What Can You Drink on the Military Diet?
The 3 day Military Diet is an intense weight loss regime that claims to help you lose weight fast. It's primarily based on counting calories but is also focused on the chemical balance of the foods you consume and how they impact your overall health.
There is a set list of weight loss foods and drinks to stick to with the Military Diet, however there are substitutes available which can make figuring out what to drink a little more challenging.
So, we've created a list of drinks that are acceptable on the diet and answered the most important question of all - can you drink your usual Zest Tea while on the Military Diet?
The 3 Day Military Diet Plan
Before you start any diet plan, we highly recommend you talk to someone who can provide medical advice. Any diet, whether it's the Military Diet, intermittent fasting, or any other fad diets that are currently popular, will not be suitable for everyone.
If you want to lose weight healthily and find a diet that will work best for you, then talk to your doctor or a medical health professional.
At Zest, we've written a series of helpful guides to different diets, so you can figure out what you can drink and what you should avoid.
- Whole30 diet approved drinks
- Paleo diet approved drinks
- Atkins diet approved drinks
- Keto diet approved drinks
The key difference between the Military Diet and these other diets, is that this diet plan focuses on more than just calorie requirements and restricted food groups. The diet is based around the idea that you should consume foods that are chemically compatible, which will enhance weight loss, boost a person's metabolism, and control sugar crashes and energy instability.
How the Military Diet Helps You Lose Weight
The Military Diet isn't used by the actual military. It's a 3-day diet that's designed to help you lose weight fast. The idea is that you diet for 3 days, then consume a normal (albeit healthy) diet for the remaining 4 days of the week. You can repeat this week-long schedule as many times as you need for your weight loss goals.
This should "kick start" your metabolism and help you burn off weight.
The foods you can consume include:
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Green Beans
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Hot Dogs
- Meat (preferably lean meat)
- Peanut Butter
- Saltine Crackers
- Vanilla Ice Cream
There's a mix of vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates and dairy products, along with protein sources to choose from. Although some of these foods contain natural sugars or added sugars, you are discouraged from adding further sugar to the diet. It's also best to stick with natural plant-derived sweeteners, rather than artificial ones.
As for which drinks you can enjoy while benefiting from this weight loss program, see our full list below.
Extra Precautions to Take when Following the Military Diet
Although you can eat what you like during the 4 days between diet periods, you should still eat healthy and talk to someone who can provide medical advice if you encounter any side effects.
Counting calories isn't the main method of the Military Diet, however, consuming fewer calories is still advantageous and you shouldn't overeat excessively.
According to the official Military Diet plan website, the weight loss from this diet isn't just from burning off water weight. Furthermore, the concept of entering a "starvation mode" where your weight loss slows down is also a myth.
Five Drinks Compatible with the Military Diet
These are 5 drinks highlighted by the Military Diet and on the very strict approved list of foods to help you lose weight. Just as you would with food, you need to monitor your caloric intake to ensure you don't go overboard.
Many advocates of the Military Diet recommend you consume around 2 liters of water a day, alongside the strict 3-day meal plan. You'll certainly want to stay hydrated, especially if you're adding vigorous exercise to your routine during this period as well.
General advice is for healthy adult men to consume 3.7 liters per day, and healthy adult women to consume 2.7 liters per day.1 20% of this is absorbed when you eat foods as part of your daily diet, so the remaining should come from your drinks.
On the 3 day Military Diet, you can consume a range of water-based drinks that are compatible with the diet plan, so you don't need to drink just plain water.
2. Zest Black Tea
Tea is on your food list, alongside coffee. Just bear in mind that you cannot add milk and sugar to your tea, as that would break the rules and ruin your weight loss efforts.
Black tea is particularly great for the Military Diet, as it's one of the most caffeinated tea types. A standard cup of black tea will contain around 50mg of caffeine - read our article about caffeine levels in different tea types to learn more.
At Zest, we use additional tea extract to naturally boost the caffeine levels to 3x this amount. In our most caffeinated tea blends, there's 150mg of caffeine to enjoy. This is more than coffee, but still below the healthy daily recommendation by the FDA (400mg).2
Furthermore, there's no processed foods or ingredients in our tea blends. Just non-GMO flavors and plant-powered energy. No sugar or milk is needed to make our teas taste great!
