, their basal metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories when at rest) increased.
Many studies have focused on diets that reduce calories via a low-carbohydrate (Atkins diet, Scarsdale diet, Zone diet) diet versus a low-fat diet (LEARN diet, Ornish diet). The Nurses' Health Study, an observational cohort study, found that low carbohydrate diets based on vegetable sources of fat and protein are associated with less coronary heart disease. The same study also found no correlation (with multivariate adjustment) between animal fat intake and coronary heart disease (table 4). A long term study that monitored 43,396 Swedish women however suggests that a low carbohydrate-high protein diet, used on a regular basis and without consideration of the nature of carbohydrates or the source of proteins, is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is possible to combine the results of several small studies to produce evidence that is stronger than that available from each study alone—a statistical method known as meta-analysis. One of four such analyses, conducted in 2006, looked at 19 studies on a total of 1,084 patients. It concluded that a third achieved an excellent reduction in seizure frequency and half the patients achieved a good reduction.
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.
There are no days off. The plan actually requires you to restrict your food intake all the time. The site says that you have three days "on" and 4 days "off", but on your off days you are limited to 1,500 calories. Healthy food recommendations are provided for your off days. But anyone who can eat healthy portion-controlled meals doesn't need a special hot dog and ice cream program for weight loss. They should just stick to the nutritious diet they're already on.
“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the co-author of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. But considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”
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.
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
"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."
Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Medium-chain triglycerides are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate, leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes. The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil. Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant. The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.
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.
“For weight loss, it’s important to eat foods with plenty of protein and fiber to keep you full throughout the day and prevent you from overeating. I like to recommend opting for plant-based proteins, since they tend to have fewer calories than their meat counterparts,” says Rizzo. A 1/2 cup of cooked lentils has 12 grams of protein for just 140 calories. It's super versatile and can be added to grain bowls, salads, soups, and more.
Fitness trainer and fat-loss coach Ivica Fridrih (@ivicafridrih on Instagram) posted this diagram to show how you can lose fat and leave restrictive diets behind. It illustrates the good old 80/20 rule, in which 80 percent of the time you focus on healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Then the other 20 percent leaves room for the treats you love (like pizza and wine!).
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
Enjoy the rich flavor of sweet potatoes? While home on Sundays, cook up a batch. Wrap each one in foil and bake for about an hour at 425 degrees F, or until their luscious, sweet juices start to ooze out into the foil. At work the following week, just pop one in the microwave for a quick warm-up. They’re loaded with taste, so they don’t need any extra toppings. If you want a little zest, swirl in a teaspoon or two of no-salt-added Dijon mustard or a quarter cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemicals. People who eat avocados tend to have lower BMI, body weight and waist circumference than people who skip this green superfood, per a study in Nutrition Journal. While avocados are higher in calories than other fruits and vegetables, their satisfying fat and fiber combo may help you slim down. Add some to your salad, sandwich or taco night for a burst of creaminess and flavor.
Pinners, bloggers and YouTube vlogs are driving this trend forward with viral before-and-after pictures showcasing impressive (and often hard to believe) changes. Devotees of the diet consume 1,100 to 1,400 calories a day in the form of so-called “fat-burning” food combinations like hot dogs and bananas, and tuna and toast. (Yes, we said hot dogs.) It’s a one-size-fits-all plan, so athletic men and women are going to dine on the same grub as their more sedentary peers. But is this really a healthy way to lose weight? We got to the bottom of this much-talked-about plan.
The food prescribed in the three-day menu are unusual and not nutrient-dense choices. Foods associated with disease prevention and overall health—such as produce, beans, whole grains, and healthy oils—are greatly lacking or missing completely, yet foods that are associated with increased health risks—like processed meats (hot dogs) and added sugars (a cup of ice cream every night)—are included.
However, there’s little documentation that this internet-based diet originated in the U.S. military, or if it even has ties to it. There are plenty of established diet plans that promise quick weight loss—like the HMR diet—but is the Military Diet one of them? And is it actually a healthy or safe eating plan to follow? I took a hard look at the Military Diet to find out whether this seemingly faddish diet is really worth your time.
Around this time, Bernarr Macfadden, an American exponent of physical culture, popularised the use of fasting to restore health. His disciple, the osteopathic physician Dr. Hugh William Conklin of Battle Creek, Michigan, began to treat his epilepsy patients by recommending fasting. Conklin conjectured that epileptic seizures were caused when a toxin, secreted from the Peyer's patches in the intestines, was discharged into the bloodstream. He recommended a fast lasting 18 to 25 days to allow this toxin to dissipate. Conklin probably treated hundreds of epilepsy patients with his "water diet" and boasted of a 90% cure rate in children, falling to 50% in adults. Later analysis of Conklin's case records showed 20% of his patients achieved freedom from seizures and 50% had some improvement.
