Do you even lift, bro? If you’re serious about getting rid of that belly fat fast, resistance training might just be the key. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding weight training to adult male test subjects’ workouts significantly reduced their risk of abdominal obesity over a multi-year study period, although doing the same amount of cardio had no such effect. Research from the University of Maryland even found that just 16 weeks of weight training boosted study participants’ metabolic rates by a whopping 7.7 percent, making it easier to ditch those extra inches around your middle.
Because the Military Diet discourages substitutions, some may be led to believe that specific food choices have a “magical” effect to enhance weight loss. The truth is, there’s nothing special or unique about the combination of these foods over the three-day period. In fact, choosing different foods with similar macronutrient profiles would provide the exact results.
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).
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.
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.
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.
In its 2016 report “Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice,” the Public Health Collaboration, a U.K. nonprofit, evaluated evidence on low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets. (The Keto diet falls under the LCHF umbrella.) Among 53 randomized clinical trials comparing LCHF diets to calorie-counting, low-fat diets, a majority of studies showed greater weight loss for the Keto-type diets, along with more beneficial health outcomes. The collaboration recommends weight-loss guidelines that include a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of real (rather than processed) foods as an acceptable, effective and safe approach.
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Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings," she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
According to Paquette, the Military Diet does have one advantage over other weight loss plans: unlike other diets like Keto, which tend to eliminate entire food groups, the military diet includes a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, albeit in tiny amounts. But he says the guidelines for the diet are simply too general to be considered healthy. For instance, breakfast on the first day simply lists "toast," without specifying whether it's whole-wheat or white.
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.
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)
Luckily, exercise can help spur things along when it comes to that pesky stomach fat. “Visceral fat responds well when… [you] start exercising and watching your calories and what you eat,” Harris-Pincus says. And while endless crunches aren’t your ticket to a flat stomach, it is still important to train your ab muscles. “Everything radiates from the center of your body – your balance, your posture, your functional movement,” says Joe Ardito, founder of Fit Crush NYC. “You can perform better when you have a strong core.”
An estimated 10% of men ages 60 and older having symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or aspirin, and steroid injections can temporarily soothe arthritis pain and inflammation. But an easier and safer way to manage symptoms is to be more active as bones and cartilage need the stimulation of regular movement to stay healthy and pain free. More »
Many people claim success with this diet, but nutrition experts caution against following the plan for a long-term period. Starvation or fasting diets have been debated often, and support is still anecdotal. While this diet may meet your initial weight loss goals, it's not a long-term, sustainable lifestyle (the website itself says that it's about quick fixes and providing support in a weight loss emergency).
For coffee addicts: We really love (need) coffee too, so we understand why everyone has questions about coffee on the Military Diet! Caffeine withdrawal is no fun, especially when you’re already on a low calorie diet. So here’s some good news… Black coffee has less than 5 calories per cup, so if you need to sneak in a cup here and there, just cut out the equivalent calories elsewhere. Do not add cream and sugar. You can add Stevia if you like. You’re welcome…
Y. Wady Aude, MD; Arthur S. Agatston, MD; Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, MD, MSc; Eric H. Lieberman, MD; Marie Almon, MS, RD; Melinda Hansen, ARNP; Gerardo Rojas, MD; Gervasio A. Lamas, MD; Charles H. Hennekens, MD, DrPH, “The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat,” Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(19):2141-2146. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=217514.
After initiation, the child regularly visits the hospital outpatient clinic where he or she is seen by the dietitian and neurologist, and various tests and examinations are performed. These are held every three months for the first year and then every six months thereafter. Infants under one year old are seen more frequently, with the initial visit held after just two to four weeks. A period of minor adjustments is necessary to ensure consistent ketosis is maintained and to better adapt the meal plans to the patient. This fine-tuning is typically done over the telephone with the hospital dietitian and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet. Urinary ketone levels are checked daily to detect whether ketosis has been achieved and to confirm that the patient is following the diet, though the level of ketones does not correlate with an anticonvulsant effect. This is performed using ketone test strips containing nitroprusside, which change colour from buff-pink to maroon in the presence of acetoacetate (one of the three ketone bodies).
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.
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.
If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
The final possible culprit behind stubborn weight issues may be the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much cortisol will increase hunger levels, bringing along subsequent weight gain. The most common cause of elevated cortisol is chronic stress and lack of sleep (see tip #10), or cortisone medication (tip #9). It’s a good idea to try your best to do something about this.
While many people turn to artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to whittle their waistlines, those fake sugars are likely to have the opposite effect. According to researchers at Yale, artificial sweeteners are actually linked with an increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain, possibly because they can trigger cravings for the real stuff and spike insulin levels in a similar fashion to real sugar.
The Military 3-Day Diet plan is one of the most regimented diets that I’ve ever reviewed for Cooking Light. It’s free to sign up, and participants can download the plan directly from militarydiet.com. The plan is a weekly cycle that includes a three-day meal plan, followed by 4 days off. You can repeat this cycle as many times as you need until your weight loss goal is met.
