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Nutrition » Diets » 7 Day Military Diet Plan: Understanding This Quick Fix Weight Loss Method

7 Day Military Diet Plan: Understanding This Quick Fix Weight Loss Method

7 day military diet plan

What Is the 7 day Military Diet?

Losing weight fast is a dream for everyone struggling to shed pounds for health reasons or possibly to achieve a desired physique. There are some fad diets which encourage rapid weight loss within a very short time that you might be considering using just to hasten the process. 7 day military diet plan is one of such eating plans which assure people of speedy outcomes when they follow it precisely as designed.

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Is the 7 day military diet safe? While proponents of fad diets concentrate on selling the positives, rarely do they let you in on the risks that are involved in following such weight loss meal plans. Find out everything there is to know about the 7 day military diet plan, including how it works, what to eat, pros, cons, and if it is safe for you to try.

Also referred to as the 3 day diet, the army diet, navy diet, and the ice cream diet, this is a low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein weight loss meal plan that entails a 3-day meal plan followed by 4 days off to help you lose considerable weight in just a week. Usually, this weekly cycle is repeated until you attain your weight goal. According to some proponents, the military diet meal plan was designed by the US military nutritionist for the soldiers to get into top shape quickly (12) However, this is just a myth. This diet is not in any way affiliated with any army or government institution.

How Does the 7 day Military Diet Work?

This meal plan is divided into 2 phases over a week. The first phase has the first 3 days, whereby you have to follow the designed low-calories meal plan for the 3 main meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Note that it does not allow snacking in between the meals.

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meal plan fo a 7 day military diet
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7 Day Military Diet Plan: Nutrition

The 7 day military diet plan is high in protein and low in carbohydrate, fats, and calories. While a healthy, average adult should take between 1600 and 3000 calories depending on gender, physical activity, and age, the ideal daily calorie intake for this plan is between 1,100–1,400 calories for the first 3 days (16). The second phase which covers the remaining 4 days, is less restrictive. It entails eating healthy while maintaining low-calorie intake.

7 Day Military Diet Plan: Menu

This weight loss plan specifies what one should eat, when, and in what quantities. The meal plan for a 7 day military diet is as follows:

1st phase: very restrictive first 3 days (16)

Here, you cannot take more than what is recommended.

7 day military diet plan
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Day 1

Breakfast

  • 1 slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
  • ½ a grapefruit.
  • A cup of coffee or tea (optional).

Lunch

  • A slice of toast.
  • ½ a cup of tuna.
  • A cup of coffee or tea (optional).

Dinner

  • 85 grams or 3 oz of any meat.
  • 1 cup of green beans.
  • 1 small apple.
  • ½ a banana.
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream.

Total: About 1,400 calories

meal plan fo a 7 day military diet
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Day 2

Breakfast

Lunch

  • 1 hard-boiled egg.
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea (optional).

Dinner

  • 2 hot dogs, with no bun.
  • ½ a cup of carrots and half a cup of broccoli.
  • ½ a banana.
  • ½ a cup of vanilla ice cream.

Total: About 1,200 calories

meal plan fo a 7 day military diet
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Day 3

Breakfast

  • 1 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • 1 small apple.
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea (optional).

Lunch

  • 1 slice of toast.
  • 1 egg, prepared as you like.
  • 1 cup of coffee or tea (optional).

Dinner

  • 1cup of tuna.
  • ½ a banana.
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream.

Total: About 1,100 calories

protein bars
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Replacements For The 3 Days Of The Main 7 Diet Military Diet Plan

There are other substitute foods that you can consume in place of the above, especially if you are allergic to some ingredients or are lactose intolerant. Here are the alternatives for specific meals.

1 slice of toast replaced with one of the following:

  • 1/2 high protein bar
  • 1/8 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal
  • 1/4 cup yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon of flax seeds
  • 1 tortilla
  • 2 rice cakes

1/2 grapefruit replaced with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.

1 cup of black coffee or tea replaced with:

  • 1 cup of green tea
  • 1 8 oz can of sugar-free Red Bull
tuna
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1/2 cup of tuna replaced with:

  • 1 piece of sushi grade tuna
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of canned tofu
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 cup of canned chicken

3 oz. of any type of meat replaced with 3 oz of

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Portobello mushrooms

1 cup of green beans replaced with 1 cup of:

  • Asparagus
  • Baby kale
  • BroccolI
  • Tomatoes

Ensure that the portions consumed contain a similar number of calories as the main menu. For instance, for a cup of green containing 31 calories, you need more of a collard type green to amount to the same calories.

It is important to take plenty of water when observing the military diet meal plan. It is recommended to drink hot lemon water. You can take as much tea or coffee as you want, as long as you do not sugar or cream, which will increase the calories.

