3 Day Military Diet Reviews: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Healthy diet
Angie Moore
Written by Angie Moore

The military diet is very useful for people who want to lose weight really fast. Its proponents claim that it can get you to lose up to 10 pounds per week, while some nutrition experts argue that is impossible. Losing this much in just 3 days does sound a bit too good to be true, and that’s why we’ve decided to peruse through all the 3 day military diet reviews, and paint a complete picture for you.

We’re going to discuss not only the advantages this diet has, but also the disadvantages, along with the stories of people who’ve tried it and succeeded or failed.

The Good

It doesn’t last long

That is always a good thing for people who don’t like dieting. The 3 day diet reviews show that many people admit that its length is what determined them to try it. Most of us are fascinated by the idea of being able to lose weight fast, and then returning to our normal lifestyle. 3 days’ time isn’t that much, and you can actually do it in your days off from work.

Lose weight now

The fact that it’s not a lengthy diet also helps people who are obese, and can’t seem to lose weight on the long term. Losing 10 pounds in a few days can give you all the motivation you need to continue eating healthier and reaching your ideal weight.

No calorie counting

Most diets purport a great effort from the dieters. “Just eat less” doesn’t always work, because some people don’t actually know how much they should be eating to lose weight.

Most of us also under-estimate by a third the number of calories we eat daily, and that is a lot. The process of counting calories correctly cannot be accomplished without weighing your food accurately. However, if you want to substitute some food item for another, you have to count your calories. Same goes for the vegetarians or vegans who will probably have to weigh most of their meals.

No tedious cooking

The military diet is always good in regard to the time it takes to ready your meals. Everything is pretty easy and straight-forward. If you’re not eating meals from a can, you’re eating fruit or ice cream or vegetables that just need boiling. You’re not allowed to use any salad dressing, so don’t think about preparing complicated sauces that might add some flavor to your meals.

Military diet food options

The reviews for other diets find this whole food preparation business very inconvenient, especially for people who have very long work hours, or have children to take care of. For those who don’t have the time to waste, the military diet is perfect.

Inexpensive shopping list  

Take a look at the shopping list, and you’ll see you can pull it off with cheap stuff you probably have in your fridge right now. You’ll need: ½ grapefruit, 2 bananas, 2 apples, ½ cup carrots, 1 cup broccoli, 1 ½ cups tuna, 2 hot dogs, 3 ounces of some other meat you might like, 1 cup green beans, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups vanilla ice cream, 1 ounce cheddar cheese, 1 cup cottage cheese, 4 toast, 10 saltine crackers, coffee and/ or tea.

Preparing for the first day

Reviewing the 3 day military diet for yourself, you can agree that it provides healthy food items, which don’t cost very much. Having a healthy weight isn’t just thin privilege, but it’s something anyone can achieve.

No strenuous exercise

If you haven’t got the time to thoroughly cook your meals, you probably don’t have the time to exercise either. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the time for it. Walking or moderate-effort cardio exercises can actually increase your metabolism and help you lose weight faster.

Most of the people who’ve reviewed the military diet AND accompanied it with some form on physical exercise have lost more weight faster than people who have been inactive. The good part, however, is that this diet doesn’t have you spending all your free time the gym. Some light activity can help you burn more calories, though.

No supplements

If you find a diet online that claims you will lose weight with magical pills that rid you of “toxicity” or “cleanse your body”, run from it. There is no such thing as a panacea or miracle vitamin water to improve your mood or have you cured of all your pre-existing metabolic issues.

No supplements

The 3 day military diet reviews we’ve found admit that not having people mindlessly gulp down pills or supplements is one of its key advantages. It only provides you with natural food and advises you to drink lots of water.

Some may frown upon the hot dogs, but we’ll discuss them later. Besides, there is also the option of replacing those with another type of meat you might like, such as the more healthy option of chicken breast.

Delicious food

The military diet isn’t a fad diet. It doesn’t have you eating just cabbage soup or lettuce for a week. In fact, during its first three days, you’re eating ice cream twice. Besides this, the food items are nutritious, and quite palatable.

Bananas and apples

You’ll be replacing the processed sugar, carbs and fat in junk food with natural sugar found in fruits (bananas and apples), natural fibers from the vegetables (carrots, broccoli, beans) and healthy fats found in the dairy items (cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream).

