Is the Military Diet Safe?
We've all heard of fad diets, diets flashing in bright, shiny letters: Lose 10 lbs fast! And sure enough, there are many people who attempt them every day.
One, in particular, I would like to survey is The Military Diet, also known as The Grapefruit Diet or The Coffee Diet. The synopsis of the diet is simple:
Eat a strict 3-day menu and take the other 4 days of the week off to eat as you normally would. Following this routine is supposed to allow the dieter to lose up to 10 lbs per week. Sounds pretty simple, right?
For anyone who has dieted before, it's not an easy game. Eating a salad with little dressing while all your friends chow down Big Macs can be downright miserable, especially the first week or so when you're starving your butt off.
It's really no surprise that fad diets were created. Everyone wants an easier, faster route to lose those last few pounds before the big wedding day or prom, but is there any truth to them?
Well sure, theoretically. Each person is different, for instance, someone who is 50 lbs overweight is going to have an easier go of it losing 5 lbs on a diet faster than somebody who is 10 lbs overweight, for example.
So back to the question at hand: Is the Military Diet codswallop, or is there actually some truth to the claim?
After having my son, I had some unwanted weight leftover to lose. I had heard of this diet in the past and decided to give it a try.
The Menu... Can You Handle It?
What strikes me the most about this diet is the lack of propaganda. This is one of the only diets I know of that doesn't claim that a product they created is going to be your miracle weight loss solution.
All of the menu items on this list can be bought at your local grocer for around 20 bucks. The menu, as seen below is very simple to make.
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast
- 1/2 grapefruit
- 1 cup coffee or tea (caffeinated)
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread or toast
- 1/2 cup tuna
- 1 cup coffee or tea (caffeinated)
- 3 ounces of ANY meat (about the size of a deck of cards)
- 1 cup green beans
- 1/2 banana
- 1 small apple
- 1 cup of vanilla ice cream (Does NOT have to be sugar-free)
- 1 egg (cooked how you like)
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast
- 1/2 banana
- Coffee or Tea
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 5 saltine crackers
- 2 hot dogs (no bun)
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 1 small apple
- 5 saltine crackers
- coffee or tea
- 1 slice whole wheat bread or toast
- 1 egg (cooked how you like)
- 1 cup tuna
- 1/2 banana
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
The menu items above don't seem too unhealthy, right? So let's break it down.
- The grapefruit in the diet is supposed to adjust your pH levels, bringing your liver in high gear to start breaking down fats.
- The proteins from the peanut butter and meats require more energy for your body to burn.
- The apples you eat on the diet have pectin in them, which supposedly limits the amount of fat your cells store.
Sure these things may help a bit, but when it comes down to it, it's always about the calories. 1 pound of fat is made up of 3500 calories.
The Military Diet only consists of consuming around 1000 calories during the 3-day menu. Add the fact that usually, even a mostly sedentary person can burn 1000 calories a day, and the diet will most definitely work.
Keeping those pounds that you lost once you stop the diet however can present a bit of a challenge. If you read on the website, it will tell you that this diet is considered a form of fasting. Any diet where you consume 1000 calories or less a day is a form of fasting.
When you go from consuming 2000 or more calories a day, and suddenly cut your intake in half, it's going to shock your system a bit and this can boost your metabolism and cause weight loss.
On the diet, to achieve maximum results, the dieter is told to only drink water, coffee, or tea. This will also, to be blunt, make you pee more, which is going to reduce the amount of water weight your body will hold in. So all in all, yes the diet can work, but how about keeping the weight off?
For the other 4 days of the week, you're encouraged to eat as you normally would. Well, that could be a recipe for failure. Many people will over-compensate for the lack of calories they consumed while on the diet.
The best way to really keep this weight loss off is going to be to follow a 1500-2000 calorie diet, and make sure to burn the calories you consume.
With any diet, you should always contact a doctor before beginning. Making sure your body can handle this kind of diet is incredibly important.
- If you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or too weak, discontinue the diet IMMEDIATELY
- Always give your body a break from exercise, your body needs at least 1 day a week to recuperate after intense dieting or working out.
