The US military has been looking at changing the diets of elite operators like Navy SEALs as new evidence emerges that their diet could enhance their abilities on the battlefield, especially underwater, but officials are concerned about what it could mean legally and in terms of their health.
The ketogenic, or keto, diet, is high in protein and fat and very low in carbohydrates. The diet forces the body to go into ketosis, in which the body burns stored fat, or ketone bodies, as energy instead of blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates.
Research shows the ketogenic diet can help human bodies stay underwater for longer periods of time, according to The Washington Times.
That would allow elite operators like Navy SEALs to be more effective on a combat dive or a raid that starts from an underwater SEAL Delivery Vehicle.
Lisa Sanders, the director of science and technology at US Special Operations Command, touted the findings but raised ethical concerns about promoting a particular diet among soldiers.
“One of the effects of truly being in ketosis is that it changes the way your body handles oxygen deprivation, so you can actually stay underwater at [deeper]depths for longer periods of time and not go into oxygen seizures,” Sanders said at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida, in May.
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