3. Zest Green Tea
Green tea has long been associated with weight loss and it's a popular tea type to consume on many low calorie diet plans, not just the Military Diet. Unfortunately, low quality green tea can be as flavorsome as an unseasoned hard boiled egg. Other green teas that are brewed too strongly become unbearably bitter.
However, green tea shouldn't be an unappetising weight loss drink. High quality green tea leaves, like the Young Hyson Chinese green tea we use in our blends, produces a smooth, subtly sweet and refreshing flavor. Combined with non-GMO natural ingredients for a little extra flavor, you'll find that green tea is more than just a fad diet drink. It's delicious!
The Military Diet encourages you to consume green tea, however there's not much caffeine in green tea naturally. Our plant-powered green tea blends provide more, with up to 135mg of caffeine per cup.
Coffee is recommended by the Military Diet because it's naturally high in caffeine and very low calorie - although clearly, not as high-caffeine as Zest Tea!
While our teas can provide more caffeine than coffee, you can still enjoy a hot or iced coffee if you need to on the 3 day Military Diet. A hot black coffee alongside half a banana lunch will certainly give you an immediate energy boost.
However, unlike tea, coffee provides a sudden burst of energy that drops off as quickly as it comes on. It's unsustainable and doesn't provide those calm, collected vibes that tea does. Learn more about why this happens in our article Caffeine in Tea vs. Coffee.
Coffee may be acceptable on the Military Diet, but we believe it's really the junk food of the energy drink world. It's satisfying and hits you with a sudden burst of energy, but it's not a good way to eat healthy and create sustained, smooth energy for your day.
5. Fruit Smoothie
Add an apple, banana half, and scoop of vanilla ice cream (or dairy free ice cream if you are lactose intolerant) to a blender, and you'll have a Military Diet approved smoothie. You could also create a green smoothie by experimenting with green beans and a broccoli half.
While this drink is made with foods that are approved on this diet, it could lead to weight gain if you aren't careful. Eating an apple takes time and energy, whereas drinking a few apples, ice cream, and bananas in smoothie form only takes seconds. It's easy to consume more than you really need to, so monitor your calorie intake carefully when it comes to fruit smoothies.
Five Drinks You Can Substitute With
The Official Military Diet offers a list of substitutes, so even if you have allergies or cannot access certain foods, you can still take part without breaking the dietary restrictions. Many of the foods can be substituted with drinks that fit the Military Diet plan.3
1. Sugar-Free Zest Energy Drinks
The best substitute for hot coffee or tea is a high-caffeine, sugar-free energy drink. Our Zest Tea plant-powered energy drinks are the perfect replacement, as they are 0-calorie, sugar-free, and only use natural sweeteners (stevia leaf). The Military Diet warns you away from artificial sweeteners, which cancels out many other energy drinks at the grocery store.
To substitute hot coffee or tea with a cold energy drink, simply swap 1 serving for 1 serving. Instead of brewing a mug of tea, consume a can of energy tea instead.
Our energy teas that are most compatible with the low calorie plan are;
Each serving provides 120mg of caffeine and 100mg of L-Theanine.
2. Baking Soda and Water
You'd think an orange or other citrus fruit would be the best replacement for grapefruit in the 3-Day Military Diet plan, but the official guidelines recommend replacing 1 grapefruit with 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water.
As the Military Diet focuses on what effect the food has on your body, they have found that this substitute is best for rapid weight loss. As both grapefruit and baking soda create an alkaline condition in your body, which is better for fat burning and losing weight, it's a better substitute than a sugary orange or acidic lemon.
Of course, we can't pretend that drinking a glass of baking soda water will be very pleasant!
3. Almond Milk or Soy Milk
The recommended substitute for cottage cheese is plain Greek yogurt, a slice of cheddar cheese, one hard boiled egg, and even ham. However, there is an option for vegetarians and vegans. To replace cottage cheese, you can combine 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk, almond milk, or even hemp milk, with 2 tablespoons of hummus.
