In the past week alone, I’ve had two guys come up to me in the gym and ask me about The Military Diet. Usually I’m aware of the various fad diets that pop up now and then because clients always ask about them, but this one I had never heard of.

The guys who asked me about it were intrigued by The Military Diet because it’s a strict 3 day diet that promises 10 pounds of weight loss in a single week.

Ya, that’s right…

10 pounds of weight loss in a week from a 3 day diet.

Suffice it to say that I already had formed a negative opinion of this “miracle” diet before I had researched it, but for the sake of educating our audience, I put in the legwork and did some research (that’s how much I love you guys).

So what did I find?

Is The Military Diet just another fad diet with big promises that fails to deliver?

Or have the creators of The Military Diet finally discovered the holy grail of weight loss that defies the laws of physics and allows you to lose 10 pounds in just a week?

Let’s find out.

Where Did The Military Diet Come From?

Like most fad diets, The Military Diet comes with a promising story that makes it more fun to believe in its fairy tale weight loss promises.

As legend has it, The Military Diet was created by nutritionists in the US Military whose goal was to quickly transform legions of soldiers into lean, mean fighting machines.

Ah yes, the classic formula: some sort of “expert” – or group of experts – discovers a special weight loss tactic that until now was kept secret from the public.

That’s pretty much as far as the story goes, though, and as far as I can tell, there’s no truth to it. But hey, a fabricated backstory never stopped a diet from gaining massive popularity before, so why start now?

The First 3 Days Of The Diet

Here’s the gist of The Military Diet…

For 3 days in a row, you follow a very strict, low calorie meal plan. Here’s what that meal plan looks like:

Day 1

Breakfast

  • A slice of toast.
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
  • Half a grapefruit.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Lunch

  • A slice of toast.
  • Half a cup of tuna.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Dinner

  • A 3 ounce serving of meat.
  • A cup of green beans.
  • A small apple.
  • Half a banana.
  • One cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 2

Breakfast

  • A slice of toast.
  • A hard boiled egg.
  • Half a banana.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Lunch

  • A hard boiled egg.
  • A cup of cottage cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Dinner

  • Two hot dogs with no bun.
  • Half a cup of carrots.
  • Half a cup of broccoli.
  • Half a banana.
  • Half a cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 3

Breakfast

  • One ounce of cheddar cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • A small apple.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Lunch

  • A slice of toast.
  • One egg.
  • A cup of coffee or tea.

Dinner

  • A cup of tuna.
  • Half a banana.
  • A cup of vanilla ice cream.

OK, so first impressions…

This 3 day meal plan looks like the diet of a guy in prison who’s forced to give half of his food away so he doesn’t get beaten up. Seriously, one egg and slice of toast for lunch?? A can of tuna and half a banana?

I guess there’s some vanilla ice cream and hot dogs in there, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why. Is there some magical weight loss ingredient in hot dogs and vanilla ice cream that I’m unaware of? I’m betting not.

Do hot dogs and ice cream have magical weight loss properties? No.

Do hot dogs and ice cream have magical weight loss properties? No.

The real crime here is that even though you’re ALREADY on a very strict low calorie diet, the food choices are just mind boggling…

Foods like hot dogs and ice cream are terribly unsatisfying for the amount of calories they contain, and this diet has you eating nearly 30% of your calories as ice cream on Day 1!

Not to mention to paltry amounts of vegetables included in the diet…

Half a cup of broccoli? Really, you can’t even let these dieters ingest a full cup of hunger-satiating broccoli because of the extra 15 calories?

To fully convince you what a terrible idea this diet is, I took the liberty of logging each of these days in FatSecret to find out exactly how many calories you’d be getting as well as the macronutrient profile.

Here’s what it came to:

Day 1

1015 calories
38 grams of fat
110 grams of carbs
66 grams of protein

Day 2

1150 calories
61 grams of fat
88 grams of carbs
64 grams of protein

Day 3

747 calories
26 grams of fat
68 grams of carbs
59 grams of protein

The Military Diet?

Looks more like The Starvation Diet to me.

If you average out the total calorie intake over the 3 days, you’re getting only 970 calories per day. That’s an extremely low level of calories for your average guy and is likely going to make you feel like shit during the whole 3 day dieting period.

Not to mention the ridiculously low levels of protein you’re getting…

With only 60 grams of protein per day on average, you would be losing muscle at an alarmingly fast rate.

If you’re doing any sort of strength training (which you should be), then you can expect your lifting numbers to be plummeting due to this low level of protein intake. That’s IF you have the energy to actually work out at all on this diet.

Hey, at least we know where some of the weight loss comes from! You’ll be burning off muscle at super speed.

The Remaining 4 Days

So if The Military Diet is a grueling, food-restrictive, super low-calorie diet for 3 days of the week, then surely you get some sort of break from the madness on the remaining 4 days you’re NOT on the diet.

But… you don’t.

The guidelines for The Military Diet simply call for you to follow a less strict diet (in terms of food choices), but still require you to stay below 1500 calories per day.

In other words, it’s 7 full days of low calorie eating, except that for 3 of those days you’re restricted to the specific foods in the meal plan.

Wait, you mean this diet is just based on low calorie eating 7 days a week – that’s the secret?

Excuse me one moment while I go and slam my head against the desk a few times…

Yes, if you eat a low calorie diet every day of the week, then you will lose weight. We’ve covered this principle multiples times on our blog here at Caliber Fitness.

But you certainly won’t be losing 10 pounds of fat within a week unless you’re extremely overweight, and even then, the initial weight loss is going to be mostly water.

Conclusion

If I haven’t been clear enough about my contempt for fad diets such as The Military Diet throughout this article, let me be state it outright:

The Military Diet is garbage.

It’s a complete waste of your time and if you’re considering following this diet – or any other fad diet like it – then I suggest you seriously reevaluate your approach to dieting overall.

If you continue to jump from one fad diet to another, hoping each time that you’ve finally found the miracle you’ve been searching for, then you’re going to spinning your wheels forever, endlessly yo-yo dieting without ever seeing the long-term results you really want.

Instead, learn the fundamental principles of proper dieting and free yourself from fad diets, “magical” foods, and overblown promises.

Then and only then will you finally be able to get the kinds of results you’re looking for.

Are there any other fad diets you’d like me to review? Let me know in the comments!

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A QUICK START TO FLEXIBLE DIETING
Get the exact 3 meal plans we used to help one of our clients lose 24 pounds using the principles of flexible dieting.