So, how can you lose more than 3 pounds then? Well our bodies are more complex than simple calorie-counting would have you believe. Each person’s metabolism is different and reacts differently to the diet. Many people burn more than 2000 calories in a day, just through their regular activities, which would mean you’d lose more weight. It’s also possible that you typically consume more than 2000 calories in a day- making the effects of the diet even more dramatic.
Clean eating is the best described as removing all processed, artificial foods from your diet and focusing on healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Your body is from nature, bring it back to nature and reap the rewards of eating clean, like living a longer, healthier life, have great glowing skin and hair, fast weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
Tasmin recently returned home from university 12 pounds heavier! Her experience is typical of the returning college student who’s gained their “freshman fifteen.” She decided to give the 3 Day Military Diet a try to see if it would help her lose some of the extra weight. Follow her journey through this video. In the vlog, you’ll see how she’s feeling, how she did with the meals and of course – her results! Tasmin was upbeat throughout the diet, saying she powered through it even though it was a bit tough at times. As you’ll see, she exercised while on the diet and also spread out some of the foods, using some parts of meals as snacks. She did well on the diet and lost a total of 6 pounds!
All beans are high in fiber, which is your friend when you're trying to lose weight because it helps you feel fuller longer, thus controlling hunger. Eating beans and legumes has also been linked with various other health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. Beans are fairly low in calories and deliver protein as well. Try them in homemade veggie burgers, soups and salads.
And like all crash-diets known to man, Alpert says the military diet is meant to make only a short-term impact instead of teaching positive eating habits that can be sustained for a long, healthy life. As a result, she says it's very likely participants will gain back any weight lost shortly after concluding the diet. (Really. You should stop restrictive dieting.)
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.
“Pistachios are a great addition to a diet aimed to help one lose weight because they're one of the lowest-fat and lowest-calorie snacks that offer the most nuts per serving (49 pistachios per 1-ounce serving) compared to cashews (18) and walnuts (14 halves),” says Shaw. Get in-shell pistachios because the leftover shells may provide a visual cue for portion control to curb intake.
By the time you reach dinner on the 3 Day Military Diet, you’ll be relieved to see the feast you’re allowed to enjoy. The dinners are the heaviest meal of the day- offering the most calories- and also including more fruits and vegetables than the other meals. Ice cream is also featured in all three dinners: a much-needed treat while you’re dieting hard. This food often gets a bad rap for its poor nutritional content. Although it’s true that it contains an overdose of sugar, it also has plenty of calcium and vitamin B-12. The fat content is also important- since the rest of the diet is very low on fat. Fats, contrary to what many people believe, actually play an important role in our bodies. They are a source of energy and also help your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals. However, there are different kinds of fats. Some are healthy, while others aren’t. The fat in ice cream is saturated fat, and is considered an in-between fat, meaning it’s not particularly good or bad. When consumed in moderation, it won’t do you much harm. However, it’s preferable to consume polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are typically found in vegetables, nuts, fish and seeds. Now that you understand the role of the ice cream; let’s discuss the nutritional value of the rest of the foods in the dinners.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
4. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans (including soy). Studies show that these plant-based disease-fighters make up only 10% of the calories in the American diet. Plant-based foods are high in water and fiber and essential vitamins and antioxidants, yet very low in calories. Diets high in plant-based foods play a key role in the prevention of diseases, including obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
According to the website, the Military Diet requires you eat specific foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the course of three days. The meal plan is extremely calorie-restrictive: on the first day, for instance, you can only eat roughly 1078 calories. (For comparison, the average, moderately active male needs roughly 2400 to 2600 calories per day.)
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of occurrence of belly fat. If you don’t indulge in any physical activity, and spend most of the time sitting, watching T.V., reading, etc., it is known as a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of regular exercise, or not exercising at all can lead to fat storage around the belly area. In other words, being a couch potato will make you fat.
To get the most benefit from the Keto diet, you should stay physically active. You might need to take it easier during the early ketosis period, especially if you feel fatigued or lightheaded. Walking, running, doing aerobics, weightlifting, training with kettlebells or whatever workout you prefer will boost your energy further. You can find books and online resources on how to adapt Keto meals or snacks for athletic training.
Yancy WS Jr, Westman EC, McDuffie JR, Grambow SC, Jeffreys AS, Bolton J, Chalecki A, Oddone EZ, “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet vs orlistat plus a lowfat diet for weight loss,” Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):136-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2.
A 2014 Harvard study found that men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, and other studies have shown similar levels of success when guys hit the gym to cut down on fat. The implication: Guys can cut belly fat most efficiently with weight training.
You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.
On the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates are restricted and so cannot provide for all the metabolic needs of the body. Instead, fatty acids are used as the major source of fuel. These are used through fatty-acid oxidation in the cell's mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of the cell). Humans can convert some amino acids into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis, but cannot do this by using fatty acids. Since amino acids are needed to make proteins, which are essential for growth and repair of body tissues, these cannot be used only to produce glucose. This could pose a problem for the brain, since it is normally fuelled solely by glucose, and most fatty acids do not cross the blood–brain barrier. However, the liver can use long-chain fatty acids to synthesise the three ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. These ketone bodies enter the brain and partially substitute for blood glucose as a source of energy.
