This super popular diet claims to help you lose 10 pounds in a week

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Whether or not the three-day military diet (alternatively referred to as the ice cream diet) actually resembles the regimen employed by The US Department of Defense is up for debate. 

Authentic or no, the plan appears to yield quick results if adhered to correctly. In fact, the diet rose to prominence with the claim to help users lose up to ten pounds in a single week.

Research indicates this assertion to be possible to a point but almost entirely on account of water weight as opposed to fat. Because of this, the Military Diet should only be considered as a starting point toward a desired goal weight not as a means of maintaining one. 

Nevertheless, the rules are simple enough.

For the first three days of the diet, subscribers must undertake a low-calorie meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with no snacks in between and consume between 11,00 and 1,400 calories per day. Phase one is pretty rough variety-wise, but each day ends with a serving of ice cream. 

Water, coffee, and tea are encouraged during and between meals.

The First Seven Days

From The Military Diet’s official page:

“The  3 Day Military Diet is a three-day weight loss diet that can help you lose 10 pounds in a week. You follow the Military Diet Plan for three days per week and then take four days off per week. You can do the diet over and over every week again until you reach your weight loss goal.”

The diet is essentially broken up via two phases: the first three days and the remaining four. 

On day one user must consume no more than 1,400 calories.

It’s important to remember that you can substitute any item on the Military Diet with vegan, vegetarian, non-lactose, and or gluten-free options so long as the calorie threshold is met. 

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 Grapefruit
  • 1 Slice of Toast
  • 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Coffee or Tea (with caffeine)

Lunch:

  • A slice of toast.
  • Half a cup of tuna

Dinner:

  • 3 ounces of any type of meat
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

Users must consume no more than 1,200 calories on day two.

Breakfast:

  • A slice of toast.
  • One hard-boiled egg.
  • Half a banana.

Lunch:

  • One hard-boiled egg.
  • A cup of cottage cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers

Dinner:

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

On day three of the military diet, the calorie count drops to 1,100. 

Breakfast:

  • A 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese.
  • 5 saltine crackers.
  • A small apple.

Lunch:

  • A slice of toast.
  • One egg, cooked however you like.

Dinner:

  • A cup of tuna.
  • Half a banana.
  • 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

For the remaining four days of the week, the rules slacken but individuals are encouraged to continue to keep calorie consumption low and avoid processed sugar and soft drinks. Shoot for under 1,500  calories per day.

Provisional fad diets have their place and most experts are pretty confident that The Military Diet should be appreciated as such. Setting aside the duration of results, the diet’s limited nutritional value should not be discounted. 

“The military diet is likely safe for the average person because it’s too short to do lasting harm.

However, if you were to follow this diet for months at a time, the strict limit on calories could put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies,” Healthline reports. “This is especially true if you do not regularly eat vegetables and other quality foods on your days off.Additionally, eating hot dogs, crackers and ice cream every week has the potential to cause metabolic issues. Junk food should not be a regular part of your diet.”

CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com