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March 27, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Ketogenic Diet
In January, the Supreme Court approved President Trump’s plan to ban transgenders from the military.
And now, we’re in the middle of a spat around whether we should include women in Selective Service…
But all this is smoke and mirrors. The REAL threat to military recruitment is one that has grown steadily over the years, and it’s one nobody talks about –the big ‘O.’
Yes, forget all those romantic images of strapping young men and women in peak physical condition, who perform superhuman feats in the name of the US of A.
Nowadays, new recruits are more likely to man the field kitchen than to carry M4s…
In fact, a 2015 RAND Corporation study found that more than half of servicemen were overweight. Now, BMI isn’t always an accurate measure of obesity, especially in a section of the population with higher muscle mass, but it’s still a worrying statistic.
And it’s put a huge dent in recruitment. I remember when I did my residency at a military hospital. I was honestly shocked at how much people gossiped about height and weight values– An insane amount of soldiers didn’t fit the bill.
But the military has woken up to this problem. And the methods they’ve used are certainly interesting…
Military Medicine, the official journal of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, just published a study this year where they put a group of soldiers on a ketogenic diet.
The results were astonishing.
Participants lost an average of 7.7 kilograms, 5.1 percent whole-body fat, and 43.7 percent visceral fat. This should come as no surprise. When you train your body to use fat for energy, it’s going to take from your reserves.
They maintained similar levels of physical performance, as you can access just as much if not more energy from body fat reserves than muscle glycogen.
Moreover, they lowered their insulin sensitivity by 48 percent.
It turns out when you don’t eat a diet that causes constant insulin secretion, your body actually responds to it properly!
Of all these statistics the visceral fat marker is the most important, and not just because it’s a bigger number…
It refers to the fat around your organs, rather than the visible fat under your skin. Visceral fat is a powerful predictor of health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. A healthy soldier is an effective soldier.
But what is the most telling of this whole study is that the soldiers didn’t change the number of calories they ate. Better body composition and lower fat levels are the Holy Grail for anyone interested in physical performance, aesthetics and health –and keto delivers.
It’s a slap in the face of detractors like Jillian Michaels, who attack keto and say it’s unhealthy and unscientific. In their world, you just need to restrict calories, and not worry about diet composition.
But the military disagrees. These soldiers are now healthier and less likely to die early of preventable disease thanks to following the keto diet. This study just adds to the pile of mounting evidence that proves it makes people healthier improves their lives –no matter what the naysayers tell you.
It’s why I’m so thankful to be on this side of the debate. It fills me with joy when I see people who are inspired to find out more about low-carb diets.
And I can tell you I much prefer to tell them beforehand than to treat them for multiple chronic diseases later down the line…
This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.