The 3-Day Military Diet makes some pretty big claims about how much weight you can lose following the plan. Here, we weigh in with a professional opinion on whether or not you can drop 10 pounds in a week while eating ice cream and hot dogs on this plan.
There are dozens of eating plans that promise you’ll drop weight quickly, and the 3-Day Military Diet is no exception. On their website, they claim that you can lose up to 10 pounds in a week and as many as 30 over the course of a month.
Even better, they also say that you won’t need to exercise to see results, and you get to eat foods like hot dogs and ice cream on the program.
If you think that it all sounds too good to be true, you could be right. In this article, we’re going to break down the program and give you a professional opinion on whether or not it’s legit.
We’ll include details on how it works, what you’ll eat, realistic results to expect, and our verdict on if you should try it.
How Does the 3-Day Military Diet Work?
Like many diet programs, this three-day plan claims that you’ll eat a combination of foods that have a compatibility factor that will make you more likely to lose weight. Although some scientifically-proven foods can jumpstart your metabolism, this diet isn’t backed by any studies nor does it use any of the ingredients researchers have identified.
Rather, those who experience weight loss on this program are actually seeing the effects of eating an extremely low-calorie diet for three days and then cycling to a slightly higher, although still low-calorie schedule for the next four days.
When we say extremely low calorie, we’re not kidding. Day one of the plan has you eating less than 1100 calories over three meals. Though it does include an ice cream treat at the end of the day, it’s important to consider that the average active male needs around 2400 calories per day to give him energy.
Following the first three days of the prescribed diet, the website says you can then eat whatever you want for the next four days, as long as you don’t go over 1500 calories per day. Again, this number is quite low and may be difficult to maintain for many people.
They claim that if you do this cycle four times over the course of a month, you can lose up to 30 pounds.
What Will I Eat on the Three-Day Plan?
Your meals on the three-day plan are very strict, and while they allow for substitutions, there isn’t much wiggle room in what you’re able to eat.
Here is a sample of some of the meals you’ll eat on the three-day plan.
Breakfast Day 1
- 1/2 Grapefruit
- One Slice of Toast
- Two tbsp Peanut Butter (can substitute other nut butter)
- One cup of tea or coffee (must have caffeine)
Lunch Day 3
- One slice bread or toast
- One egg cooked any way you like
Dinner Day 2
- Two hot dogs (no bun allowed)
- One cup broccoli (cooked or raw)
- 1/2 cup carrots (cooked or raw)
- 1/2 banana
- One cup vanilla ice cream
On the 3-Day Military Diet you can drink as much herbal tea as you want, and they also recommend that you consume lots of water. Coffee is allowed, but cream and sugar is not.
The only approved sweetener is Stevia, and you can use that in your beverages.
Does the Military Back the Diet Plan?
Interestingly enough, this plan is in no way affiliated with the armed forces. Although the site offers a robust FAQ section, there isn’t any explanation for its name, nor are there any links to health experts, nutritionists, or even content authors.
Even more curious, this diet has gone by numerous other names through the years including:
- Mayo Clinic Diet
- Kaiser Diet
- Cleveland Clinic Diet
- Birmingham Hospital Diet
- American Heart Association Diet
When CNN reached out to these organizations to see if they developed or endorsed the program, each responded back that they were in no way affiliated with the program. Some even went so far as to say that they found the plan to be potentially dangerous and possibly ineffective.
It’s more likely that the 3-Day Military Diet, and all of its variations, were created based on keywords and click-bait material designed to capture a large audience and drive advertising revenue to the sites. Unfortunately, that does not mean that the science is credible or the program is safe.
Does the 3-Day Military Diet Get Results?
The reason why any diet, healthy or not, gives you results is that you’re cutting calories. When you eat fewer than you burn, you create a calorie deficit that forces your body to use its fat stores for energy. This results in weight loss.
Since this program involves extreme calorie restriction, you will likely lose weight if you follow it for three days or the entire month. That said, it’s very likely that you will gain the weight back once you revert to your previous eating habits.
Even worse, you could damage your metabolism which could lead to gaining even more weight and having a harder time losing it long-term.
If you’re still considering giving the program a try, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
You’ll Need to Commit to More Than Three Days
Although it’s marketed as a three-day plan, at its core, this program is a month-long process that cycles you through extremely low-calorie days followed by low calorie stretches.
If you follow the program and include healthy portions of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and good fats on your “off” days, it’s possible you’ll see good results.
That said, if you can do that on the non-diet days, a healthier alternative would be to simply eat that way all the time without the three-day cycle that includes junk food and not enough fuel.
You Might Gain Weight
The program stresses the importance of weighing and measuring all of your portions, and if you follow their recommendations exactly, you will be in a caloric deficit.
However, if you are someone who prefers to eyeball your serving size, it might be easy to get carried away on some of the tastier items. If you overdo it on the ice cream, peanut butter, or hot dogs, you may find that you’re putting on pounds rather than shedding them.
In addition, if you’re not already eating these types of treats as part of your daily diet, it might be hard to break the habit once you’re off this plan. That could lead to weight gain over time by incorporating sweets into your daily routine.
“Natural” Isn’t Quite True
Another of this program’s claims is that it is a natural diet, which they say because you don’t need to take any supplements or medications while following the plan.
Although that’s true, it’s a stretch to call artificial sweeteners, the additives in hot dogs, and the preservatives in crackers natural. In fact, numerous studies link heavily processed foods like these to serious medical conditions like heart disease and cancer because of their unnatural ingredients.
It’s Essentially Intermittent Fasting
Another buzzword and diet trend in the industry right now is intermittent fasting, and the Military Diet is jumping on that bandwagon.
They link to a few scientific studies on their site that tout the efficacy of the program, but the problem is, these trials aren’t using participants who are following the three-day diet. Rather, they are linking to articles that show that intermittent fasting has some positive weight loss benefits, and using it to support their program.
The science around intermittent fasting is relatively new but promising. Although this program follows a similar structure to that style of eating, there are healthier and better ways to do it than the Military Diet.
Can I Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?
One of the most appealing claims of this program is that you can drop up to 10 pounds in a week. The site specifically says that the diet can help in a weight loss emergency, like a wedding or if you want to look good for your ex.
If you follow the program exactly, you likely will lose a lot of weight in your first week. And yes, it could total up to 10 pounds, but it’s not likely to stay off long-term.
Most of what you’ll initially drop is water weight, which can total five to 10 pounds for some people. Unfortunately, that loss won’t last nor does it translate into shedding any fat.
Most health experts agree that a safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds every week which will allow your body to burn fat and help you keep it off long-term.
Should I Try the 3-Day Military Diet
Despite its tempting claims, this program has all of the makings of an ineffective fad diet. Not only that, but the extreme caloric restriction required during the three-day periods may even be dangerously low for some people.
Successful weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, and while it’s likely you will drop pounds on this program, it won’t be pleasant.
You could experience dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea from cutting calories this low, and you will likely gain back any weight you’ve lost once you stop following the program.
Rather than trying this fad diet, instead, we recommend looking into ways to change your eating habits long-term. Try incorporating more vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fat into your meals, and work with a healthcare professional to determine how many calories you should consume daily.