7 day military diet plan: nutrition
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Second phase: Days 4 to 7

Healthy eating is encouraged. There are no food restrictions and snacks are allowed, for instance, you can take black bean burgers or shrimp fried rice. Nevertheless, limit the portion sizes and try to eat below 1500 calories a day. Note that throughout the 7 days, artificially sweetened beverages are discouraged. An example of a 1200 calories diet plan is:

Breakfast

  • 1 cup green tea
  • 2 spoon unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 5 almonds

Morning snack

  • Oatmeal
  • 1 cup lemonade, with no sweeteners

Lunch

  • Baked or grilled chicken breast
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup steamed veggies. No potatoes

Afternoon snack

  • Celery sticks with low-fat hummus

Supper

  • Grilled salmon
  • 1 cup steamed veggies. No potatoes
  • 1 cup lemonade, with no sweeteners
  • ½ cup quinoa

Dessert

  • Banana and raspberry smoothie made using half-cup of raspberries and same quantity bananas.
7 day military diet plan: nutrition
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Vegan 7 day Military diet plan

Since vegans do not take meat and other animal products, their menu is different.

Vegans should consume (16):

Day 1

Breakfast

  ½ a grapefruit

  1 slice of toast

  2 tbsp peanut butter

  1 cup of caffeinated coffee or tea

Lunch

  ½ an avocado

  1 slice of whole-wheat toast

  1 cup of caffeinated coffee or tea

  2 tbsp hummus

Dinner

  ½ a banana

  1small apple

  Tofu (up to 300 calories)

  1 cup of green beans

  1 cup of dairy-free ice cream

7 day military diet plan: menu
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Day 2

Breakfast

  ½ a cup of baked beans

  1 slice of whole-wheat toast

  ½ a banana

Lunch

  1 cup of unsweetened soy, hemp, or almond milk

  ½ an avocado

  2 tbsp hummus

  5 saltine crackers

Dinner

  2 veggie hot dogs without the buns

  1 cup of broccoli

  ½ a cup of dairy-free ice cream

  ½ a cup of carrots

  ½ a banana

7 day military diet plan: menu
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Day 3

Breakfast

  15–20 almonds

  5 saltine crackers or ½ a cup of quinoa or couscous

  1 small apple

Lunch

  ½ an avocado

  1 tablespoon hummus

  1 slice of whole-wheat bread

Dinner

  ½ a cup of canned chickpeas

  ½ a banana

  1 cup of dairy-free ice cream

Foods to avoid while on 7 day military diet

You cannot consume:

  • Artificial Sweeteners except for Stevia
  • Butter and creamers
  • Fruit juices and alcohol
  • Milk and sugar except in ice cream
  • Oranges
  • Yogurt unless it is Greek yogurt
military diet meal plan
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How much weight can I lose on a 7 day military diet plan?

The plan claims to help you lose up to 10 pounds in a week (8). This may be possible, especially when obese and overweight people restrict their calories intake. However, the weight shed is mostly water weight and not fat. Only 1-2 pound of this is actual fat loss.

Water weight is lost quickly when the glycogen stores in the body decline, usually when you restrict the calories and carbohydrates. You may regain this weight when you begin eating as usual.

Remember to burn 1 pound; you need to lose about 3500 calories (15). Therefore, to lose 10 pounds, shed approximately 35000 calories. This is only possible to do quickly through extreme and unhealthy calorie deprivation.

Benefits of 7 day military diet

  • Quick weight loss due to restrictive calorie intake.
  • It is free, very simple to follow the routine. You do not need an advanced book to know what to do.
  • Cheap- no expensive food or supplements required.
  • Everything is outlined, and therefore saves you the stress of what to eat.
  • This is a high-protein diet which makes you feel full, maintains muscle mass, and gives you energy.
military diet meal plan
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Cons and associated risks

All that glitters is not gold, and in this case, the outcomes of following the 7 day military diet plan menu sound too good to be true. The downsides of the 7 day military diet are:

  • This plan has limited menu alternatives and you have to stick to the specified foods.
  • According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, restricting yourself from certain foods puts you at risk of losing out on nutrients that cannot be replaced entirely by supplements (3).
  • 7 day diet is not an intermittent fasting method, so it does not contain similar benefits to this diet, as claimed by some individuals.
  • 7 day military diet plan is rich in processed food containing salt. These include saltine crackers, bread, hot dogs, peanut butter, and cheese. It is therefore important to ensure that you are not consuming more sodium than recommended i.e. 2,300 milligrams a day (11). Because of the sodium composition, excessive salt consumption is harmful.

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Controversies related to 7 day military diet plan

The 7 day military diet plan is a very controversial plan, beginning with a name that has nothing to do with the armed forces.  Patricia Deuster PhD, MPH, who helped write the US Special Operations forces nutritional guide, has never heard of it (13). You would also expect it to encourage mental and physical fitness through strength training and other exercises. This is because armed forces are associated with high levels of endurance activities like running and swimming, and shorter, explosive movements like weightlifting and sprinting (14). However, that is not the case in this meal plan. Some proponents encourage only walks.

According to a publication on Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences that analyzed nutrition in the military, it was established that lack of a balanced diet led to poor military performance. This means that the 7 day military diet plan is a name coined to increase its popularity and make the method seem legitimate. Other controversies surrounding this meal plan are:

7 day military diet plan
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  • There are no studies on the 7 day military diet

Even though this eating plan is not based on evidence, proponents have testimonies that prove it works, claiming that the results are due to the combination of different foods in the 7 day diet plan menu. According to these claims, the foods consumed increase metabolism and burn fat. However, these claims have never been scientifically tested.

