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Military Diet: Is It Worth Following?


Don’t think that Military Diet is a diet plan for army men to boost themselves for wars. It is an efficient 3-day diet plan.

One can lose up to 4.5 kg within 7 days easily and quickly. You can lose weight without spending your whole life in the gym for workouts and in pharmacies to buy weight loss potions.

It is useful for people who are in an emergency to reduce weight for any special events like weddings and parties.

Military Diet – A Small View

Military Diet also known as a 3-day diet, helps you to lose up to 10 pounds in a week without straining yourself.

It is another version of the intermittent fasting diet. The plan[1] has a calorie-restricted meal plan for the first 3 days and then regular eating for 4 days.

The first 3 days are referred to as “On days”, and the remaining 4 days are referred to as “Off days.”

The follower has to follow this diet plan in a weekly cycle for a month or until they reach their goal weight.

In the first three days, the calorie intake should be 1,000 to 1,400 calories based on height and BMI.

You should not follow the diet for more than 3 days but can repeat the diet after having a gap in-between for 4 days till you reach your goal weight.

Don’t follow the diet for more than 3 days continuously.

How Does Military Diet Work?

The Military Diet has 2 phases 7 The days first 3 days of the diet have separate meal plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without in-between snacks.

For the remaining 4 days one follows the regular diet. The first 3 days have extreme restrictions and the following 4 days have limited restrictions.

As the military diet is a low-calorie diet, one should consult the doctor before starting it. This diet is helpful for people who want to reduce unwanted fats quickly.

One can try this diet if they can fight hunger and can stick with a few calories.

Sample Meal Plan Of Military Diet

For all three days, there are no restrictions on tea and coffee. But you could avoid[2] adding milk or sugar to it.

You must drink plenty of water on all three days. If it is not comfortable in drinking plain water lemon can be infused.

But sweeteners should be avoided. You can have 3 meals without snacks for the first 3 days, and 3 meals and 2 snacks between the meals for the last 4 days.

Day 1 of Military Diet

On day 1 of the military diet, the calorie intake would be around 1,400 calories.

For breakfast, you can take a slice of bread toasted with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and half a grapefruit if you wish, you can also take a cup of tea or coffee.

Lunch can consist of a slice of bread toast and half a cup of tuna and if you wish you can take a cup of coffee or tea.

For dinner, you can take 85 grams of meat, a cup of green tea, a half banana, a small apple, and one cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 2 of Military Diet

On day 2 of the military diet, the calorie intake would be around 1,200 calories.

For breakfast, you can have a slice of toast, half a banana, a hard-boiled egg, and a cup of tea or coffee.

Lunch could consist of a cup of cottage cheese, a hard-boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers, and a cup of tea or coffee.

For dinner, take 2 hotdogs without a bun, half a banana, half a cup of carrots, half a cup of broccoli, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream.

Day 3 of Military Diet

On day 3 of the military diet, the calorie intake would be around 1,100 calories.

For breakfast, you can take a 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese, a small apple, 5 saltine crackers, and a cup of coffee or tea.

For lunch, you can take a slice of toast, an egg, and a cup of coffee or tea.

Dinner can consist of half a banana, a cup of tuna, and 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.

Remaining 4 Days

After completing the restricted diet for 3 days, you can eat whatever you like for the remaining 4 days.

But you should remember that the calorie intake is under 1,500 calories. You could take balanced meals. Drink plenty of water every day as it may help in weight loss, as per this study[3].

Food Swaps

The above-given list is just an example, you can change the items as per hour taste. If you are a vegetarian, you can go with almonds in place of tuna.

Also, almond butter or sunflower seed butter could be a replacement for peanut butter if you are allergic to it.

But keep in mind that the calorie count should not exceed the given limit in your diet plan.

Healthy Substitutions

  • Instead of wheat toast, you can try a small portion of whole grains[4] (like quinoa or brown rice) or something unprocessed and rich in carbohydrates like a baked sweet potato. Alternatively, you can also take a ¼ cup of yogurt mixed with a teaspoon[5] of flax seeds.
  • Instead of taking sugary items like ice cream, you could try something else. You can make sweet substitutions to ice cream with raw cocoa powder and vanilla extract by blending them with yogurt or frozen banana.
  • If you are a vegetarian you can try hemp, brown rice, soaked beans, pea protein powder, nuts, seeds, tempeh, and whole grains like quinoa, farro, amaranth, or buckwheat instead of meat and dairy products.
  • You can use goat milk yogurt to replace cow’s milk yogurt. Because goat milk is easy[6] to digest especially when it is fermented.
  • If you are allergic to dairy products, you can replace cheese with eggs, fish, meat, or soaked beans, to get proteins.
  • You can replace tuna fish with pasture-raised eggs, pasture-raised turkey, or any other type of fish if you don’t like tuna.