- Make sure to stretch before and after working out, as keeping limber muscles will help to avoid muscle strains and spasms.
- 20 minutes a day of walking is considered a great exercise for those who are unable to do high-intensity workouts.
- Work up to a goal, if you are new to working out, start at low intensity. When you can do that without getting too winded or needing a break, it's time to take it to the next level. You'll be up to high intensity in no time!
I went to the grocery, pumped up and ready to diet my booty off. I bought all the items and began the diet the very next day.
The first day of the diet wasn't bad at all. I rationed my food, knowing that I only had a certain amount I could eat for that day. I went to bed that night feeling light and fit.
The next morning, I felt like an empty pit. I woke up to my stomach growling so I guzzled a cold bottle of water to try to fill what seemed to be the giant empty black hole in my belly. The small breakfast, along with the water and coffee seemed to take the edge off my hunger.
As the day progressed and I kept myself busy, I found it a bit easier to stop thinking about the huge Caramel Frappuccino I would love to down.
I finished out the day and went to bed, still feeling hungry but hoping that I had lost some weight.
The third day is without a doubt the hardest. My body felt weak and I felt tired most of the day.
The day after I finished, the first thing I did was go weigh myself, and TA-DA! I had lost 5 pounds!
I was super happy, but I made the mistake of over-compensating what I lacked in calories those few days. The next week I weighed and had gained 2 of the pounds back.
My Long-Term Plan
I did the diet every week for an entire month, and during the diet itself, I rarely had enough energy to do a high-powered workout, so I took those three days off and the rest of the week I ate around 1700 calories a day and worked out.
I found that seemed to be the ticket. In one month I lost 23 pounds. As the month progressed each time I followed the diet, I would see a bit less weight loss. Naturally, my body was getting used to it. So if I had any advice at all for someone looking to attempt this diet, I would suggest trying the diet every week for a month, then giving yourself a month off of it.
This diet, for me personally, gave me some structure. After finishing it, the next month I gave myself some restrictions, but I also gave myself one day a week where I could have pretty much whatever I wanted.
I think if you allow yourself a bit of a reward here and there, you're more likely to keep it up and not feel miserable.
Words of Advice
Any diet is difficult, even this one. Always have a feel for how your body is doing. It will tell you if you're able to handle it or not.
If this diet doesn't work for you, there are always more ways to lose weight. Don't get discouraged and give up. Allow the failures of past diets teach you the ways of the future. Remember, water is key to fitness.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will help to rinse your system. Finding 20 minutes a day to work out IS possible, maybe not every day, but aim for a few times a week to start.
Losing weight is not easy. It will take time but the more time it takes, usually, the longer it will stay off.
Lastly, dieting is changing your lifestyle, but don't let that make you think you can't have a splurge day here and there. Food is one of the simplest pleasures of life. Denying yourself completely is cruel.
A word from the author: If you don't hear it from someone today: Keep it up! You can do it! You're stronger than your cravings! And lastly, You're beautiful no matter what!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
jodie on July 03, 2018:
I did this diet the first time in the 80's and lost over 100lbs .. I didn't go back to eating the way I was the 4 days off.. what I did was eat lots of salad,, avoided sugary drinks and sugar.. and limited my bread .. my weight stayed off for years,, i went through some dramatic life changes started eating real bad and here I am in my 50's struggling.. I don't remember ever feeling weak on the diet but I also did not do a lot of exercising the days I was on the diet.. I exercised the days I was off and able to eat more .. not more calories so much but things like fresh veggies that kept my body happy. SO far so good.. I haven't weighed myself yet I will wait until the end of this week!! I will check back and let you know how it's going. The good news is there are substitutes you can use for example instead of 1 bread you can do 2 rice cakes which I prefer when doing tuna because I use only 1 rice cake .which is 35 cal.. and add my light mayo also 35 calories per tablespoon to my tuna,, the good news,, it only take about 1 1/2 teaspoons to keep the tuna from being so dry!! And for me well it keeps me from messing up as I can not do dry tuna!! I also sometimes sub the ice cream for Coconut Bliss or yogurt. But the ice cream again is an item that keeps me from straying as I feel like I get a little reward at the end of the day for being good and I LOVE Vanilla Ice Cream!
