The Army Diet Explained: Benefits & Results

army diet

Ever since man realized that one of only two ways that can guarantee natural weight loss is dieting, he had begun experimenting with a lot of different meal preparations. We are pretty sure you’ve already heard about the Paleo, vegan, low-carb, Dukan, ultra low-fat, Atkins, HCG, and intermittent fasting diets. Each of these diets work generally the same because it all involves some form of reduced calorie intake. The only difference is in the food choices that are generally allowed in each of these types of diets. One of the more promising diets is the intermittent fasting diet and we are going to present one example of this particular diet – the Army Diet, also known as the Military Diet.

A Look at the Army Diet

We can only make a guess as to why they call this an Army Diet. Perhaps it’s because of the fact that certain branches of the Army or the military, especially those in elite special forces units, can go without food for several days subsisting only on a few rations and plenty of water and still maintain a great physique.

So what’s the Army Diet anyway?

Well, like we already said, the Army Diet is a special kind of diet that follows the principles of intermittent fasting. Generally it consists of 3 days of fasting and 4 days of non-fasting. Actually, it’s not really fasting as you will still be eating on those 3 days. However, there’s a huge difference. Instead of eating normal meals, the 3 days that you’ll be on the Army Diet, you will be adhering to a low calorie food intake.

Here’s an example of a 3-day diet plan following the Army Diet.

  • On Day 1
  • Breakfast of one-half grapefruit, a slice of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a cup of black coffee or tea without sugar
  • Lunch of half cup of tuna with a slice of toast and a cup of black coffee or tea without sugar
  • Dinner of a cup of green beans with 3 ounces of any meat, a small apple, half of a banana, and a cup of vanilla ice cream
  • On Day 2
  • Breakfast of a slice of toast, an egg, and half a banana
  • Lunch of a cup of cottage cheese with 5 pieces of saltine crackers and a hardboiled egg
  • Dinner of 2 hotdogs, half a cup of carrots, a cup of broccoli, half a banana, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream
  • On day 3
  • Breakfast of a small apple, a slice of cheddar, and 5 pieces of saltine crackers
  • Lunch of a slice of toast and a hardboiled egg
  • Dinner of a cup of tuna with half a banana and a cup of vanilla ice cream

If you’re going to compute for the daily calorie intake of the sample Army Diet meal plan, you’ll see that you will only be consuming less than 1,000 calories per day. Day 1 has about 925 calories. For comparison, an average person needs about 1,500 calories just to maintain the functioning of the vital organs such as the brain, the heart, and the lungs, among others. What this means is that if you are in deep sleep, you are completely relaxed and every physiologic process in your body is in a relaxed pace, this 1,500 calories is what your body needs to keep these vital organs functioning. Once you’re awake, your metabolic requirements increase. Typically, for a person with a sedentary lifestyle, he will need about 2,200 to 2,500 calories per day.

If you need 2,500 calories per day yet eat 3,000 calories, then in a week’s time you would have an excess of 3,500 calories. Applying the Army Diet means you’ll eat 3,000 calories for 4 days and 1,000 calories for 3 days. This means that you will be eating 3,000 calories on the Army Diet days and 12,000 calories on your normal days giving a weekly total of 15,000 calories. Remember, in our example you need 2,500 calories per day or 17,500 calories per week. Technically, you are deficit by 2,500 calories per week. And if we translate this into pounds at an average of 1 pound lost for every 3,500 calories burned, then you’d lose around 3 pounds in a month. Not bad, right?

How Does the Army Diet Work?

Based on what we have been discussing so far, it should be fairly obvious that Army Diet works because of the following.

  • It provides for low calorie intake. 

This is the very obvious reason why the Army Diet works. We have always said in all of our articles that there are only two ways in which you can ensure effective weight loss without the dreaded side effects of drugs or supplements. You can either reduce your calorie intake or increase your energy expenditure or you can do a combination of both.

The Army Diet works simply because you are creating a net calorie deficit. You are not going to starve yourself. You are still going to eat on those 3 Army Diet days. However, instead of consuming your usual meals, you will be consciously eating only a certain type and amount of food that is guaranteed to provide you with calories that should never exceed 1,000 calories.

But here’s the catch. During the 4 off-days of the Army Diet, you are supposed to resume your normal eating patterns, not compensate for the 3-day low-calorie intake. If you’ll be consuming twice your normal food consumption during those 4 off-days, then you’re just fooling yourself because you’ll never lose weight.

The key is to eat no more than 1,000 calories for 3 straight days then followed by normal eating habits for 4 days.

  • It is a classic example of intermittent fasting. 

In case you have forgotten what intermittent fasting is, it is the process of deliberately withholding food for certain periods before resuming normal or usual eating patterns. So, you have a fasting period and a non-fasting period.

The Army Diet follows the principles of intermittent fasting as any food consumption less than 1,000 calories per day is already considered fasting. The most interesting part is that fasting can increase the sensitivity of insulin which helps improve the utilization of dietary molecules as energy. Intermittent fasting trains the body to improve its efficiency in the processing of food molecules to be converted into energy.

One particular study showed that fasting can reduce the levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1. This hormone is typically needed to help in the building of tissues in the body. When the levels of IGF-1 are reduced, the body goes into a repair mode instead of a growth and building mode. During reparative processes, the body will require sufficient amounts of energy that can only be supplied by the stored energy molecules in the form of fats and glycogen. But since fat is a denser molecule and is readily oxidized, it is preferred to glycogen because the latter will still have to be converted into glucose before it can be used as energy.

  • It boosts your body’s metabolism to kickstart the fat-burning process. 

If you notice our sample Army Diet meal plan, it includes foods that are known to be beneficial in boosting the metabolic rate of the body. It also includes foods that that aid in kickstarting the fat-burning process in the liver.

Caffeine in both coffee and tea is a well-recognized stimulant that can really increase the body’s metabolism. Grapefruit is an excellent fat-burner while high protein food items like eggs, tuna, and peanut butter require substantially greater amounts of energy to be digested and metabolized properly. This means that the body will have to use the stored fat molecules to supply the energy requirements of protein digestion and metabolism. Ice cream and cottage cheese also play a role in weight loss efforts because of the calcium they contain. Studies show that calcium inside fat cells can help facilitate the more efficient oxidation of fats. In other words, more calcium, more burned fat. Apples are excellent sources of pectin which have been proven to play a role in limiting the amount of fat that the different cells of the body can absorb. Generally, all the food items in the Army Diet contain very few calories. Additionally, their carbohydrate composition is held to a minimum.

Is the Army Diet for You?

Compared to other diet programs, the Army Diet is very easy to follow. Technically, you will still be eating every day, 7 days a week. The only difference is that you will have to pay very close attention to what you are going to eat on those critical 3-Army-Diet-days. Additionally, you’re also not supposed to increase your food consumption on the 4 off-days.

The Army Diet provides hope to those who would like to lose weight but often find difficulty adhering to very strict diet rules that leave them feeling hungry. It’s easy to follow and, best of all, is guaranteed to work.

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