Besides, the following 4 “rest” days of the military diet can have you eating whatever you like. Nevertheless, even if you follow the proponents’ menu suggestions and stick to a diet below 1500 kcal/ day, you can enjoy tasty snacks and meals, such as yogurt parfait or air-popped popcorn.

The happy people

A very excited girl wants to share with us her progress with the military diet: she’s happy with her slimmer face and more chiseled arms after she went down from 184 pounds to 178.

After gathering all the necessary information and heard all the success stories, she decided to give it a try along with her brother, who also lost 8 pounds. Admittedly, the restrictions can make everyone crave for supplementary snacks, but we’re getting a pretty good insight from her: go grocery shopping the day before and shop for the whole 3 days.

Both this girl and her brother have worked out during this diet: she’s used to walking about 10 miles per day, and he’s a gym rat. Basically, her review of the military diet is a pretty positive one, even if she is a declared junk-food addict and missed the greasy foods. Actually, tuna is the only thing about the military diet she didn’t like, and she would definitely do it again.

The Bad

Hot dogs

Hot dogs are high in nitrates, sodium, and saturated fat. They’re basically scrap meat. Most of the negative reviews on the 3 day military diet take notice of the less healthy food options provided. However, you’re free to replace anything you might not deem appropriate for your lifestyle.

On the other hand, two turkey or chicken hot-dogs can’t do you too much harm, especially in a world where we’re surrounded with processed foods, and can’t even tell which is natural or not. Besides this, some small amounts of junk foods when you’re dieting keep your morale up. They feel like almost a cheat – even if they aren’t – and help get you through this diet faster.

Lots of willpower

You’re eating an average of 1200kcal per day with this diet. Most of its negative reviews highlight how hard it is to feel hungry for 3 days. It’s not a walk in the park, but it can give you great results. Other people don’t understand why they have to eat 200kcal worth of peanut butter, when they could be eating a pound of salad which has the same caloric intake, but leaves them fuller. The answer lies in the military diet’s scientific principles regarding optimal food combinations.

Peanut Butter

You won’t be able to snack. If you’re used to having two snacks per day or if you’re a craver, you’ll probably be among the people who give the military diet bad reviews. You’ll also not be able to enjoy any alcohol during all 3 days. So if you drink a glass of wine with dinner, it’s going to take you lots of willpower to resist the temptation.

Might not get desired results

The 10 pounds lost promised by the military diet are not an average, but an ideal. As such, many negative reviewers thought for sure they’ll manage at least that if they were really diligent and careful. Apart from this, some of them cheated a lot, but couldn’t see the error of their ways, blaming the military diet for their disappointing results.

Besides, weight loss varies drastically due to various reasons: height, starting weight, gender, fitness level and metabolic issues. As such, a tall, well-built man, with a good exercise routine, and with no metabolic issues is going to lose weight a lot faster than a short, normal-weight sedentary woman, especially if that women has an undiagnosed thyroid condition.

Conclusively, the average weight loss with the military diet revolves around 5 pounds, even if we’ve read reviews of people who have managed to lose 13 pounds for the whole week.

Weird food combinations

Canned tuna along with ice cream and bananas for dinner isn’t everyone’s ideal meal. You may find other food combinations which you might not like, or even food items which you normally don’t eat. The negative reviewers tend to over-exaggerate this, disregarding the fact that they can always choose to eat something else.

Egg and grapefruit

Don’t like the tuna/ banana/ ice cream combo? No problem, eat the tuna first, or even better, replace it with another type of baked fish. Keep the ice cream and banana for dessert, and suddenly you won’t feel the urge to give the military diet thumbs down.

Don’t like the grapefruit? Not many people do. Just replace it with a mix of baking soda and water, or squeeze its juice and add some Stevia to make it sweeter.


Giving up processed carbs and sugars will most definitely leave most people feeling irritated and tired. The reason is that their body has gotten used to a certain level of carbs, even though it’s a very high one. Those carbs give you enough artificial energy to get you through the day. That’s because they’re the primary source of energy used by your body, since they’re very easy to burn.

The reverse of the coin is that excess carbs are deposited as fat. Cutting down on carbs, makes your body burn through its fat stores which will help you lose more weight.

