The complete beginner’s guide to Military Diet

The military diet is a highly specialized diet that is designed to facilitate significant weight loss in a short time. This diet has caught on with people interested in health, fitness, and weight loss primarily because it presents a real challenge, and because many have seen serious results on the military diet. 

While the military diet is not for everyone, for those who can really stick to their guns when it comes to dieting and weight loss, it has some real and demonstrable benefits. Some people report losing as much as ten pounds in a week while on the military diet. 

One of the key draws of the military diet is that it leads to serious results without the use of any supplements or artificial assistance. Simply by sticking to the restrictive and rigorous plan of the military diet, people have lost significant weight in a short time. 

What exactly is the military diet? What are the benefits of the military diet? And what exactly can you eat while on the military diet? This guide will give you the basics you need to understand the military diet and allow you to consider trying it yourself. 

What is the Military Diet?

The key to the military diet involves rigorously restricted caloric intake over a specific period of time. The name does not refer to the way people in the military actually eat. It refers to the discipline associated with military order, and the military diet definitely requires some discipline. 

The military diet is commonly followed for three days with a return to regular healthy eating for four days. It is important that you recognize that the return to a regular diet cannot mean a four-day period of indulgence. You must adhere to the three-day regimen with a four-day period of a balanced diet. 

The first three days restrict calorie intake to 1400, 1200, and 1100 calories per day. The military diet is high in proteins since proteins provide the sustenance necessary for the three-day restrictions, and proteins tend to help curb hunger. The military diet emphasizes low fat, calories, and carbs. By increasing protein and highly restricting decreasing fat, calories, and carbs, the military diet alters the metabolism sufficiently to facilitate serious weight loss. 

The caloric intake is generally restricted to specific foods. We will outline this below, but most people find it helpful to have a prescribed list of foods for the military diet since it helps keep the, on track during the restrictive phase of the diet. 

Benefits of the Military Diet

The military diet may be restrictive, but it does come with some real health benefits. Some of the benefits of the military diet include:

Weight Loss

Obviously, weight loss is one of the main reasons most people start the military diet. Many people report losing as much as ten pounds in one week while on the military diet. The amount of weight you lose over the long term depends largely on what you eat during the less restrictive phase of the diet. If you stick to a healthy and balanced diet, without bulking up on carbs and calories, it is conceivable to lose 30 pounds in a month. One feature of the military diet that is great for long-term weight loss is that it can alter your metabolism and accelerate natural fat-burning processes.  

Reduced Cravings

When you first begin the military diet, you will likely experience cravings for the foods you are missing. If you can stick with it and adhere to the rigor of the military diet, these cravings will soon fade. 

Once you have made it through a complete cycle, it is likely that the craving for sugar and fats will diminish completely. Over a long period of time, you can lose these cravings completely and begin to establish permanent healthy eating patterns. This makes it much easier for you to keep the weight off that you lose during the diet period. 

Speed up your metabolism

Since the military diet calls for high protein and high fiber foods, especially during the restrictive phase, your body will soon adjust to the feast and famine phases of the military diet. This can lead to an increase in your metabolic rate. These changes can lead to sustained weight loss. 

One of the advantages of the military diet is that it sustained nutrition during both phases. This means your body will never into what is called “starvation mode” in which the metabolism slows down. Rather, by continuing to give your body the right kinds of calories and in the correct quantities, your metabolism will likely speed up. 

May lower your risk of diabetes

While the military diet is not recommended for people who already have diabetes, taking on the military may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes. The high fiber and high protein that characterizes the military diet can help your body process sugars more effectively. 

Can improve glucose tolerance

One the military diet has in common with intermittent fasting is that can improve your sensitivity to insulin. Macronutrients, particularly protein, help your body process glucose. The effect of this diet can lead to long-term benefits in the form of improved glucose tolerance. 

Boosts your immune system

The way the body responds to the military diet is similar in some ways to cyclic fasting. This is known to contribute to immune system regeneration. This is a process in which stem cells that have been a dormant shift into an active mode. In essence, your immune system shifts into a process of renewal. If you keep up periods of the military diet over a long period of time, your immune system will begin to allow older immune cells to die and replace them with newer more active cells. 

Does Military Diet work for everyone?

The military diet is recommended only for relatively healthy people. The lack of nutrients during the restrictive phase can prove dangerous for anyone living with a chronic health problem. The safe range for weight loss is about 1-2 pounds a week. Dramatic decreases in weight, such as the ten pounds associated with the military diet are generally considered unhealthy. 

People with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or any other chronic health problem should avoid the military diet. People who are in the range of morbid obesity should consult a physician for a safe and effective weight loss plan.  

