The 3-day Military Diet is news to me, and until researching for this article I’d never heard of it. This coming from the child of two parents who served a combined 42 years in the Navy should be an indicator that maybe this diet doesn’t have the credentials it’s marketing itself to be.
First off, the diet calls for three days following a precise diet plan with precise foods. This right here should be an indicator that something is off because every person has different caloric needs. A 300 pound man who consumes 5000 calories a day and is suddenly forced to consume 1400 is certainly going to lose weight, but in a wholly unhealthy way that could result in fatigue and will likely lead to the body going into “starvation mode.” This is a very real biological response that drastically slows our metabolic processes when our body thinks there is a dangerous food shortage. Because of starvation mode, any weight loss will be very short-lived as the body seeks to preserve whatever fat it has. On the other side of the coin, a person who ordinarily eats around 1400 calories a day on a regular basis but is overweight because of a sedentary lifestyle won’t see much benefit from the diet plan, but rather from the exercise that is supposed to accompany it.
Essentially, what makes up the food of the diet is a bunch of high-fat foods in small quantities. This is ironic, given that the main claim behind the “Military Diet” is that the foods are arranged in “fat burning combinations.” The main drawback behind this method is that you are left feeling pretty hungry after all of these meals. Because these high-fat foods are all very calorie-dense, you don’t really get to eat very much with each meal, meaning that sticking to the diet will be a very difficult prospect. No wonder it only lasts for three days.
After the three days of dieting, you’re supposed to eat normally and exercise for the next four days before repeating. The reason this diet is getting so much traction is not for its inherent ability to help people lose weight, but because it allows people to consume things we all know are unhealthy. Hot dogs and ice cream are about as connected to a healthy lifestyle as E. L James is to Shakespeare. What draws people to it are its unhealthiness, allowing people “diet” without stopping to think: “Hey, maybe decades of doctors saying hot dogs are unhealthy knew what they were talking about.”