Is the Military Diet Healthy? No!

We’re not fans of fad diets, but we like knowing what they are. We prefer to eat a variety of foods in reasonable amounts. But, we can certainly see the appeal of diets. That’s especially true around the New Year when we are all trying to make healthy changes. Taking steps for better health is admirable, but following fad diets can damage your health.

When we first heard about the Military Diet, we were interested, after all the armed forces feed their employees to be healthy and in great shape. We thought it might not be a fad but be a thought-out, comprehensive health plan. However, it has absolutely no backing from the military and doesn’t sound healthy in any way, shape or form. The nutritionists who designed the meal plans for the military have disavowed any connection to the fad.

In my 30 years working with the military, I’ve never heard of it,” Nutrition specialist Patricia Deuster, who developed the Special Operations forces nutrition guide. “We did not develop this. We do not use it. It has absolutely no resemblance to the real military diet. Even our rations are healthier and more nutritionally sound.”

The only thing that is military about it is that it is a strict diet that requires absolute dedication. The website of the diet uses the tagline of “Time to shape up or ship out!”

The Military Diet is an incredibly strict, very low-calorie three-day diet that supposedly makes you lose 10-pounds in a week. The official website says that you should be on the diet for three days and off for four and that people who do it will “lose up to 30 pounds.” The website also has a plan for what you should eat on your four days off — it’s still low-calorie. Any diet that has an official website is suspect to us. A healthy diet cannot be sold as one kit.

The diet requires you to count calories in coffee and includes it as a “food” in meals. A lunch, according to the plan, is a slice of toast with half a cup of tuna and one cup of coffee. The foods the diet promotes are not healthy. Saltine crackers, hot dogs and ice cream do not a balanced diet make. One “dinner” they tell people to eat is half a cup of canned chickpeas, half a banana and a cup of vanilla ice cream. The diet lacks nutrients, is high in sugar, saturated fat and salt and you eat only 1,400, 1,200 and 1,100 calories per day as the diet progresses.

It also has bizarre gimmick advice in it. It suggests that people who cannot eat the grapefruit prescribed by the diet instead drink a glass of water with baking soda because it claims consuming alkaline substances will promote weight loss. There is no science backing that claim.

While it claims the foods play a role in the resulting weight loss, nutritionists disagree. “It’s a calorie-controlled crash diet,” said registered dietitian Rachael Hartley. “There’s nothing special about the foods included.” Much of the weight a person would lose would be water weight. Despite its promises and very low-calorie allowance, over such a short period, the pounds you lose won’t be fat.

Instead of following this unbalanced, unhealthy diet, speak to your doctor or nutritionist about what’s right for you to lose weight or become healthier. They probably aren’t going to suggest hot dogs and ice cream as your best option!
January 20, 2020
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