What can I eat with Military Diet?

The 3-day phase in which your diet is highly restricted does not include much variety. Examples of what you can eat during this phase include:

Breakfast foods include:

  • toast or saltine crackers
  • peanut butter
  • grapefruit, apples, or bananas
  • hard-boiled eggs or cheddar cheese

Lunch options include:

  • toast or saltine crackers
  • canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or cottage cheese

Dinner options include:

  • any type of meat, hot dogs without a bun, or canned tuna
  • green beans, carrots, or broccoli
  • apples or bananas
  • vanilla-flavored ice cream

During the 4-day period of regular eating, you are able to eat almost anything that fits into a balanced and nutritional diet. 

Sample menu for one week during Military Diet

Below is a good example of the 3-day restrictive phase of the military diet. In addition to the things listed, you are encouraged to drink plenty of water, and you are allowed to drink black coffee or tea. 

Day 1


  • half a grapefruit
  • one slice of toast
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of peanut butter, ideally a salt-free and sugar-free brand
  • 1 cup of caffeinated coffee or tea


  • half a cup of tuna
  • one slice of toast
  • 1 cup of caffeinated coffee or tea


  • 3 ounces of any meat
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • half a banana
  • one small apple
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Day 2


  • one egg
  • one slice of toast
  • half a banana


  • one hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • five saltine crackers


  • two hot dogs without the buns
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • half a cup of carrots
  • half a banana
  • half a cup of vanilla ice cream

Day 3


  • five saltine crackers
  • one slice of cheddar cheese
  • one small apple


  • one hard-boiled egg
  • one slice of toast


  • 1 cup of tuna
  • half a banana
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Military Diet Cons

There are some disadvantages to the military diet. While the benefits of the military diet are great, some of the cons involved need to be understood. Cons of the military diet include:

Low nutrient intake

The lack of variety of foods intrinsic to the military diet means you will struggle to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Additionally, it can be difficult to get enough dietary fiber for good health while on the military diet. 

High in added salt, sugar, and processed fat

Because meal plans for the military diet frequently include things like saltines, peanut butter, hot dogs, cheese, and processed foods, it can come with high levels of sugar, processed fats, and salt. Make sure you check nutrition labels for the foods you include in your military diet. 

Hot dogs alone contain extremely high amounts of processed fat and salt

These things are simply not healthy at all, and they can be especially dangerous if you have any underlying health problems. 

By including high-calorie foods during the restrictive phase of the military diet, you may inadvertently introduce some unhealthy foods in the process. 

Not enough calories to support the exercise

To provide your body with the nutrients and energy necessary to support exercise, you need to take in a minimum of 1400 calories. This is the extreme low-end for healthy exercise. Most recommendations say you need at least 1500 calories for healthy exercise. 

The military diet does not provide the calories you need to exercise safely

Especially if you engage in any type of high-intensity exercise, the military diet may not be healthy. 

Confused science

Part of the basis of the military diet is that it relies on an alkaline diet to induce weight loss. While there is scientific evidence to support this, almost across the board, any increase in alkalinity in your diet will result in higher alkalinity in urine. Alkalinity alone has not been linked to increased weight loss, and it will not alter your metabolic rate.  

Military Diet FAQs

What is the military diet? 

The military diet is a plan followed for three days with a return to regular healthy eating for four days. It is important that you recognize that the return to a regular diet cannot mean a four-day period of indulgence. You must adhere to the three-day regimen with a four-day period of a balanced diet. 

What are the benefits of the military diet? 

The military diet can lead to substantial weight loss, it can increase your metabolism, and can help boost your immune system.

What are the cons of the military diet? 

The military diet may not provide sufficient calories. You may find that exercise is difficult to sustain while on the military diet. And the military diet may inadvertently contain unhealthy amounts of salt, sugar, and processed fat. 

Sparn Detox offers delicious and healthy juices and smoothies that not only help with detoxing and cleansing your body, these juices and smoothies also contain a full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Sparn Detox juices and smoothies provide sound nutrition and help you gain maximum health and wellness.  

Juices and smoothies from Sparn Detox are not only ideal for cleanses and detoxes, they provide sound nutrition even if you just want to keep hydrated and sustained for regular exercise and an active lifestyle. 

Sparn Detox also offers a wide selection of vitamin and mineral supplements. Even if you do not need a detox, or if you are in between your regular detox, you can still supplement with Sparn Detox vitamin and mineral supplements. 

Sparn Detox juices and smoothies help you detox and cleanse, they help restore the natural balance in your metabolism, and they provide sound nutritional supplements. 


Sign up for our email newsletter and we will update you on new content