This will create a good cottage cheese consistency for meal plans. However, you could simply drink the cup of milk and have the serving of hummus with a small apple lunch, for example. This would still fit the rules of this low calorie diet.
4. Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate
This is another substitute for caffeinated drinks. As part of the Military Diet, you'll be focusing on your calorie intake to burn fat. You'll be encouraged to increase your caffeine intake while reducing your calorie intake.
Hot chocolate almost fits the bill. You're discouraged from consuming chocolate-flavored milk and chocolate ice-cream to replace your vanilla ice cream, however you can drink hot chocolate to replace your coffee or tea. The trick is that it must be sugar-free. It would also be better to make the hot chocolate with water instead of milk, however you could use the almond milk from your cottage cheese substitute (see above) for a creamier version.
5. Apple Juice
When it comes to vanilla ice cream day, you have a few substitutes available. Dairy free ice cream is an excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians - although it's worth analyzing the ingredients list and calorie content, to ensure that it's as similar to vanilla ice cream as possible.
You can also substitute vanilla ice cream with flavored almond milk (just not chocolate flavor), or 1 cup of apple juice, or 1 cup of fruit flavored yogurt.
The apple juice is the one you can drink! You could also replace the vanilla ice cream with half a cup of yogurt and Military Diet-approved fruits to create a drinkable smoothie.
Three Drinks to Avoid
These drinks are not just off the list, but actively discouraged during the 3-day diet plan. During the other 4 days of the week, you can drink whatever you like. However, many advocates of the diet will recommend maintaining a sensible healthy diet and even limiting your calorie intake to 1500 per day.
1. Sugary Soda Drinks
Soda - no matter which brand - is not on the list of Military Diet approved foods. You can enjoy a slice of toast, or even a scoop of ice cream, but unfortunately your favorite soda doesn't make the cut.
This applies to sodas that are loaded with sugar, or sugar-free sodas that contain artificial sweeteners. The Military Diet only makes exceptions for sugar-free energy drinks that are sweetened naturally or not sweetened at all.
2. Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is not acceptable on the Military Diet, so stick to coffee or tea when you need a break or moment to relax. This applies to all alcoholic drinks, whether you consume them or incorporate them into your meals. Wine, beer and spirits are all best avoided, even if they are zero-calorie.
You are free to consume alcohol after the 3-day period, however it's always best for your health to drink in moderation regardless. You may also find that when you lose weight, your tolerance for alcohol is reduced too.
3. Fruit Juice
Apple juice is part of the substitute list and you can use the fruits approved on the diet to make a smoothie. However, other fruit juices that aren't on the list should be avoided. This includes orange juice, cranberry juice, mango juice, etc.
If you usually start your day with a glass of Tropicana, then try juicing the Military Diet approved grapefruit instead. Drinking the juice with the pulp will ensure you consume the fiber within the fruit too, not just the liquids and sugars.
Can you drink green tea on the Military Diet?
Yes! All types of tea are acceptable on the Military Diet, including both black tea and green tea. If you enjoy green tea but need more of an energy boost to get you through the week, check out our energy tea range.
Can you have wine on the Military Diet?
No, you cannot drink wine or any other alcohol during the 3-day Military Diet. On the 4 "rest" days of the week, you can consume alcohol. Remember to drink responsibly.
Can you use salt and pepper on the Military Diet?
Yes, salt and pepper are acceptable seasonings on the Military Diet. Most other spices and flavorings are not acceptable, however.
How much weight can I lose on the 3 day Military Diet?
Some people claim to lose up to 10 pounds in just one week. How much weight you lose depends on how many times you repeat the diet, as well as your metabolism and other health conditions. Most people who follow the diet manage to lose a few pounds, at least, when they stick to the food list strictly.
Who should avoid the military diet?
If you need to eat out regularly because you cannot access a kitchen or grocery store, or you just work odd hours, then you may find the Military Diet hard to stick to. Some people find that this diet drains their energy and leaves them feeling grumpy, agitated, and hungry all the time without enough calories to sustain them. High caffeine coffee or tea may help keep your energy levels up, however.