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What is the Military Diet: A Beginner’s Guide to the 3-Day Plan

A comprehensive guide for beginners on how to follow the military diet plan, including what to eat and avoid, as well as substitutes for the restricted food items.

Rosie Ford
What is the Military Diet: A Beginner’s Guide to the 3-Day Plan
Table Of Contents

The military diet is a short-term weight loss plan involving eating specific foods for three days and then reverting to a regular diet for the remaining four days of the week. The military diet is sometimes also called the 3-day diet. It is said to help people lose up to 10 pounds in a week, though results will vary depending on a person's starting weight and other factors.

The military diet is based on the principle of calorie restriction, which requires eating fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. The diet includes foods that are low in fat and protein, as well as foods that are low in calories and rich in nutrients.

Some people find the military diet challenging to stick to, but if you can commit to following it for three days out of the week, it can be an effective way to jump-start your weight loss journey.

This article will explore how a military plan works, its benefits, and the foods it consists of.

How Does the Military Diet Work?

The 3-day military diet is split into two phases: a three-day low-calorie phase and a four-day phase of moderate calorie intake. In the three-day phase, you eat only 1,100–1,400 calories daily. The food choices are limited to specific items.

This phase is followed by a four-day phase of moderate calorie intake, where you eat around 1,500 calories per day. You can choose your foods during this phase, but you should still limit yourself to healthy options. The 3-day military diet is not recommended for long-term weight loss, but it can be a helpful way to start your weight loss journey.

The Military Diet Meal Plan

The Military Diet meal plan is divided into a 3-day meal plan. It is simple and includes only a limited selection of foods.

The 3-Day Meal Plan:

While there are many different types of meals, it includes some commonly prescribed meals:

  • You can choose toast or saltine crackers, peanut butter, grapefruit, apples, or bananas for breakfast.
  • You can choose toast or saltine crackers, hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, or cottage cheese for lunch.
  • And for dinner, you can have meat, hot dogs without a bun, canned tuna, green beans, carrots, broccoli, apples or bananas, and vanilla ice cream.

The recommended amount of these meals decreases with time. On the first day, your calorie intake starts at roughly 1400 calories per day and eventually falls to 1100 calories by the end of the last day.

Remaining Four Days:

Once you're past the 3-days, the strict part of the meal plan is over. There are no specific rules for the remaining four days of the diet, but that doesn't mean you are allowed to follow an unhealthy eating pattern. It will help if you maintain 1500 calories daily for the remaining four days.

Who Should Avoid Military Diet?

The military diet is said to help people lose weight quickly, but it is not suitable for everyone. People with blood sugar problems, such as diabetes, should avoid the military diet. The military diet can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate rapidly, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes.

In addition, pregnant or breastfeeding people should also avoid the military diet. It is also unsuitable for people with kidney or liver disease. This is because the military diet puts extra strain on these organs. Finally, people with eating disorders should avoid the military diet, as it can perpetuate unhealthy notions about food and weight loss.

Is the Military Diet Based On Solid Evidence?

The military diet is said to be inspired by the eating habits of soldiers, who need to sustain themselves on minimal rations. The diet is very low in calories and fats and high in protein.

However, no scientific evidence supports the military diet as an effective weight loss plan. However, some experts say that the restrictions can lead to healthy eating habits, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods. And because the diet is only meant to last for one week, it may not be harmful if followed carefully.

If you're considering trying the military diet, talk to your doctor first to ensure it's right.

Disadvantages of the Military Diet

There are certain disadvantages and risks associated with the military diet meal plan. Here's what you need to know.

  • The military diet is very restrictive and requires you to eat specific foods in specific quantities.
  • The diet is low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat, leading to fatigue, hunger, and cravings.
  • The diet does not provide all the nutrients your body needs, which can lead to deficiencies.
  • The diet is not sustainable in the long term and is not recommended for people who want to lose weight and keep it off.

Substitutes of Military Diet

The foods allowed on the military diet are said to boost metabolism and promote fat burning. Common foods include grapefruit, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, and toast. While the military diet may help some people lose weight, it is not a sustainable or healthy way to eat over the long term.

Substituting military diet foods with healthier alternatives may help you stick to your weight loss goals without sacrificing your health.

For example, instead of eating grapefruit, you could eat an orange, which contains similar metabolism-boosting properties but is also packed with vitamins and fiber. Cottage cheese can be replaced with Greek yogurt, and boiled eggs can be swapped for egg whites. Choose whole grain toast instead of white bread, and top your toast with avocado or nut butter for added protein and healthy fats.

These simple substitutions will help you stick to your military diet goals while getting the nutrients your body needs.


1. What is a military diet?

The military diet, also called the 3-day diet, is a weight loss diet that can help you lose up to 10 pounds in a week. The military diet plan involves a 3-day meal plan followed by 4 days off, and you can repeat the weekly cycle until you reach your goal weight.

2. What can you eat on the military diet?

There are a few different versions of the military diet, but most of them allow you to eat foods such as fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, tuna, and crackers. You are also allowed to drink water and black coffee on a diet.

3. How does the military diet work?

The military diet works by severely restricting your calorie intake for 3 days, which forces your body to burn stored fat for energy. Although you will likely feel hungry, sticking to the plan to see results is essential.

4. Are there any risks associated with the military diet?

There are no significant risks associated with the military diet, but speaking with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program is essential. Additionally, the military diet may not suit people with certain medical conditions or food allergies.

5. How can I make sure I stick to the military diet?

There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success on the military diet:

  • Plan by prepping your meals for the week on Sunday. This will make it easier to stick to the plan during the week.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this will help to keep hunger at bay.
  • Exercising regularly will help boost your metabolism and burn more calories.


The Military Diet is a calorie-restricted plan that may help you lose weight quickly. However, this diet has some drawbacks, such as its lack of variety and evidence-based benefits. If you're looking to follow a weight loss plan, you must consult your doctor or a registered dietitian first and focus on making healthy diet changes that you can stick with long-term.

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Rosie Ford

Rosie began her career in communications as a writer and later as a communications coordinator for renowned university of South Carolina. She is also trained in the field of article writing specially related to fitness and yoga.

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