With vacations around the corner, everyone wants to lose some weight quickly. It's the same during the wedding season or any special occasion for that matter. The Military Diet is presented as one such solution to this perennial problem. No, it isn't a diet planned by the army for the army! It is touted as a quickie for weight loss of up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) just in few days. It does not require you to exercise daily and it is absolutely free. The home site for the Military Diet claims “The food combinations in the Military Diet are designed to burn fat, kick start your metabolism and lose weight fast. In fact, the Military Diet is one of the best natural diets for rapid weight loss without a prescription.”
This diet is thought to have originated in the 1980's. The story goes that this was a regimen usually followed by the US military men who had a medical check-up coming up and needed to lose some weight fast. Other than the Military Diet there are a number of varieties of the 3-day diet such as the Fax Diet, Army Diet, Navy Diet. Cleveland Clinic Diet, and the AHA Diet. (Also read: GM Diet Deconstructed: Should You be Trying This One?)
The 3-day Military Diet plan works on 3 days of very low calories followed by four days of maintenance calories. It is like an intermittent fasting regimen where 3 days are regimented – the diet plan provides about 100 Kcal and four days are more liberal where the emphasis is on eating healthy meals made up of fresh fruits vegetables and adequate proteins and measured calories of around 1200 Kcal- 1500 Kcal.
Diet plan for 3 days includes:
Breakfast: 1 slice of wholegrain toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 cup of coffee or tea.
Lunch: A slice of whole grain toast, 1/2 cup of Tuna, 1 cup of coffee or tea
Dinner: 3-Oz (85 grams) serving of any meat, 1 cup of green beans, 1 small apple, 1/2 banana, 1 cup vanilla ice cream.
Breakfast: 1 slice of toast (whole grain), 1 hard-boiled egg, 1/2 banana.
Lunch: 1 hard-boiled egg, a cup of cottage cheese, 5 saltine crackers.
Dinner: 2 hot dogs without bun, 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream.
Breakfast: 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 5 saltine crackers, and an apple
Lunch: 1 slice of toast, one egg (hard boiled or cooked according to your likes)
Dinner: A cup of tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream. No snacks are allowed between meals, black coffee and green tea without sugar are allowed.
The official site for this diet provides a vegetarian option, substitution ideas and diet plans for the 4 days after these 3 days. The reasons cited for rapid weight loss is that this is a low calorie diet plan
, that it is a type of intermittent fasting and fasting changes the way the body works, and that the foods included in the diet plan kick start metabolism and promote fat burning.
Does it work? I don't know, but what I gathered from independent comments of users was that it worked for them, most were able to lose about 2 kilos upwards for the duration of the diet. The official site itself claims that weight loss may be subjective to each individual. A common problem all faced was hunger as there were no snacks for the 3 day duration. Some also complained of weakness and monotony of the meals.
Pros of this diet: It is basically a low calorie meal plan with no snacks in between. The meal plan tries to include fresh vegetables and fruits, limit the carbs and provide fiber.
(Also read: A 1200 Calorie Diet Plan for Weight Loss)
Very low calorie diets are known to slow down the metabolism
My take: Healthy weight loss is achieved through balanced meals and exercise, as advised by all health care providers. Research backed studies have shown that cutting back 500 Kcals per day induces a weight loss of about 1-2 pounds or 1/2 to 1 Kg per week, which is considered a healthy and sustainable weight loss. Very low calorie diets are known to slow down the metabolism and the practice of following such diets regularly may lead to serious nutritional deficiencies. There are no scientific studies to support fat loss versus only water loss on this diet. Another negative for me are the hot dogs. Definitely not a healthy choice by far. From an Indian perspective it may not work because we do not get grapefruit that easily and there is absolutely no substitute for that. However, I wouldn't mind trying it out for one week when I hit a plateau in weight loss, but definitely not more than once.
If you wish to succeed in attaining and maintaining your weight goals you need to be disciplined and steadfast. Short cut methods may do more harm than good. If any of the fad diets were the ultimate answer then obesity would not be a public health problem today. Eat, Sleep, Exercise.
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