Vegetarian modifications to the military diet can mean that you’ll consume fewer calories, or even more, depending on what you choose. Use a trusty calorie calculator to make sure you’re on target. For example, for dinner on day 1, you’re allowed 3 oz of meat or a protein substitute. If you were to eat chicken, that would be about 200 calories. If you substitute that with 3 oz of tofu, you’re consuming only about 65 calories, but if you choose black beans, you’ll get 111 calories and if you eat 3 oz of almonds, you’d hit 489 calories. It’s a bit of a difference, but also note that you could eat double the beans or tofu and get the same number of calories as you would with the chicken. Or, you could have the recommended amount of beans and still slip in a handful of almonds. Obviously, 3 oz of almonds would be too many almonds even if they weren’t so calorie heavy. So, do your calorie research well on military diet vegetarian modifications to ensure you’ll still get the same great results.
While there are probably plenty of pre-made bean and veggie soup options that just need a few minutes to heat through on the stovetop, making your own soup is really easy—and a great idea for your health. Homemade soups are much lower in sodium – about 100 milligrams or less per 2-cup serving. By contrast, 2 cups of many canned soups contain a blood-pressure-busting 1,200 milligrams or more, a worrisome amount considering that health experts recommend consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium for the entire day. This is also a great way to use up all those leftover vegetables in your crisper—pretty much anything works in this soup.
She also says that cutting certain foods and drinks out of your diet point-blank, like soda, can be difficult. "While I’m no fan of sodas — they’ve have been linked to weight gain, and have no nutritional value — banning them without offering a substitute might backfire because people feel deprived. Deprivation can lead to rebellion and giving up on weight loss." Sticking to the meal plan is the hard part — but if you can do, you will lose a couple of pounds, the professor says. "If you actually follow it... then yes, you’ll certainly lose weight. You’re not going to lose 10 pounds of 'real weight' in 3 days though. If you lose 10 pounds, then most of it is water weight."
Christopher D. Gardner, PhD; Alexandre Kiazand, MD; Sofiya Alhassan, PhD; Soowon Kim, PhD; Randall S. Stafford, MD, PhD; Raymond R. Balise, PhD; Helena C. Kraemer, PhD; Abby C. King, PhD, “Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women,” JAMA. 2007;297(9):969-977. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/art icle.aspx?articleid=205916.
HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
Military diet vegetarian modifications are possible! Just because you’re a vegetarian doesn’t mean that you can’t do the military diet. You’ll have to make some modifications where the diet includes meat products. Instead of the tuna, meat and hotdogs, you can use tofu, Portobello mushrooms, lentils, beans, cottage cheese, peanuts or almonds. Ideally, you’ll choose a substitute that has plenty of protein- since meat is protein-heavy.
“Intermittent fasting can be really challenging if you have an ever-changing schedule,” adds Hultin. “If you're traveling and crossing time zones, it could be very difficult to follow. It might be best for people with more stability in their lives.” Intermittent fasting isn’t safe for people with type 2 diabetes, children, pregnant or lactating women, or anyone with a history of an eating disorder.
From the whole wheat toast, you’ll get plenty of carbohydrates, fiber, iron, Vitamin B-6, magnesium and calcium. You’re probably familiar with most of these vitamins and minerals. Calcium of course is important for healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium is also found in the bones; but is needed too for creating protein. Iron plays an important role in blood, specifically, it carries oxygen in the body (2). That’s why iron deficiencies can cause you to feel tired, as oxygen may move more slowly throughout your body. The peanut butter will fill you up with 8 grams of protein and healthy fats. Finally, both coffee and tea are full of antioxidants and caffeine to give you a kick start in energy. As a result, you can confidently choose either coffee or tea. If you want to obtain additional health benefits, try drinking green tea.
The military diet is similar to other three-day diet plans (think: the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic three-day diet plans) as it claims to promote weight loss in a short period of time by restricting calories. The diet also bears a striking resemblance to the retro Drinking Man's Diet (or the Air Force Diet) of the '60s, according to Adrienne Rose Johnson Bitar, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate at Cornell University who specializes in the history and culture of American food, pop culture, and health. Much like the military diet, the Drinking Man's Diet incorporated martinis and steak in the diet but kept carbohydrate and calorie counts fairly low, she explains. "Both of these diets were low-calorie or low-carb plans that promised impressive short-term results, but included unhealthy or indulgent foods," says Bitar. (Another unhealthy diet trend that includes lots of red meat: The Vertical Diet. Safe to say, you can skip that diet plan, too.)
"It’s easy to become impatient and frustrated when you’re trying to lose weight and haven’t seen the results yet. But be realistic – you won’t see the affect overnight. Your brain’s wiring plays a huge part in resisting changes in lifestyle, and it takes time to establish new habits – up to 12 weeks. Stick with it for at least eight weeks and you should notice a change."