The U.S. military is considering putting its elite Navy SEALS on the high fat, ultra-low-carbohydrate keto diet because it may help them stay underwater longer, according to a June 14, 2019 Business Insider article.
The keto diet induces a metabolic change called ketosis, which causes the body to burn stored fat as energy rather than blood sugar. One of the side effects of the process is that it changes the way the body handles oxygen deprivation. David Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained in the article that ketosis reduces the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the body in relation to the amount of oxygen it consumes. The buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream is what triggers the need to breathe, he said, so being on the keto diet could enable someone to breathe less often.
However, Ludwig cautioned, the long-term health effects of the keto diet have not been studied.
Read the Business Insider article: Navy SEALs are looking into the keto diet to be even more effective on missions
Is the keto diet safe? (Harvard Chan School news)
Diet review: Ketogenic diet for weight loss (Harvard Chan School’s The Nutrition Source)