Benefits Of Military Diet

  • The best benefit of a military diet is it does not need anything expensive. It does not change your eating habits, as it has to be followed only for 3 days and doesn’t need heavy exercise.
  • With a military diet, one can check the functioning of the metabolism and also can ensure the metabolism can keep adapting to change.
  • The diet is easy to follow. All the items can be bought and prepared easily. It does not require any cooking skills to prepare the food.

Risks Of Military Diet

  • The military diet follows extreme restrictions for the first 3 days which could result in malnutrition.
  • Lack of nutrition can cause starvation mode. It is a metabolic state when the body starts to burn fewer calories as it realizes calorie intake is very low. Following the military diet for a prolonged time may cause damage[7] to the body.
  • Hunger increases rapidly as fewer calories are used in essential processes like tissue repairing, producing hormones, physical activities, cognitive functions, digestion, and libido.
  • If a person loses a certain amount of weight in a short duration, the liver will release more cholesterol into bile which results[8] in gallstones which may cause abdominal pain. It may also cause severe issues if left unattended.
  • As the diet has strict restrictions, the follower has to fight hunger for three days. So he/she may consume more food after hitting the goals. There are chances of weight regaining.
  • Even though the military diet is claimed as one of the natural diets, it does not have any scientific evidence.
  • If the user is recovering from any eating disorder like adrenal fatigue, the military diet is not a good idea. Because it may worsen[9] the existing problem and prolongs the recovery.
  • If you are an athlete, you may face difficulties in recovering from exercise because of low-calorie intake and depleted glycogen stores.
  • The calorie deficit could lead[10] to loss of energy too. This may result in concentration troubles, headaches, weakness of muscles, cravings, and digestion problems.


The military diet has both pros and cons. You could try the diet only if you have the ability and willpower to fight against hunger.

You should consult your doctor and ask for their suggestions before attempting this diet. But you can lose weight without straining your body.

If you are okay with everything, you can enjoy your happiest journey of life with a slim body.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Chrysi Koliaki, Theodoros Spinos, Μarianna Spinou, et al. Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults Healthcare (Basel). 2018 Sep; 6(3): 73.Published online 2018 Jun 28. doi: 10.3390/healthcare6030073
  2. Magdalena Czlapka-Matyasik, Marta Lonnie, Lidia Wadolowska, et al. “Cutting Down on Sugar” by Non-Dieting Young Women: An Impact on Diet Quality on Weekdays and the Weekend Nutrients. 2018 Oct; 10(10): 1463.Published online 2018 Oct 9. doi: 10.3390/nu10101463
  3. Jodi D Stookey, Florence Constant, Barry M Popkin, et al. Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Nov;16(11):2481-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.409. Epub 2008 Sep 11. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787524/
  4. Kevin C. Maki, Orsolya M. Palacios, Katie Koecher, et al. The Relationship between Whole Grain Intake and Body Weight: Results of Meta-Analyses of Observational Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials Nutrients. 2019 Jun; 11(6): 1245.
    Published online 2019 May 31. doi: 10.3390/nu11061245
  5. M Mohammadi-Sartang, Z Mazloom, H Raeisi-Dehkordi, et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials Obes Rev. 2017 Sep;18(9):1096-1107. doi: 10.1111/obr.12550. Epub 2017 Jun 21. Available from:
  6. Amber M. Milan, Alison J. Hodgkinson, Sarah M. Mitchell, et al. Digestive Responses to Fortified Cow or Goat Dairy Drinks: A Randomised Controlled Trial Nutrients. 2018 Oct; 10(10): 1492.Published online 2018 Oct 12. doi: 10.3390/nu10101492
  7. David Benton and Hayley A. Young Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight Perspect Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep; 12(5): 703–714.Published online 2017 Jun 28. doi: 10.1177/1745691617690878
  8. Gallstones Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones
  9. Bo Hye Kim, Yena Joo, Min-Seon Kim, et al. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Circulating Levels and Circadian Rhythms of Hormones Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2021 Aug; 36(4): 745–756.Published online 2021 Aug 27. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2021.405
  10. Kevin D. Hall What is the Required Energy Deficit per unit Weight Loss? Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Mar; 32(3): 573–576.Published online 2007 Sep 11. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803720

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