Conversely, this exhaustion is just your body’s way of adapting itself to the healthier change. If you’re patient enough, it will pass really quickly, and the next 4 days of moderate dieting can actually help you see things from a new perspective.

Some exaggerated claims

The most farfetched supposition the military diet entails, which can actually turn into a valid negative review is that you can create alkaline conditions in your body to burn fat faster if you’re eating half a grapefruit on day 1. Now, even if the grapefruit does have fat-burning properties and it’s very high in vitamins and fiber, half of it isn’t going to do anything for you.

Another such claim can be the highly increased metabolic rate, due to the intermittent fasting and high-fat, high-protein, high-fiber, low-carb food combinations. These can surely increase your metabolism, but eating below 2000 calories per day will also decrease it.

Basically, you’re ending up with the average rate, but that’s more than other diets can say. In fact, most crash diets slow your metabolism and the only way to increase it FOREVER is to have a constant healthy lifestyle, which also incorporates a weight training routine.

The unhappy people

This lovely lady tried the military diet for three days and couldn’t see the end of it fast enough. She says she was hungry the whole time, but still managed to respect the menu to the letter. More than just not cheating and eating exactly as prescribed, she did some moderate cardio training, including dancing, but she admits that her body wouldn’t have handled more effort during these days, as she was pretty week from the low amount of calories eaten.

Standing at 5’9”, and initially weighing 170 pounds, our heroine lost 6 pounds. She’s satisfied with the results, but perceives this diet only as a quick-fix, in case a special occasion demands fast weight loss. Otherwise, she won’t continue the intermittent fasting proposed by the military diet, but she will continue to be more disciplined regarding her portion sizes and food choices.

The Ugly

It’s not linked to the Army

Some reviewers feel betrayed when they find out that the military diet isn’t the actual diet followed by Army officers who want to lose weight. They are so deluded, they actually spend enormous amounts of time online explaining how someone who works in the Army would never eat so little, since their bodies undergo strenuous physical routines.

Soldiers are served a hot meal

However, more sensible reviews understand the fact that the name is just a metaphor suggesting the strict diet people will have to follow. So don’t think you’re going to be on actual military boot-camp dieting, but it is going to be a restrictive diet which requires effort and discipline from your part.

Some nutrition experts don’t like it

On a particular website that promotes this diet, it’s clearly specified that “Neither the staff nor management of 3 Day Diets are experienced, licensed, or knowledgeable to judge or recommend the validity or safety of this diet. We do not necessarily endorse this diet and recommend that before trying this or any other diet to consult a physician or licensed medical practitioner. Use at your own risk.”

Of course, the choice is always yours, and you should always triple-check everything you come across on the Internet. If you don’t trust your own research abilities or if you’re feeling confused, there’s no shame in asking your own GP about it.

Nutrition expert

For one, Victoria Taylor, British Heart Foundation senior dietitian, says it’s a fad diet. Well, it’s not exactly what we would call a fad diet, but nutrition experts will always give bad reviews to a fast diet like the 3 day diet, for a number of reasons:

  • First, it’s not reasonable to be followed long-term and nutritionists want people to change their lifestyle forever.
  • Secondly, it creates huge expectations and if those aren’t met, people will be so disappointed that they won’t be willing to try other diets.
  • Thirdly, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highly advises for a sustainable weight loss of 1 pound per week, which is more than sensible. But most people don’t have the time to do that, or can’t get the motivation to stick to a long-term diet. Consequently, you and your GP should be the judges of which diet is better for you.

It’s not indicated for some people

People who have heart issues, diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol shouldn’t be on this diet. The reason is that it’s high in salt, fat and cholesterol – all dangerous for people with the aforementioned conditions. Basically, this diet doesn’t sounds so good regarding certain people, for whom it can prove really unhealthy.

Moreover, pregnant women should also stay away from this diet. In fact, they should be eating an average of 200 calories more per day, instead of limiting their caloric intake.

Pregnant women

Other groups of people who should stay away from the military diet are old people, as well as children and teenagers. They need to eat balanced meals, snack and exercise more instead of limiting the number of calories they eat.

Kids are also growing and they need to make sure they don’t hinder their growth process. Meanwhile, older people need to take care of their bones and muscle, and not be on a diet that can make them lose muscle mass or bone-density.

