I’m sure we can all agree it’s not easy to lose weight. New Years’ resolutions only last a few weeks, gym membership cards gradually expire in our wallets and don’t even get us started on juice cleanses. But what if there was a diet plan that promised a 10-pound weight loss in just one week without strenuous exercise or prescriptions, and it wouldn't cost you a penny?
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it just might be.
Found on the website themilitarydiet.com, the wildly popular and definitely intense regimen known as the Military Diet sees its users follow a strict three-day meal plan in order to lose weight. Some of the foods outlined in the plan include grapefruit, toast, eggs, tuna, green beans, and apples. You can still drink tea and coffee, as long as there’s no creamer and you use stevia as your sweetener.
Popsugar recently spoke with two dietitian experts who explained the Military Diet not only promises improbable results, but it can also have some potentially dangerous side effects, too.
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This diet puts you in a calorie deficit. On the first day, you consume about 1,400 calories; on day two, it’s about 1,200; by day three you’re eating only about 1,100 calories. You do get four days off from the diet, but on these days you’re restricted to only 1,500 calories or less. These caloric restrictions are not sustainable and border on being unhealthy, New York City-based dietitian Natalie Rizzo told Popsugar.
“It’s a bit scary that the ‘off days’ are 1,500 calories, which may still be a restriction compared to what some people eat in a normal day,” she said.
Dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein agreed.
“Overall, I think this diet is another form of highly restrictive crash dieting,” she told Popsugar. “I do not recommend these types of diets as they are usually lacking in many important nutrients, like fiber and micronutrients, and they are so low in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.”
Not only is this diet dangerous, but its promise of a 10-pound weight loss in just one week is definitely too good to be true, Lemein explained. It’s impossible to predict how much weight someone will lose within a certain period of time, and it’s also dangerous to lose so much weight in such a short period of time, Rizzo said.
“Although losing 10-pounds in one week is highly improbable, anything is possible, but it’s absolutely not recommended,” she said. “Losing that much weight that quickly will definitely mess with your hormones and metabolism, which is bad for long-term weight loss.”
While the Military Diet certainly seems very appealing, both dietitians urged anyone thinking about giving it a try to reconsider safer alternatives instead.
“Although I don’t love many popular diets, there are others that have been proven to work and are healthier, like Weight Watchers or intermittent fasting,” Rizzo said. “Better yet, meet with a registered dietitian to help you lose weight and make lasting behavior changes.”
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