Military-Grade Nutrition

Over at the Authenticity Hoax blog, Andrew Potter just posted this interesting commentary, America’s New Age Army, about a story from yesterday’s NYT, Making Soldiers Fit to Fight, Without the Situps.

It’s a story, Andrew says,

…about the sorry state of today’s recruits. The short version is that recruits today are fat and slow, with poor bone density caused by eating too much junk food and spending too much time playing video games. As a result, they are getting injured during basic training at a much higher rate than even a few years ago.

Much of the piece is about physical training, but part is about nutrition, too. Andrew notes:

They’ve gone and re-did the mess hall as well. More vegetables and less fried food. They’ve even put signs near the fries labelling them “Performance Limiting Foods.”

The NYT story quotes Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the man responsible for overseeing basic training for the Army. According to the General, “This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue.”

So, now that the U.S. military has declared nutrition to be a national problem, can we expect a major effort from the US government to improve national nutrition standards?

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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5 Responses to Military-Grade Nutrition

  1. Anastasia says:

    There were so many bad-for-you things happening at the DFACs (dining facility) back when I was in the military. I’ll never forget one time I was on KP (kitchen patrol) duty during basic training and I watched a cook literally pour a gallon of oil into a pan of spaghetti. I’m guessing the goal was to avoid having the noodles stick together, but I’m sure a 1/2 cup or so tossed around would have done the job.

    Here’s hoping that the rest of the government will finally get what registered dietitians have been telling us for decades.

  2. Bob Matthews says:

    The term “performance-limiting foods” seems like it could be very powerful. It sure beats “unhealthy” for influencing behavior at an age where they think they’re invincible, but performance is something they measure every day.

    • Bob, I agree.
      I imagine there are lots of people who are tired of being told their favourite foods are “unhealthy,” and who are thus prepared to ignore that term, but who might well be concerned about something that is actually going to limit their *performance.*

  3. Good post Chris! Tasia it is sad that some people believe to make food taste good you need to add more oil or butter to the recipe. The military wouldn’t fuel its tanks with extremely low grade oil, so why are we fueling our soldiers with “performance-limiting foods.”

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