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Farewell Carbs: US officials consider introducing mandatory keto diet to soldiers

The US military can change its industry guidelines so that service members must follow a ketogenic diet, according to defense officials.

The ketogenic or keto diet is a very low carbohydrate, fatty diet that puts the body in a metabolic state called ketosis, causing it to burn fat instead of glucose for energy.

"One of the effects of being in ketosis is that it changes the way your body handles oxygen protection so you can actually stay under water at depths for longer periods and not go into oxygen seizures." Lisa Sanders, director of US Special Operations Command science and technology reported at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in May, Military Times reported.

If a ketogenic diet is imposed on all military members, eateries on different military bases must change their menus. In addition, military budgets, wages and allowances may have to increase, according to some military officials. However, according to Jef Volek, professor at Ohio State University's Department of Human Sciences and author of a study recommending keto diet, military budgets would not have to increase.

"The ketogenic diet is high in fat, which is cheaper," said Volek, Military Times reported. "Meat, eggs, fish, chicken, cheese, butter, seeds, nuts and non-starchy vegetables are the basis of the diet. Fat is the key or the primary nutrient."

But the question remains whether the military has the legal authority to to impose a particular diet on service members. The Keto diet must be followed strictly to be successful.

Last year, military leaders said members of the US Marines and Army would see major changes in their chow halls falling as the service fought for high-fat service members. According to the Marine Corps leaders, the service planned to offer cuisine similar to that offered by the US Division I NCAA athletic programs.

In 2014, the US Navy stopped selling sodas and fried foods aboard stores while the army implemented the Go For Green program, which "uses more nudging strategies to encourage soldiers to choose healthy foods and beverages," according to Laura Mitvalsky. Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at the Army Public Health Center, Sputnik reported.

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