The world is filled with an endless amount of diets and nutrition fads. One such diet is the 3 Day Military Diet. This diet centers on rapid weight loss claims through low-calorie, "chemically compatible" foods. But does this diet actually work, and is it healthy for you?
In the mind of a dietitian, much of this diet is considered unhealthy and misleading. A few of the most prominent questionable elements include the timeframe, a disregard for overall health, and an extreme calorie deficit.
Weight Loss Time Frame
The diet boasts users can lose up to 10 pounds in one week. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states healthy and safe weight loss occurs at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Advertising a 10-pound weight drop in one week is misleading as that weight is most likely to be water weight and is unlikely to occur for most people unless they are morbidly obese.
Where's the Health?
While on this diet, one must follow a guided diet for three days, and then they can eat foods of choice for four days. The guided diet includes foods such as ice cream and hot dogs. Although ice cream can fit into a healthy diet, including hot dogs is a clear indication the 3 Day Military Diet solely focuses on caloric intake and not the whole macro and micronutrient offerings of foods included. When working with individuals trying to lose weight, calories aren't everything; individuals must consider the whole nutrition profile of the foods they eat, which is a fact this diet overlooks.
When people consume fewer calories than they burn, they will lose weight. However, this diet's recommendations put individual daily calorie intake around 1,000 calories for three days. This is concerning as 1,000 calories may not be enough for all individuals to function adequately. Additionally, consuming only 1,000 calories increases the risk for nutrient deficiencies.
Despite the negative components above that generally make the diet ill-advised, a few pros do exist. The diet only lasts three days, meaning it is unlikely to cause extreme or permanent damage. Additionally, there is some variety in the required foods, and the diet contains fruits and vegetables which provide some vitamins and minerals.
For a dietitian, this diet would not qualify as a healthy eating pattern. However, there are many other opinions of the 3 Day Military Diet from others to consider.
Women's Health Magazine states the diet provides, "...poor nutrition, a slowed metabolic rate, muscle loss, rebound weight gain, and a terrible relationship with food." Additionally, EatingWell Magazine questions the "food combination" strategy of the diet, stating little to no evidence exists that specific food pairing will promote weight loss.
First Hand Reports
Individuals who have actually tried the diet offer mixed reviews. One participant reported only losing 2.2 pounds and feeling socially limited due to the dietary restrictions. However, another individual who reported losing 8.5 pounds made some dietary substitutions to make the diet more manageable.
Other Dietitian Opinions
Registered Dietitian, Rachael Link, gives the diet a grade of "D." Her main qualms with the diet are that consuming only 1,000 is unhealthy, the diet fosters an unhealthy relationship with food, it can actually lead to weight gain, no evidence exists of fat burning foods, and foods in the diet have low nutrient density.
3 Day Military Diet
The 3 Day Miliary Diet can be lumped in with many of the craze diets that have surfaced over the years. Although it is unlikely to cause severe damage to individuals, the diet cannot meet up to its promises and contains many unhealthy recommendations. Before initiating this, or any diet, always consult with your doctor.