Can lead to a spiraling weight loss / weight gain

For one thing, yoyo dieting is extremely dangerous, since it can weaken your organs and your immune system. This will likely increase your risk of heart problems, which is not something to mess around with.

Another thing is that yoyo dieting doesn’t allow sustainable weight loss. If you don’t get used to a healthy lifestyle, you risk oscillating between periods of eating a lot and periods of starving yourself. You can really damage your metabolism this way, and end up eating less that a child by the time you reach your 50s just so you can maintain your weight.

Browsing through the reviews, you’ll see that most people who go on this diet have fallen off the track a number of times when it comes to keeping a slender figure. If you’re in this case, consider an actual change of lifestyle, which will help you remain at a healthy weight.

Doesn’t encourage exercise

The diet’s proponents argue that exercising during the dieting days is highly recommended, but not necessary, since people can lose weight without it. That’s giving people the wrong message when it comes to long-term health habits and food choices.

HIIT cardio

Most doctors and nutritionists would advise you to take things slowly, and to not dive in the fastest solution available. They would also advise you to try HIIT or weight training, rather than conventional cardio.

On the other hand, the military diet doesn’t market itself as a long-term solution. It’s just a diet that lasts for 3 days, followed by another moderately restricted 4 days. The cycle can be repeated four times at the most, it’s not sustainable otherwise.

All that being said the only military diet review that actually matters is your own. Three days of fasting can’t affect you negatively for the long-term anyway, and you’re picking up some healthy habits. Everyone’s experiences are extremely subjective, that’s why you should take them with a pinch of salt, and try this diet for yourself if you’re interested in fast weight-loss.

About the author
Angie Moore
Angie Moore

Angie brings a mix of knowledge and experience in diet creation and fitness best practices. With Kansas State University‘s bachelor’s degree in dietetics and over 7 years of experience working with thousands of clients to better their life, Angie is passionate about your health and well-being. She is also a well-known foodie, having published a few books about diets that work. For most of the time, you can find her in the gym working out with friends and clients, pushing them for top results and fulfilled life.

  • Jamey Bronn

    Haha at the “It’s not linked to the Army” part! 🙂 But it is still a great metaphor.

    • The 3 day military diet is all about discipline and determination, something that the Army stands for. It’s really a great metaphor, right? :o)

  • Mary Ong

    I love the humor under BAD – Weird combinations – tuna/ banana/ ice cream combo?
    Haha! I’ve never seen anyone put banana on top of a baked tuna with ice cream on top. Otherwise a dieter is too serious to think and follow this literally. haha! This made my day! 🙂

    • These food combo can be crazy sometimes, but they work! Try it yourself! :o)

  • Chynna Lambert

    This is great. I’m quite scared of high impact exercising while limiting the food I intake. My friend has told me to try weight lifting, swimming, and rowing. But I think I shall start with walking first 🙂

    • The key is to keep your body moving. Light cardiovascular/aerobic exercises include walking. It’s a great exercise to do. In fact, you can walk anywhere, even during office break time.

  • Samantha Taylor

    I agree with you that many people nowadays are turning to supplements as an alternative way to lose weight instead of undergoing a dieting process. There may be nutrition labels on the products, but relying on them alone won’t promise you visible results. Better not take a risk on what is unsure. There’s no secret to success and oftentimes, we really have to work hard and be passionate about what we want in order to achieve it.

  • Aubrey Moore

    Thanks for this post. I am a peanut butter lover and all my life, I thought it’s not good for dieting. But, I just realized that our body needs fat, too. A good quality peanut butter is full of good fat and protein at the same time. 🙂

  • Zoey Hernandez

    I’ve heard of other weird food combinations as well for those who are dieting. Some are plain tomatoes with mayonnaise, peanut butter sandwiches with pickles, and mustard cheese and tuna. They may sound nasty, but these taste good and are healthy. Haha 🙂

  • Michelle Anderson

    Dieting doesn’t mean not eating delicious food. And yes, you are right. I don’t know why some people won’t go on a diet because they think it will only deprive them of eating a delicious meal. You can make a tasty salad or veggie soup filled with a mix of amazing flavours. We just need to explore and discover more. 🙂

  • Victoria Jackson

    Diet and exercise is such a perfect combo but too much exercise while on this military diet could make you really weak. So, how much more is too much? How do I know that I’m doing too much exercise that it’s not proportion with my diet anymore?

