Is this Israeli Army Diet fad worth your time?
Very few diets actually remain around for years, as many of the diets are just “fad” or “trendy” diets with little in the way of science to back them up. The Israeli Army Diet was one such diet- popular way back in the 70s, and touted as being an imitation of the diet followed by the Israeli Defense Forces. Of course, there was very little connection to the Israeli Army, as you can see by the diet below:
Days 1 and 2: Eat only apples. Black coffee and tea was permitted.
Days 3 and 4: Eat only cheese. Black coffee and tea was permitted.
Days 5 and 6: Eat only chicken. Black coffee and tea was permitted.
Days 7 and 8: Eat only salad. Black coffee and tea was permitted.
According to the diet, if you followed it strictly for the eight days, you could see some decent weight loss. The Chanukah of diets, if you will. But like most fad diets, the weight loss was only short term, meaning the dieter would usually gain back the weight within a few days or weeks after quitting the diet.
Not only was the diet ineffective in the long term, but, as you can see by the foods permitted, it was totally unhealthy and lacking balance. The diet didn’t involve enough calories, vitamins/minerals, or protein and was quickly put down as “fad” diet and faded into obscurity.
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Worse still, the diet had NOTHING to do with the actual diet followed by the Israeli army. According to Yael Lustmann, a former IDF soldier and current good health purveyor at Sweet Crush in LA, “The army always provided a balanced meal, with lots of fruits and vegetables. In recent years, there has been much more awareness towards health-conscious eating, and there are various programs towards that end.”
Lustmann went on to explain that the army is:
- Reducing the presence of processed food. As we all know processed food is low in nutrients and high in chemicals, meaning less than ideal for an active soldier.
- Increasing vegetarian and vegan meal programs. Many IDF soldiers are vegan and vegetarian, and the army has begun to supplement their pay in order to help them afford non-meat protein options. However, as of October 2014, they were unable to use military kitchens for the preparation of their vegan/vegetarian meals.
- Minimizing saturated fats. Though fat is an excellent source of energy, saturated fat may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Providing gluten-free options. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity has become much more common in recent years, so the IDF offering their soldiers gluten-free options helps them to eat healthy without risk of being “glutened.”
The Israeli Army chefs go through rigorous training in top culinary schools in order to learn how to cook balanced, nutritious meals.
According to Ziv Fishfedder, another former Israeli Army soldier, “the IDF has switched to a healthier lifestyle, not just diet. Not only are the plans more balanced– with plenty of veggies, grains, and protein– but the soldiers are encouraged to sleep no less than 7 hours per night.”
The Israeli Army and IDF are improving the diet of their soldiers, ensuring that they have the energy needed to defend their country. The Israeli Army Diet, however, is completely unrelated to the actual diet followed by the Israeli Army and sounds more like the average American breakfast– random snacks and coffee.