Do you know how some trends start up decades ago, just to fade into obscurity and come back with a vengeance? Trends like wearing choker necklaces and funk music seem to be back in style now, and it’s not just pop culture. The world of dieting has also seen some trends make a comeback in recent years, including the Israeli Army Diet.
While the name of the Israeli Army Diet suggested that it was actually created by the Israeli Army, that was not the case. It’s one of those urban legends like the GM Diet that got lost in time as the source material was found to be incorrect. Still, many people truly believe that the Israeli Army Diet is sanctioned by an actual military, and that association often makes people think of quick weight loss.
Let’s take a look at this once (and now again) trendy diet to see if it might be the right plan for you. If you are searching for a long term diet, this might not be the best plan, but it has seen some quick weight loss.
Basics of the Israeli Army Diet
The Israeli Army Diet started up in the 1970’s and promised a quick way to lose weight by eating like someone that was trying to lose enough weight to meet the cutoff for the Israeli Army. While there may have been a couple of recruits that tried this plan out for quick weight loss, it was never a standardized plan. It also only lasts for eight days, so you are already steering clear of a long term solution.
So what will you be eating on the diet? Not much, but you should be drinking plenty of water. Tea and black coffee are also allowed each day on the diet. Other than that, you are only eating four foods over the eight day span:
Days One and Two – Apples
Days Three and Four – Cheese
Days Five and Six – Chicken
Days Seven and Eight – Salad
Lasting two days eating nothing but chicken might be a bit easy, but 48 hours of apples, cheese and salad would be pretty tough to get through. There have been a lot of comparisons to the Military Diet that we have reviewed, but it is much different (both time and foodwise). None of the foods that you will be eating have many calories, and you aren’t getting a well rounded nutritional value from the Israeli Army Diet.
Now, when we lay out the plan for the Israeli Army Diet, you have to be very specific about the style of foods that you’re eating. Apples means apples, not apple fritters or apple pie for two days in a row. It also means sliced low fat cheese not cheese curds or Cheetos. You can probably guess from this point that you can’t have fried chicken or salads covered in ranch dressing if you want to lose weight on the Israeli Army Diet.
Losing Weight with the Israeli Army Diet
If you were thinking about entering into the Israeli Army Diet, you probably want to know how much weight you’re going to lose. Well, let’s break down the calories and see just how much you are taking in over the eight day span.
Let’s say for the first two days of the diet, you are eating a total of 12 apples. That’s a total of just 1,140 calories over that span. Next, you have cheese, and eating 10 ounces of cheddar cheese during the two days is another 1,140 calories. Then you have chicken, and eating 20 ounces of skinless and boneless chicken breast is only 616 calories. Finally, you end with salad and you can eat as much lettuce and as many tomatoes as you want and stay under a couple of hundred calories. That’s less than 3,200 calories total over an eight day span.
Naturally, you are going to be losing weight quickly when only averaging 400 calories per day as most bodies are naturally burning more than 1,500 per day just from being alive. However, breaking yourself down and eating just one food for two days at a time will drive you crazy and it’s more likely that you will be going back to the foods that you were eating beforehand.
Almost all of the people that have tried the Israeli Army Diet have ended up regaining most or all of the weight they had lost. A good portion of them ended up weighing more than they did before starting the diet within just a couple of weeks. The weight loss can be dramatic after the eight days of dieting, but those pounds are likely to come back with a vengeance. You could try and restarting the plan over, but that is incredibly unhealthy and most doctors would ban the diet if they could.
Alternatives to the Israeli Army Diet
Well, if starving yourself for eight days is unhealthy (naturally), what is a good lesson to learn that actually comes from Israel when it comes to weight loss? Studies have shown that Israelis have the healthiest overall diet in the world. Instead of eating like some believe army recruits do, just emulate the Israeli people overall.
Israelis, on average, eat a diet that is filled with fish and vegetables, similar to what you would find on the Mediterranean Diet (which has been ranked among the best weight loss programs in the world). More than three quarters of Israelis are eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, and the amount of fish is high in unsaturated fat. They are also avoiding eggs for the most part, and don’t overdo it on red meat.
Diets that focus on ones similar to the everyday Israeli have proven to be more beneficial for overall health and weight loss. If you want a program with more success than the Israeli Army Diet, the MIND, DASH and Mediterranean Diets are much better. Also, your doctor would be happy to guide you along those types of diets instead of a crash course in weight loss.
Exercising on the Israeli Army Diet
If you are to believe the rumors that the Israeli Army Diet was created by those trying to drop to a certain weight to meet the standards of the Israeli Army, you are trying to lose as much weight as possible. Not only is eating a very minimal amount going to make you lose weight quickly, but many have added exercise to the plan.
When you are only consuming an average of 400 calories per day, there really isn’t a need to exercise as you are already burning on fumes as it is. Those that add exercise have lost a dangerous amount of weight in the eight days since there was no fuel for their body to begin with. Have you ever seen a wrestler or MMA fighter trying to make weight before a big fight? They tend to look incredibly unhealthy and can be seen running around wearing garbage bags to make them sweat.
It’s the same idea for the Israeli Army Diet, as it takes the extremes of weight loss. What you don’t see from the fighters on television, however, is how much they intentionally regain after being weighed in. Your plan is to lose weight, their plan is to lose weight for a temporary amount of time so that they can fight at a much higher weight. Dropping 10 pounds in a week usually leads to gaining 15 the next week thanks to water, increased food and muscle, so this is not a diet for the common person.
Summing it Up
Fad diets seem to be making a comeback, even if they weren’t successful the first time around. People are desperate for weight loss answers, and the truth is that this one is nothing but dangerous. The nutritional value of the Israeli Army Diet is next to nothing, and long term weight loss is virtually nonexistent, as well.
One television personality in the United Kingdom (Lisa Wilkinson) said that she tried the Israeli Army Diet once. She said that “I can’t remember what it was exactly. I just remember it was the stupidest thing I’ve done. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever gone on a so-called diet.” She also added that she had no idea what the diet had to do with the Israeli Army, which makes sense because there is no actual correlation.
Any nutritionist will tell you to steer clear of this one and go to the alternatives, instead. While it might be tempting to want to drop 10 pounds for a big event that’s coming up in a few days, there are better ways to do it than starving yourself for more than a week. Some fads should probably just remain fads of their time, and never come back.