  • Consuming below 1400 calories a day may make it difficult for you to have enough energy to work out

Healthy weight loss diets commonly recommend a combination of healthy meals and exercises for an overall lifestyle change.

  • In place of grapefruit, the 7 day meal plan allows substitution with a glass of baking soda for an alkaline environment

The science behind this does not add up. You cannot alter the pH of your body by eating acidic or alkaline foods. It would make more sense if one fruit is swapped with another, which would be similar in calories and nutrients.

  • Most of the recommended foods are low in fiber, which is against most of the basic advice for weight loss

According to the American Heart Association, including high-fiber foods in your diet makes you full without extra calories (6). Not eating enough fiber can also lead to constipation.

  • You are convinced that the diet worked, yet only a bunch of water weight is lost

When you gain weight again, you go back to it because you believe it is the solution. You will be addicted and never consider expert-recommended and medically approved healthy weight loss meal plans.

  • Vanilla ice cream is high in added sugar

This meal plan recommended daily intake of the ice cream, instead of healthy sugar options such as fruits.

Safety and sustainability of the military diet meal plan

Should I follow the military diet for 7 days? This type of dieting for one week is not very harmful, considering the time is too short to cause a lasting health issue. Nevertheless, a repetitive following of the 7 day military diet will put you at risk of being malnourished due to the limited calorie intake.

Taking junk food such as ice cream and hot dogs weekly can cause metabolic problems. These highly processed foods are usually low in filling nutrients like protein and fiber, but high in refined carbs calories, and unhealthy fats. When taken in excess, junk food triggers a massive release of dopamine which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure center. As a result, you can become addicted to this type of unhealthy food (4). It also takes less energy to digest these foodstuffs, that is one of the reasons why they are associated with weight gain.

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Who can and who cannot partake in 7 day military diet plan?

This diet can be considered by healthy adults who want to lose weight quickly for a special event such as wedding. You can follow this plan only after getting a green light from your doctor. If you decide to follow this plan, understand that it can help you lose weight quickly, but not for long. It is, therefore, not recommended for lasting weight loss.

On the other hand, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases strongly discourages people above 50 years of age from taking part in any extremely low-calorie diet like the day military diet.

We all want a quick fix for our weight loss issues, and the day military diet promises this. However, this is an unsustainable diet because although it is easy to follow, there are no long-term lifestyle changes for a sustainable, long-term weight loss. Remember, the quality of calories you consume is as important as the quantity; therefore, this is not the best plan to follow if you want to attain your weight loss goals.

Rome was not built in one day. Similarly, you did not gain weight overnight, and you cannot lose weight overnight. Crash diets like the 7 day military diet concentrate on short-term outcomes, which will not be helpful toward your weight-loss goal in the long run. Therefore, you can only use it temporarily to kick-start a healthy, long-term weight loss plan like one that involves lifestyle changes such as the Mediterranean diet.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 10 Day Military Diet – A Complete Diet (n.d,militarydietpro.com)
  2. A 3,000-Calorie Diet: Benefits, Weight Gain, and Meal Plan (2019, healthline.com)
  3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reinforces importance of food, not supplements (2013, medicalxpress.com)
  4. Does Junk Food Slow Down Your Metabolism? (2017, healthline.com)
  5. Does the Military Diet Actually Work? Yes, but don’t do it.(2020,nerdfitness.com )
  6. Fiber Up, Slim Down (2018, heart.org)
  7. Is the 3-Day Military Diet Safe and Effective for Weight Loss? (2020, everydayhealth.com)
  8. Military Diet (n.d, themilitarydiet.com)
  9. Military Diet Review: My 7 Day Results On The 3 Day Diet (2020, operationmilitarykids.org)
  10. Patricia Deuster, PhD, MPH (n.d, usuhs.edu)
  11. Salt (2020, cdc.gov)
  12. The Military Diet: A Beginner’s Guide (with a meal plan) (2017, healthline.com)
  13. The Military Diet: A Detailed Review and Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide (2020, healthinsiders.com)
  14. The war on the military’s diet (2019, nypost.com)
  15. Weight loss (2020,mayoclinic.org)
  16. What is the military diet and does it work? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
Jedidah Tabalia

Jedidah Tabalia

Jedidah is a passionate writer with over 5 years of experience in researching and providing content on healthy eating habits, specifically in relation to nutritious dieting, exercising, and weight loss that contribute to a person's overall well-being. She injects her go-getter mentality and can-do attitude into every article because she believes that happiness begins with good health, so the more people she inspires to embark on a healthy journey, the better. Jedidah provides tailored, evidence-based content that will ensure her readers that fitting healthy diets and workouts into their hectic lifestyles is not only possible, but easy and affordable.
She believes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and a steadfast commitment to a healthy lifestyle is bound to pay off.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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