Debbie on November 15, 2017:
This diet works. Just google substitutes for Military Diet. I normally substitute two or three ingredients and it works exactly the same. I love the idea of substituting ingredients that still works instead of eating something I don't like. I'm starting the Military Diet tomorrow. I'm so exited! Can't wait to loose those kg.
Elisha on September 09, 2017:
I did it and I lost 4 kg. So happy
JonNeice on June 19, 2017:
The diet was working great! I started at 223.8 lbs. At the beginning of day 3, I was 218.4. I figured there's no way I could gain it back in a day. So, on day 4, I ate breakfast for day 1 of the diet. I had fried chicken strips for lunch. 1/3 pounder Angus burger for dinner, and a Super Supreme pizza from Pizza Hut at 11:15 pm. When I weighed myself the next day, I weighed 226 lbs!!! I urge you to stick to the calorie restrictions (1500) for days 4-7 of the diet or you will undo all your hard work.
Lynnette on June 02, 2017:
I cannot eat peanut butter what can I give as a substitute?
sharon on June 02, 2017:
hi i have used this diet lots it really does work if you are in england i use low cal cream crackers the other 4 days go on you tube they do a really easy meal plan i lost 101b in a week and i have tried every diet under the sun good luck everyone
witmerchewning on February 28, 2017:
You can learn how to incrase your muscles and flexibility from WooPep diet website site.
Tanvi on November 29, 2016:
no deosnt work
rrc on September 02, 2016:
ok very confused this diet is different in the original caloriebee diet - on first day it says 1 cup of ice cream and then the other two day 1/2 cup - on this web. it says a 1 cup on the third day - and both of these are caloriebee diets ??? help
Tania on September 02, 2016:
I lost the first week 2kg second week 4kg and the 3rd week pick up 400grams. WAS VERY DISAPPOINTING...
anamika on August 30, 2016:
this one is awesome i had tried it couple of month ago and i lost 5lbs in 3 days but due to spring break i started eating junk. i love whatever is there in the menu and i even walk for 20 minutes as fast as i can and guess what i started it again.
hope it also works this time
Monique Kassay on August 25, 2016:
I started the diet on Tuesday. I had to go out for dinner for a party , that was a challenge being at a party not eating or drinking anything but water ! But I did it . Day two was fine , now I'm on my last day. I did everything exactly as stated. I walked 3 miles the first day . I walked the third day and did yoga. I only have to finish tonight's dinner. I can't wait to see if it worked in the morning. I will let you know. If it worked, I will continue until I lose my 30lbs. I'm keeping my fingers crossed?
. on August 13, 2016:
I lost 9lbs on the 3 day diet.I walked for 20mins every day.
Luces on August 11, 2016:
The word from the author really touched my heart
Neb on August 03, 2016:
I love the foods so far, not the coffee but so far day one has been great. Recommend to anyone looking to loose a few pounds or more or even less.
Kya87 on July 26, 2016:
I am a 70 years old woman and I lost 5 pounds in the 3 days, and it never happen before with any other diet. Totally recommend.
Sal on July 01, 2016:
I did the 3-day diet and lost 3 pounds. It was really hard after day 2 and I felt really sick. By day 3, I was really, really hungry -- despite drinking lots of water. I felt dizzy and weak and don't think it was a good thing for my body as my blood sugar got too low. I think I will just continue to eat less food/more veggies and increase exercising.
Mali on June 16, 2016:
3rd day 5 lbs down.....but feeling so hungry and dizzy.....
Angela on June 13, 2016:
Day 1 of this diet for me . i work out every day and try to keep it clean . i just wanted to try something different. I don't have any expectations . just going to see how it goes. i think the difficult thing for me would be not eating as often as i used to. i used to eat every 2 hours . but having 3 staight meals a day seems ok. will see after 3 days!
frank on May 27, 2016:
i have tried this diet twice, and it has worked, but i would not recommend this diet.
