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Does the 3 Day Military Diet Work?

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After seeing so much on the 3 Day Military Diet, I had to dig in deeper and see what it was all about. The whole idea that you could lose 10 lbs in 3 days kind of freaked me out, but my curiosity got the best of me. However, as you’ll see from our meal plans this plan doesn’t align with what we typically eat.

3 day military diet

What is the 3 Day Military Diet?

It’s a diet that involves low-calories, intermediate fasting, and some weird food combinations. It also goes by the Navy and Army diet; however, it’s not connected to any branch of the military nor was it developed by “top-secret nutritionists”. There is actually no scientific research to show this diet works, and there IS science that says it’s dangerous.

I truly believe the 3 Day Military Diet has become popular because:

  • If you are starving, you will lose weight at first (until you rebound back to old habits)
  • It’s free – you don’t need a single book, supplement or program
  • Weird food pairings….like hot dogs and ice cream *gag*
  • You only have to follow a strict diet for 3 days, and then the other 4 days are up for grabs

However, it’s a pretty silly, unrealistic and even dangerous diet to follow. It also has you eating very little for 3 days, and then you can go back to whatever you want – which just creates a bad cycle that opens you up to binging. Plus, everyone’s idea of what to do the following 4 days ranges from “eating clean” to “doing okay” ?? What does, “doing okay,” even mean?

Another diet that is similar to this one is the hard boiled egg diet, but it’s just as extreme.

A better alternative that is still super cheap would be to look at Joy Bauer’s 90/10 book. It focuses on eating healthy 90% of the time and still allows for a treat. If you’re looking for a workout too, the 21 Day Fix‘s meal plan is awesome as well.

Does the 3 Day Military Diet Work?


While it might help you lose weight at first, I don’t believe that the 3 Day Military Diet is going to work for anyone long term. In the short-term, you should expect to be at the level of “Hangry” hunger. In the long-term, you may mess up your natural metabolism. By eating so little, your body will begin to hold onto its fat and burn muscle because it thinks it’s dying. Yikes.

What does the plan look like?

  • Specific foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • No snacks
  • The calories range from 850-1400 calories per day (men and women)
  • No added fats or condiments allowed
  • No soft drinks – water, coffee or tea only
  • Follow the plan 3 days
  • The other 4 days, you follow a “healthy diet”
  • No customization based on gender, weight, or age (which really affects how much you should eat)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Simple, easy to find foods

Crazy But Real 3 Day Military Diet Menu


  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 piece of toast
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 cup black coffee


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 5 crackers


  • 2 hot dogs (no bun)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Again – the 90/10 Book or the 21 Day Fix are going to be a better-balanced diet and still get you results quickly.

Military Diet Substitutions

Like any fully-sound diet, you have to be able to have substitutions. (Sarcasm).

  • With the diet, you can swap out the meat with fruit, lentils, tofu, cottage cheese or nuts for a vegan option.

This makes no sense to me because meat is a protein, whereas a fruit would be a carb and nuts would be a healthy fat. Our bodies process each a little differently, and we need a mix of all 3 to support our bodies.

  • You can also swap a fruit for another fruit.
  • Fish can be swapped for any lean protein.

At least those substitutions are coming from the same food group so I don’t have a huge problem with that. However certain foods will contain more nutritional value than others. For example, a melon will be less calories and more water than say a banana.

Military Diet Results

You may see some amazing Military Diet results, but keep in mind the people that do have a significant weight loss are also eating healthy the other 4 days of the week and probably staying active. They also are risking their bodies natural metabolic rate by not eating enough calories 3 days a week.

I promise, along with hundreds of dieticians that are smarter than me, that you can lose weight by making small, easy changes to your diet. If you’re consistent, you will see results. An average healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs a week. Just think in a year you could be down 50-100lbs, and you’ll have the habits and mindset to KEEP IT OFF. Whereas the 3-Day Military Diet would be really hard to follow for a lifetime.

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A Better Game Plan

I totally get wanting to drop a few lbs quickly. Stepping on the scale and seeing it creep up before vacation is no fun. But there is a simpler way to lose weight and actually keep it off (something that is nearly impossible on this crazy military diet).

Your diet doesn’t have to include expensive supplements or exotically healthy foods either. More power to you if you want to include things like bone broth or wheat grass, but just simple, whole foods will help you lose weight.

22 Minute Hard Corps Results

If you’d like a military workout – check out 22 Minute Hardcorps. 

It’s real veterans in the video doing military drills, and the best part – it’s 22 minutes a day! It also includes a meal plan that isn’t as crazy as this one.

An Example of a Balanced Diet:


  • 2 Tsbp Peanut Butter spread across a piece of toast with 1 banana or cup of berries


  • 2 cups of romaine lettuce with 1 cup shredded chicken breast with veggies and 2 tbsp (non-creamy) dressing
  • OR Lean Cuisine
  • OR Tuna Sandwich with 1tsp mayo topped with lettuce, onion, tomato and 1 piece of sliced cheese


  • Chicken breast with a sweet potato and 1 cup zucchini
  • OR Browned Taco meat with cauliflower rice, avocado, salsa and tomato
  • OR 6″ Subway sub from the 7 under 7 fat grams


  • Handful of nuts
  • apple with peanut butter

Limit treats to 1-3x a week and to one serving.

You literally can keep it as clean and unprocessed as you want. The main thing is you want to make sure you’re not starving and eating the right portions for your body. I personally love this take on portion control.

5 Free Easy Ways to Lose Weight

I know that the 3-Day Military Diet took off because the fact it’s free as well. So I wanted to include 5 days to lose weight this week.

  • Cut out processed foods
  • Skip alcohol
  • Watch your portions
  • Up your lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs
  • Get Active – walking, working out at home, roller blading, hitting a yoga class, etc 3x a week
I personally love working out at home. You can check our favorite programs here, or my favorite with a meal plan is the 21 Day Fix. Despite the name, you can keep doing the “Fix” for months and months!

We also offer a 21 Day Challenge group to jumpstart your results!

In the group, we also teach you lasting healthy habits you can use for a lifetime. If you really want to see results quickly, consider something like the 3 Day Refresh instead, or check out our healthy meal plans here.

What are your thoughts on the 3 Day Military Diet Plan?

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  1. I offer a dissenting opinion. I’ve been on the diet for a month and I’ve lost 14 pounds. I don’t starve on the diet and I even enjoy it. I don’t binge on the days off — i stick to 1500 cals, and sometimes go 1-200 cals over. It’s been a godsend for me.

    1. I’m so glad it’s working for you! I think it’s awesome you’ve been able to stick to a 1500 calorie limit on the other days. I guess for our lifestyle, it just allows for too much restriction followed by too much freedom. But everyone is different, and we’re happy it’s working well for you! Congratulations!

  2. It’s worked for me too. Nothing worked for me before and I was hardly eating anything, always fasting, and my weight was creeping up. I was panicking because I thought there was something wrong with me. So I tried a variety of diets. The only ones that worked for me were the 2 week boiled egg diet and the 3 day military diet.
    I preferred the military diet because it was only a commitment of 3 days, simple, and I love turkey hot dogs and peanut butter so I gave it a chance. I did it 3 times and lost 14 pounds as well. I could not believe it. LOL. Also I have kept the weight off. I just need to lose 5 more pounds to be back to my starting weight. Believe it or not the military diet showed me how little I was eating and increasing my caloric intake when off the diet, while staying healthy and NOT eating outside food, really helped me to shed pounds. Also, on the 4 days off stay eating clean but increase you calories and you’ll lose even more. Thats my take.