Diet and Nutrition Keto Weight Loss Plans

Still On The Fence About Eating A Keto Diet? Would You Take A Soldier’s Word For It?

The keto diet is no secret and you’ve likely heard quite a lot about it. If you are like a lot of people, you’ve had your questions about its legitimacy. There are as many benefits to the ketogenic diet as there are questions about it.

Wild Growth of Obesity Worldwide

Globally, about 2 billion people are overweight. Approximately one-third of this group is also obese. Researchers have indicated that a high body mass is a contributing factor in about 4 million deaths worldwide every single year and most of those were due to cardiovascular disease.

The United States and the world’s wealthiest countries were the most affected and led the way with over 70% of the adult population being obese or overweight.

The US military has not escaped this epidemic. Over 60% of their personnel are obese or overweight. So the CDC is correct in its recent statement.  Obesity is a threat to our national security.

The threat of obesity and its risk to US national security is likely the reason why the military took to desperate measures and commissioned a research study to determine if a keto diet can help save the military. Military Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal, published the results. The title of the study, “Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel” explains the point and answers an important question.

Is the keto diet an effective strategy for winning the war on the obesity epidemic without detrimental effects on soldiers’ ability to withstand rigorous training and conditioning military drills?

Can Soldiers Do Keto?soldier carrying a dog

It’s no secret that a soldier’s life is one of great conditioning and strenuous activity day after day. Could such an active lifestyle be sustained while following a keto diet?

It was a chance military personnel were willing to take.


Researchers at the Ohio State University enlisted overweight U.S military personnel to participate in their study led by Dr. Jeff Volek, Ph.D. Volunteers were to follow the high fat, low carb keto diet plan for 12 weeks.

There was no calorie restriction but carbs were limited to 30 to 50 grams daily. Soldiers ate mostly nuts and non-starchy vegetables to reach the carbohydrate goal.

This was very different for the military since they typically adhere to a low-fat, high-carb diet. And yet it’s important to mention that still, nearly two-thirds of all the personnel in the military are either overweight or obese; even with them being extremely active.   As you can see, for a group of people who seriously need to maintain optimal health and be ready for combat at any time, this is a huge problem.

Blood ketones were checked daily to determine if they were in fact following a ketogenic diet.

But Will A Keto Diet Work for Me?

The honest answer to this question is yes. If you make lifelong behavior changes and eat a healthy keto diet, you can get similar results even without all the exercise. We know the military participants tended to eat less in general and experienced significant amounts of body fat loss.

Participants in the study who followed the low-fat plan and consumed a mixed diet consumed sugar and much more total carbohydrates. This eating plan contained about 40% carbohydrates and also did not calories restricted.

What Can We Learn From This Particular Study of the Ketogenic Diet?

weight loss measurementsWe can take away some key keto diet and health facts from this study, including:

  1. Those following the ketogenic diet group lost 17 pounds and 5% body fat on average over the 12 weeks.
  2. Participants lost an average of 43.7% of fat stored around body organs. This visceral fat is associated with increased inflammation and a higher risk of developing heart disease.
  3. Insulin sensitivity also improved by 48%.

These numbers and factors sharply contrast the results of the participants in the low-fat group. They did not show changes in these measures.

The scientists who were working with the group encouraged those in the ketogenic diet to include at least four or five grams of sodium in their diet to support their level of physical activity. This is commonly suggested for those who exercise rigorously but want to stick to the keto way of eating. Adding this small amount of sodium helps balance out electrolytes and reduces the risk of muscle cramps or fainting during strenuous activities.

It was also noted that both groups continued to perform resistance training two times a week and exercise routines. The results were similar for both groups. For this reason, the study also demonstrated that carbs are not a necessary component for improving athletic performance.

The Limitations of the Military Ketogenic Diet Study

The study was of course carefully thought out. It was carried out as planned but it did have some limitations.

  • It Was Not a Random Study

The participant selection for the study wasn’t random. Instead, members of the military were allowed to choose if they wanted to participate in adopting the ketogenic diet or not. Some would argue that this is “selection bias,” but the authors of the study stated that it ensured a better chance that participants would adhere to the eating plan.

In the civilian world, people can choose their diet plan, a ketogenic diet is just one of the choices. Following the keto diet does require a lot of personal commitment – do you have the level of commitment required to see the same results from sticking with the ketogenic diet

  • There Were Not A Large Number of Participants

The study did not have a large sample size, and only two of the participants were female. While it doesn’t carry the weight of a large, controlled, randomized trial, the results were apparent and significant. With these types of solid results, it’s safe to assume anyone who sticks to the ketogenic diet plan for 12 weeks would have similar results.

Outstanding Outcomes from this Ketogenic Diet Study

Therefore the answer is YES! The keto diet is an effective strategy for winning the war on obesity for the military. There are no detrimental side effects or negative consequences to the soldiers’ ability to withstand rigorous training and conditioning military drills. Maybe now the government will begin to lean toward exploring the effects of a ketogenic diet on larger numbers of military personnel.

Perhaps the best result from this study was that the ketogenic diet naturally reduced appetite. Hunger and cravings are difficult to manage when attempting to lose weight.

That’s great, right? Well, it is great for the military and it is great for us. Because the results blow a couple of myths totally out of the water. One, that you have to count calories to lose weight and fat. Two,  eating fat does not make you fat. Neither could be further from the truth!

Main Takeaway – the Ketogenic Diet for Losing Weight and Improving Performance

skinny jeansIf you’ve found yourself gaining weight or smack dab in the middle of the rising number of obese and overweight people, it may not be a matter of national security. However, for both military personnel and civilians alike, evidence continues to mount in favor of the safety and efficacy of a ketogenic diet. Going Keto is a safe, effective way to combat obesity, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Of course, if you are vegan, this may not be the diet for you. But it is likely to work for most people. One thing is for sure if you can avoid pizza and french fries like the soldiers did in this study, and as long as you make a commitment to stick with the ketogenic eating plan, you will shed fat without being hungry or worrying about tediously counting calories.

How Can You Know For Sure A Keto Diet Is For You?

You don’t need to wait. The best way to know for sure if eating a ketogenic diet will work is to try it. Reduce your intake of carbs, increase your intake of healthy non-starchy green vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. That will help you experience first-hand the health benefits. This new lifestyle can transform your body and your health.

Military Keto Study Wrap Up

Maybe you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to try the ketogenic diet. Perhaps you just lacked solid evidence that it is safe or that it works. The ketogenic diet is a healthy way to lose large amounts of weight, body fat and reduce risk and improve blood work for heart disease and diabetes.

Additionally, like the soldiers, if you are active or involved in high-intensity bouts of exercise, you can follow a keto diet with certainty. So yes you can keep up with their rigorous training without feeling washed out or weak.

The soldiers in this study followed the ketogenic diet for 12 weeks and had great results. If you are successfully losing weight on a keto diet, DO NOT stop after 12 weeks. Maintain your weight loss and sports performance with a keto lifestyle forever. You will be happy with the results.

When you are ready to begin, here’s a list of foods and beverages to help you get started losing weight, maintaining stamina, improving performance, and feeling better.

#Weight Loss #Military Keto Diet #Keto Diet #Obesity #Eatingtofuelhealth

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.