Jamie on May 24, 2016:
I"m on day 2 and lost 5lbs already.
Sarah on May 09, 2016:
I want to try this out. If I do, after I'm done will I just gain the weight back from water weight?
Blair on May 09, 2016:
Malika let me know if it worked for 11 tools I have a 12 year old who needs it!!
Blair on May 09, 2016:
This diet is the only thing that has worked for me, I'm not sure if a kid could handle it or not, it is difficult!!
Malika on May 05, 2016:
Tell me now! Is this diet safe for an 11 year old otherwise I'm just doing it! I know I'm acting strict but I want to know lol.
Lu on March 13, 2016:
The coffee can have black sugar or have to be unsweet?
Dee on February 25, 2016:
This is Thursday and I'm down 6 lbs YAY!! Going to do it again in a few days!!
Dee on February 22, 2016:
Started this today! Will come back Thursday morning and post my results!
E on February 05, 2016:
Is this diet safe for a 13 year old girl?
cbryan on January 18, 2016:
I do not like eggs. can I substitue anything for the eggs?
edenportal on December 17, 2015:
I really want to know why we are supposed to eat a hotdog because once it is digested nitrites and nitrates can form nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer in test animals. To reduce it a tad they inject it full of chemicals.
Maggs on November 23, 2015:
I've done this diet. The first week I lost 8 lbs, second week I lost 6 lbs, third week I lost 5 lbs. I'm currently on my 4th week.
The first week was the hardest, i was hungry but I drank lots of water.
After the second week it was a piece of pie. I actually like this diet and will continue to use it until I've reached my weight goal.
I do a lot of walking and exercises which I think that's what has helped too.
Cindy on September 07, 2015:
started this dieted yesterday, following it exactly as is! Will be back on Wednesday morning with my results!
Leslie on August 29, 2015:
Im 4 weeks pregnant and im over weight, is it safe for me to do this diet?
Victoria on August 18, 2015:
I only lost 1,5 pounds, followed diet exactly. I was 138 the first morning before diet and on fourth day morning I was 136.5. Not worth it.
Ty on August 17, 2015:
Do you have to eat the meals exactly? For example, can I eat the toast from lunch with the toast and peanut butter from breakfast as one meal? Or, the two pieces of toast with the tuna? What I want to know is it okay to eat the plan out of order? I would still only eat what is required of the day.
Victoria on August 15, 2015:
Is this diet safe for 11 years old girl?
Chris on August 05, 2015:
This is day 3 for me and I just finished my last meal. Every morning I woke up hungry but today was the worst. I was hungry all day and what little I ate for each meal wasn't filling or satisfying in the least. I'm anxious to weigh tomorrow to see if I did lose anything. If so, I may try it again with a few small tweaks.
Ev on July 21, 2015:
would it change things drastically if I had one cup of coffee in the am of day 2 &3
anna on July 06, 2015:
Hi , I have lost 4 pound in 3 days, last day i didnt lose any i wonder why, but i didnt gain any back in 4 days , i started today again after 4 day break ....
anna on July 01, 2015:
I am on day 3 of this diet, i changed some things as i don't eat meat, first day i had salmon for dinner and instead of chewing grapefruit i made juice , it is easier for me just to drink it, also on day 2 and 3 i had one coffee as i was getting headaches.... but it is very good, i feel lighter, first day i lost 2 lb. and second day i also lost 2 lb., i am very happy, tomorrow is day 4 i will let you know how much i lost. I didn't drink much water ..... or did exercises, i didn't have time.... probably would lost more
d. frame on June 30, 2015:
I'm on my second go. I don't eat sugar or soda only water and cranberry juice so I didn't expect to lose 10, pounds. I hit my 7 pound goal. The third night was a bit tough waiting to weigh in I was dreaming of food lol but, pleased when I stepped on the scale.
