If you're curious about the 3-day diet, also called the military diet, you might be wondering if you can swap out any of the foods on the plan. While the program is fairly rigid, some people may need a substitute for grapefruit, which is part of the breakfast on day one.
If you are following the diet exactly as it is defined online, the substitute for grapefruit is 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.
What is the Military Diet?
Despite the name that is associated with the 3-day diet, this weight loss plan is not affiliated with the military. Where the name "Military Diet" came from is up for discussion, but what is clear, is this diet has been around for a long time.
The guidelines of the 3-day diet, according to the Military Diet website, are to eat a certain combination of foods three meals a day for three days, followed by four days of less restricted eating that includes three meals and two snacks each day. Once you complete this seven-day cycle, you repeat it, starting with the three-day phase. They claim a weight loss of up to 10 pounds per week or 30 pounds in one month.
For three days, you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, with no snacks. The foods permitted include:
- Toast with peanut butter
- Green beans
- Vanilla ice cream
- Hot dogs
- Hard-boiled egg
- Saltine crackers
- Cottage cheese
- Coffee and tea
The plan is a low-calorie method, according to the Southern Colorado Dietetic Association (SCDA), with followers taking in less than 1,000 calories per day on this phase of the plan. Despite the claims made by the military diet, the SCDA says this is simply a calorie-restricted diet.
Substitute for Grapefruit
Grapefruit is part of breakfast on day one of the diet. This is the only time it appears on the plan. Grapefruit is a citrus fruit that is considered an excellent source of vitamin C. According to the USDA, one medium-sized grapefruit has approximately 81.9 calories, 1.61 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of fat, 20.7 grams of carbohydrate, 356 milligrams of potassium and 88.1 milligrams of vitamin C and 356 milligrams of potassium.
Despite the nutritional value of grapefruit, some people need to avoid this fruit and its juices. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), grapefruit and its juices can affect how well some medicines work, especially if you have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.
Drugs that don't mix with grapefruit, according to the FDA, include some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, some drugs that treat high blood pressure, some organ-transplant drugs, some anti-anxiety drugs, some corticosteroids that treat Crohn's or ulcerative colitis, some drugs that treat abnormal heart rhythms and some antihistamines.
The military diet substitutes for food are only recommended if you have dietary restrictions. For example, some people may need a substitute for grapefruit due to certain medications. But rather than substituting a different fruit, the diet says to put 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. They claim this will give dieters the same benefits as grapefruit.
If baking soda is not your thing, a healthy grapefruit replacement on any other meal plan could be a different citrus fruit such as oranges. Additionally, any fruit can replace most fruits on a diet, as long as you keep the serving size and calorie content the same.
Read more: The Effects of Eating Too Much Grapefruit
Safe Weight Loss
If the low number of calories and lack of food choices on the 3-day diet has you feeling unmotivated to lose weight, don't worry, there's a solution. When it comes to losing weight, it's not how fast you drop the pounds that matters, it's how long you can keep them off that really determines success. And if long-term weight loss is your goal, then slow and steady is definitely the way to go.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics points out that if a product or plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And losing 10 pounds in one week definitely fits that description. That's why they say to steer clear of diets that promise rapid weight loss, limit quantities, promote specific food combinations, prescribe rigid menus and make exercise optional.
In general, most experts, including the Mayo Clinic, will recommend a weight loss of one to two pounds per week. To reach this goal, they suggest reducing your calories by 500 each day, burning an additional 500 calories each day through exercise or a combination of both methods. If one pound per week is your goal, reduce your calories by 250 and do enough exercise to burn 250 calories. Up each of those numbers to 500, and you will be on your way to losing two pounds per week.
- The Military Diet: "About the Military Diet"
- The Military Diet: "Military Diet Substitutions"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Grapefruit Juice and Some Drugs Don't Mix"
- Southern Colorado Dietetic Association: "Fad Diets: The Military Diet"
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Staying Away from Fad Diets"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Fast Weight Loss: What's Wrong With It?"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Data Central: "Grapefruit, Raw"