When you substitute foods, make sure you don’t use the same amount of the substitute as the original without checking caloric equivalence first. For example, if you want to substitute Greek yogurt for cottage cheese, you can actually eat a bit more of the yogurt than the prescribed amount of cottage cheese. Just 1 cup of 2% cottage cheese contains 194 calories, while 1 cup of 2% Greek yogurt contains 150 calories, meaning you can have additional 1/3 cup of the yogurt. Make use of a calorie calculator if you’re not sure about your allowances.
This often over-looked gem is loaded with protein, filling fats, and calcium to help you build and repair muscles, which can aid in weight loss. “It's fabulous with fruit, on whole grain toast, oatmeal or salads, but the super high protein content [13 grams per 1/2 cup serving!] helps to keep you full in between meals,” says Harris-Pincus. You can also use it in smoothies, in eggs, or in pancake batter. Just be sure to check labels and find a product that’s low in sugar.
But people who started following the keto diet noticed weight loss for a few reasons: When you eat carbs, your body retains fluid in order to store carbs for energy (you know, in case it needs it). But when you’re not having much in the carb department, you lose this water weight, says Warren. Also, it's easy to go overboard on carbohydrates—but if you're loading up on fat, it may help curb cravings since it keeps you satisfied.
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
“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.”
We now know that this type of fat, called visceral fat, is metabolically active and churns out stress hormones like cortisol and inflammatory substances called cytokines that affect you body’s production of insulin. The result is worse than just being generally overweight; you’re looking at increased risks of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and even dementia.
The trick here is not only to avoid all obvious sources of carbohydrate (sweets, bread, spaghetti, rice, potatoes), but also to be careful with your protein intake. If you eat large amounts of meat, eggs and the like, the excess protein will be converted into glucose in your body. Large amounts of protein can also raise your insulin levels somewhat. This compromises optimal ketosis.
Water is the best thing you can drink on the Military Diet. So drink as much as you can! Artificial sweeteners aren’t good for you or your blood sugar, so try to avoid them. The only artificial sweetener we recommend on the Military Diet is Stevia (in your coffee). You can also drink as much caffeine free herbal tea as you want on the diet, but again, only use Stevia as a sweetener.
With potatoes, leave the skin on (with baked or mashed potatoes) or if you peel them, make snacks of them. For example, drizzle olive oil, rosemary, salt, and garlic on the peels and bake at 400 F (205 C) for fifteen minutes for baked Parmesan garlic peels. Keeping the skin on potatoes when cooking them helps keep more vitamins/minerals in the flesh (just don't eat any parts of skin that are green).
You can use zero calorie seasonings to make your Military Diet meals a bit more appealing. Here are some suggestions: salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cilantro, dill, hot pepper flakes, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, rosemary, sage, etc. Beware if you use items like mustard, soy sauce and garlic sauce, as they do contain a few calories, so you’ll have to be sure to compensate. Avoid using high calorie seasonings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, oils, etc.
These types of back-and-forth weight fluctuations can contribute to disordered eating, Kizer says, or can worsen an already unhealthy relationship with food. “I think this diet appeals to people who have issues with portion control and with binge eating,” she says. "And in many cases, what they really need is a lifestyle coach or a professional counselor to help them get to the bottom of those issues."
Open up a big bag of baby carrots and dip them into your freshly made no-oil-added, no-salt-added hummus. Simply whip up in your food processor a can of no-salt-added chickpeas/garbanzo beans, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, a jalapeno pepper (if you like your hummus hot and spicy), and fresh herbs like cilantro and dill. Add a little water, if necessary, until the desired consistency is achieved.
Nuts, the second food to watch, contain a fair amount of carbohydrate, and it’s very easy to unwittingly scarf down large quantities. Cashew nuts are among the worst carb-wise – you’ll find that they contain around 20% carbohydrate by weight. For someone following a strict keto diet with a 20 grams of carbs per day allowance, this means that consuming 100 grams (which happens in a flash!) will have filled their daily quota. Peanuts tend to be around 10-15% carbohydrate – not putting them in the clear either.
“Crash diets, also called meal-replacement programs, have become increasingly fashionable in the past few years,” said lead author Dr. Jennifer Rayner, Oxford Centre for Magnetic Resonance, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. “The metabolic improvements with a very low-calorie diet, such as a reduction in liver fat and reversal of diabetes, would be expected to improve heart function. Instead, heart function got worse in the first week before starting to improve.”
"When we’re lacking in sleep, our body’s hormones get thrown off balance which can impact our hunger levels the next day. We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin. When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied. Try going to bed a little earlier than usual to avoid this imbalance and remember to remove any distractions that might prevent you from nodding off."