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We are bombarded by true and false health and nutrition advice everywhere we go. Whether at the grocery store or watching the TV we see advertisements for new ways to diet.
Extreme dieting or fast weight loss claims are everywhere because they sell, but are they safe? Unfortunately, none of these extreme diets are promoted to improve internal health or seem to work long-term .
One you may have heard of and be wondering, is it safe to try, is the 3 Day Military Diet.
What is the 3 Day Military Diet?
The 3-day Military Diet is an extreme fad diet that recommends following a very low calorie diet for 3 days and eating a “normal” diet for 4 days per week .
The “normal” diet is recommended to still be restricted below “normal” caloric needs for maximum results .
The promised outcome of this diet claims anyone trying this will lose at least 10lb in a week . After the first week if results aren’t quiet what you were expecting, it recommends to keep cycling 3 days of restriction and 4 days of “normal” eating .
What is Really Happening?
When seeing and potentially being drawn into a new fad diet it’s important to remain curious, much like a detective. Detectives seek out clues or in the case of fad diets, we look for red flags.
Red Flag #1: does this diet promote weight loss or health?
When visiting the 3 Day Military Diet website you aren’t even given a chance to contemplate if this is right for you, before immediately being given a meal plan and promised quick and easy weight loss.
The 3 Day Military Diet claims fast weight loss. At the beginning of any diet, where carbohydrates are restricted, initial weight loss is due to severe calorie restriction and water loss. Long-term this weight is usually gain back and then some.
Nowhere on the website for the 3 Day Military Diet does it encourage starting this diet to be healthier. The diet places participants on a strict food list rather than promoting health, variety, and balance.
The website even states the more you practice portion control the better you get at controlling your calories and your waist . Controlling food sometimes means not learning to listen to or trust your body.
Health is not a number on a scale or the size of your waist. Health is not something you can physically see, but the way you feel and the quality of life you live.
Red Flag #2: where did this diet originate?
Who is recommending this diet? Is a medical professional who specializes in nutrition recommending this diet?
Nowhere on the 3 Day Military Diet website does it list a founder or explain where this diet originated. The blog that supports the Military Diet also does not list as author on any of its posts.
This diet seems to have stranger danger written all over it. Would a doctor recommend a medicine without background information or research? No way, which means a dietitian probably wouldn’t recommend a diet without background information or research either.
Red Flag #3: is there scientific evidence supporting this diet?
When researching the 3 Day Military Diet there isn’t even one scientific peer reviewed article to support the following:
- Recommending this diet
- Weight loss claims
- Safety claims
The only claims for this diet are found on their website. This is a blaring red flag and again proves that no medical professional would recommend this as a safe or effective diet.
Red Flag #4: does this diet sound like something you’ve heard before?
The 3 Day Military Diet sounds familiar, almost as if you’ve heard it before. What does a cycle of restricting for a couple days and then eating what you want for a couple days sound like?
Isn’t that intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting, although found to work for some, can lead some to develop disordered eating patterns or eating disorders.
A recent study found that men and women following intermittent fasting reported engaging in eating disorder behaviors . Research does show that dieting predicts future weight gain and is a risk factor in the development of eating disorders.
This red flag hopefully prompts you to take a look at previous decisions. Have you tried dieting? Did it work? Realistically, 90-95% of all diets fail and what happens after? Now might just be the time to approach a change that can last.
Red Flag #5: is there a plan when the diet ends?
On the 3 Day Military Diet website it recommends to keep cycling through 3 days or extreme restriction and 4 days of “normal” eating until you reach your weight loss goal.
After this recommendation there isn’t any guidance. The diet is promising fast results, but not taking into account what happens long-term.
The Red Flags Don’t Lie
Just like your intuition, trust your detective work. For the 3 Day Military Diet, these red flags prove this is not a safe or recommended diet.
This diet is not supporting internal or mental health, but instead perpetuates the belief that health means changing your body size.
The 3 Day Military Diet does not have a place of origin, an author, or scientific support. Is a desire to change you and your body keeping you stuck in a yo-yo dieting cycle that never ends?
Today is the day, you can say “no” to dieting and “yes” to starting to appreciate food for what it does and appreciate your unique body for how it functions to serve you every day.
For help exploring an eating pattern right for you, try reaching out to a local dietitian who can listen, hear your story, and support you in the quality of life you want.
- Is the Atkins Diet Healthy?
- Is the BRAT Diet Unhealthy?
- Is The Carnivore Diet Healthy?
- Is the DASH Diet Safe?
- Is The Flexitarian Diet Safe?
Resources: Cuccolo, K., Kramer, R., Petros, T., & Thoennes, M. (2021). Intermittent fasting implementation and association with eating disorder symptomatology. Eating Disorders, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/10640266.2021.1922145  Military Diet Plan | Military Diet. (n.d.). Military Diet. https://themilitarydiet.com/military-diet-plan/  Mohan, V., & Joshi, S. (2018). Pros & cons of some popular extreme weight-loss diets. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 148(5), 642. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijmr.ijmr_1793_18
The opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the views of Eating Disorder Hope
Author: Raylene Hungate, RDN,LD/N