  • Jenna White

    Why should I be prevented from doing cardio exercises when I’m on the military diet? Can I make weight lifting exercises an alternative instead?

  • Hailey Thompson

    That review about linking this diet to the real military army just made me laugh. 🙂 I admit, at first when I heard of the military diet, I thought it would be patterned after the military. But then I began to understand that it was labeled after them because of how important discipline is. When you decide to be on a diet, that means you have to become stricter and more cautious with your food intake. You also need self-control to adapt to changes. This is indeed a serious thing.

    • Thanks Hailey for that wonderful insight! The military diet takes a lot of discipline and determination but the rewards are awesome. With the set meal plans, everything is planned for you so you don’t have to worry about portion control and calorie counting. These makes the diet very doable and easy to follow.

  • Hi Jenna and thanks for writing! While on the diet, it doesn’t hurt to do some light exercises but please don’t overdo it. Remember that your calorie intake is lesser, so it’s prudent to take it easy. Light cardiovascular exercises such as walking and dancing are great, so does lifting light weights.

  • Hello Victoria and thanks for reaching out. As with any diet, a good combination of food and exercise is needed to enable you to lose weight. How much is too much? Listen to your body. If you feel light headed, dizzy or nauseous while exercising AND doing the diet, then it’s time to modify your routine. Also, if you have mood changes such as irritability or you’re having trouble concentrating, then you’re most likely overdoing it.

  • That’s very true Michelle and glad that you pointed it out. Going on a diet doesn’t mean being deprived. There are many ways to prepare and cook food to make it more appetizing, appealing and a lot healthier. Many healthy condiments are permitted in the military diet to make food tastier. These include guacamole, hummus, hot sauce and pesto.

  • Hello Zoey and my, those are really odd food combinations you have there. :o)
    What’s cool about the military diet is that the set meal plans include a combination of food that will help you lose weight. You don’t have to mix and match anything and waste precious time. You can even replace some food and choose from a list of substitutes if you have allergies or other food preferences.

  • Hi Aubrey and like you, I’m a peanut butter-lover too! Remember that there are good and bad fats – and our bodies only need the good ones. Peanut butter contains good heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s a great energy food and a dieter’s best friend. It makes you feel full, provides fiber and tons of vitamins and minerals.
    Just don’t eat more than what’s required per day, especially when you’re on the military diet.

  • I agree with you Samantha and thanks for this nugget of wisdom!
    In order to lose weight, one must practice portion control, calorie counting and exercise, everything that the military diet espouses. Supplements can be beneficial but they are not magic pills to aid in weight loss.

  • Donna Norton

    What I like about this weight loss strategy is that there are no magic pills, expensive juice cleanses, and detox kits to buy. It just asks you to eat less, eat natural food, give up on sugary drinks, and to drink lots of water. However, the thing that I need to understand more from this diet is that it’s not just about calories but the combination of foods that leads to weight loss. I wished this article talked about this part more. (Base on a google research I did, one example of a good food combination is tuna and ginger. “Ginger blocks off inflammation that cause bloating while the omega-3 fat in tuna can ward off stress chemicals that promote storage of flab.”)

  • Jared Reid

    3 days of eating less and not overeating is not as hard as some people believe. Green tea can help manage hunger pangs and it does go away. I also found that when I keep myself mentally busy, I don’t crave snacks as much. I did lose more than 5 pounds after a week. Maybe the second time I do this diet, I will do a bit of exercise and see if I can achieve the ideal weight loss of 10 pounds.

  • Angie Moore

    Thanks for the suggestion Donna and I’m taking it down for future reference. An example I can think of right now is eating grapefruit during breakfast since it jumpstarts the liver into fat-burning mode. Peanut butter which requires more energy from the body to process since they burn more fat to digest is added for breakfast. The result: your body is in fat-burning mode from the first day of the military diet. And this is a good thing.

  • Angie Moore

    Great to hear that you’ve lost a couple of pounds Jared! You can cycle the diet – meaning start it again after 4 days of “rest” and see how much more pounds you can shed. Please do light exercises, such as walking or dancing during the diet and more intense workouts in your rest days.