Renee on June 29, 2015:
Day 1 for me... I just need to tell myself it is only 3 days and stay light and healthy over the weekend. Not being able to have a few adult beverages will be my challenge!
Joany on June 23, 2015:
Today is day one. Black coffee is not my thing, but so far I made it through breakfast and lunch. Three days a week seems easy enough. Will let you know.
Helen on June 20, 2015:
am in england so what can I use instead of saltine crackers and is the vanilla ice cream low fat low sugar or any vanilla ice cream?
Penny Ostby on June 19, 2015:
Looking forward to try this one. Me and my husband.
connie on June 12, 2015:
Definitely going to try this
Martha on June 11, 2015:
Can I use milk for my tea or coffe?
Heaven on May 25, 2015:
Is this a hoax
Claire on May 24, 2015:
I lost eight pounds (and I cheated my third day) so it is a good diet. It's not miserable, and I didn't even feel particularly starved. I don't mind it and it works.
Dee on May 22, 2015:
Well I just have to say, I did this 3 day diet to the letter and thankfully I have to report I have lost 7 pounds in the three days. I will try my hardest to eat light and healthy for the next 4 and do this again. I'm very glad I tried thus diet.
Wanda on May 20, 2015:
I gained a pound. Hopeless!!
Debbie on May 20, 2015:
Can Chicken be substituted for tuna???nota tuna fan
Panda on May 19, 2015:
Trying this out, today was day 1. Feel great after completing meals and an hour workout.
virginika on May 08, 2015:
can a diabetic be safe doing this diet?
Valerie on May 07, 2015:
First day lost 4 lbs
camile on May 06, 2015:
I lost 8lb the first week and 6 the following week. On the 3 day the 1/2 bananas instead of the egg. Couldn't take eating egg again.
Georgia on April 24, 2015:
I did the military diet 280lbs when I started followed except for drinking a lot of water when I weighed on day 4 I was 275 lost 5lbs in three days I am doing it again this week following it exactly it works
unnati on April 19, 2015:
You r not wrong. I had same experience but at the day four I lost 4 lbs and I was surprised and happy. So keep doing it.
amirah on April 19, 2015:
I'm on the 3rd day of the diet and cheekily weighed myself and so far NO weightloss. I am really active with going gym 5-6 days a week and usually eat about 1500-1800 calories so I was really expecting some loss. I also drink over 2 litres of water everyday and have done for over 10 years. SO where am I going wrong? :(
Cyn on April 16, 2015:
Catkas did you lose any inches?
Catkas on April 16, 2015:
I lost 7 pounds in the 3 days, and it never happen before with any other diet. Totally recommend
jane on April 15, 2015:
I don't understand how the substatutes are sometimes less or more than the other when its all about the calories very condradictive !
Colonel on April 11, 2015:
you forgot to list the penut butter on day one for breakfast
Dianna on April 10, 2015:
Can someone with Type 2 Diabetes do this diet...?
Chloe on April 09, 2015:
Substation for a Hot Dog is any 3 oz of lean meat.
christiana on April 03, 2015:
Can I do this diet and take hcg drops?
Ann on February 09, 2015:
If u type millatary diet online it will tell u substitutions
Ann on December 31, 2014:
If there any food you can have beside hot dogs? please help.
Idalia R. on October 25, 2014:
If I'm doing weights in the morning and doing this diet, can I drink amino acids or Whey protein(both with water) ?
Giggles0805 on July 22, 2014:
@Um Abdulaziz - I have not done the diet yet, but i have been pregnant before and I can tell you that you should NOT go on this diet unless you doctor tells you otherwise. You need a healthy amount of calories a day to keep you and your little one energized. 1000 calories is not enough.
Um Abdulaziz on July 18, 2014:
can a pregnant women do the military diet. how much is it safe in pregnancy.
PATIENCE on April 24, 2014:
I have tried this diet and it has worked. I just think after reaching your you have to eat health or else you will gain the weight back.
CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on April 08, 2014:
I love grapefruit and coffee but maybe the diet is not for me. Sounds interesting though and I know some people who might be interested. So, passing it along.