What if someone told you that you could lose 10 pounds a week…while eating ice cream? Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s the alluring sell behind the Military Diet, a strict eating regimen that’s been sweeping the Internet over the past few months. The rules: Follow a rigid meal plan for three days, then do four days of maintenance and watch as the pounds “melt away” by the end of the week. People are driving this trend forward with viral before-and-after pictures showcasing impressive changes. But is this really a healthy way to lose weight? We got to the bottom of this much-talked-about plan.
What the Military Diet Is All About
No shocker here: It turns out that the Military Diet isn’t quite the unique weight loss solution it’s made out to be. “This [diet concept] has been dressed up differently and brought out to dance before,” says Kimberly Gomer, R.D., director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center. In other words, a restrictive three-day plan is nothing new in the health industry. According to websites dedicated to the diet plan, the three-day Military Diet prescribes the following meal plan.
Military Diet: Day One
To get started, you’ll prep a half grapefruit, slice of toast, scoop of peanut butter and some coffee for breakfast. And for lunch, it’s tuna, toast and more coffee (or caffeinated tea). On the dinner menu: three ounces of meat, a cup of green beans, half a banana, a small apple and, yup, a cup of vanilla ice cream.
Military Diet: Day Two
This is where things get especially interesting. For breakfast you’ll have an egg, a slice of toast and half a banana. For lunch, another hard-boiled egg, some saltines and a cup of cottage cheese. Then for dinner, have those hot dogs handy. You’ll eat two mystery tubes plus some fruits and veggies, finished off with more vanilla ice cream.
Military Diet: Day Three
On the last day of the diet, you’ll cut calories down to approximately 1,100 in the following breakdown. For breakfast, five saltines, an ounce of cheddar cheese and a small apple. Up next, just one egg and slice of toast for lunch. Then for the grand finale, a cup of tuna, half of a banana and one last cup of vanilla ice cream.
Once you complete the three-day diet, you’re supposed to eat and exercise normally for the next four days. “What I found interesting is that this diet allows for almost 1,500 calories, which is a pretty normal weight management diet,” says Gomer. “It’s not a crazy 800-calorie crash diet.” But its promises aren’t all they appear to be.