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What warfighters eat. What's healthier.
July 6, 2010 6:17 PM   Subscribe

What warfighters eat. What's healthier. Video is from an all-day seminar at NIH. Start around minute 58 through 1:13 to hear the marine presenting in detail what warfighters currently get to eat -- first hand from the guy who handles supplying them, in detail. Start earlier around minute 12 for what would be better 'nutritional armor' for warfighters (Dr. Bill Land). Many more parts to the presentation. All worthwhile.

Dr. Land's slides are at: http://omega-6-omega-3-balance.omegaoptimize.com/files/8/9/8/7/3/147167-137898/NutritionalArmor.ppt

Main site is: http://efaeducation.nih.gov/
Interactive spreadsheet (Windows or Mac) for food choice is:
http://efaeducation.nih.gov/sig/kim.html

It's refreshing to see a scientist present policy advice so clearly.
posted by hank (44 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
So people who are given a diet designed for them and their situation with lots of physical activity are better then people who don't?

Huh.
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on July 6, 2010


Driving around my neighborhood, I'm always shocked to see how many refrigerators are left wide open, with the default password.
posted by condour75 at 6:38 PM on July 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


For those unable or unwilling to use RealPlayer to watch this, here's another method: I was able to get VLC to play the file without downloading it first by using Media > Open Network Stream, pasting the video URL given at the bottom of the page with HTTP as the protocol, and clicking Play.
posted by dammitjim at 6:45 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Funny how this place can fixate on a single word, and ignore the entire post.
posted by smackfu at 6:46 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


In case anyone wants to, you know, listen to the content of the video instead of just going off about the terminology used in the title.
posted by dammitjim at 6:47 PM on July 6, 2010


Warfighter is refreshingly non-euphemistic. The worst criticism one could make is that it's a bit on-the-nose, but I think it defies the george-carlin-routine caricature of military jargon.

And as for the actual post content: Given the events of the last few months, I think it's about time that healthy fisheries became a national strategic priority. I obviously haven't listened to the lecture yet, but I'm interested to know how an omega-3 rich diet could become sustainable for a world population of 6 billion.... it seems pretty tough to get enough without fish, and there's an awful lot of us now.
posted by condour75 at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about the pickyeater warfighters? What do they eat?
posted by ericost at 7:09 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


i DID click on the link and i was treated to an extended metaphor that says "less nutritional armor is needed when fewer insurgents are allowed in the area" (see graphic at 45:41)

who do i trust in this whole nutritional insurgency going on in my body that he's talking about?

i can get mighty confused trying to tell who is an insurgent and who is a nationalistic freedom fighter!

is omega 3 an agent of HAMAS or a nonaggresive molecule?
posted by Hammond Rye at 7:11 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about the pickyeater warfighters? What do they eat?

Nothing but freedom fries, of course.
posted by enn at 7:13 PM on July 6, 2010


A coop I used to live at obtained a copy of the official MIL-SPEC recipe for oatmeal cookies. The document was around 25 pages.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's co-op, btw. I am not poultry.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had never heard the term "warfighter" before this post, and for a minute I had that strange feeling you get sometimes (you all do, right) where there seems to be a possibility that one has accidentally slipped into a slighter greater increment of bizzaro world? It's a loathsome term. Soldiers are one thing, service men/women another, and armies can do many things-- rebuild levees, protect people, etc. A warfighter does nothing but war. It's a horrific coinage.
posted by jokeefe at 7:28 PM on July 6, 2010 [18 favorites]


I'm interested to know how an omega-3 rich diet could become sustainable for a world population of 6 billion.... it seems pretty tough to get enough without fish

Better living through chemistry

or

Better living through biochemistry
posted by exogenous at 7:30 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


salvor, I do believe the full 'recipe' (or rather, specification) for chocolate brownies was posted here a few months ago. Went to quite a few pages too.

Not surprising at all.
posted by wilful at 7:31 PM on July 6, 2010


or to put it another way:

how much omega-3 do i need to protect my nutritional street cred from the daily stress of repelling hipsters that want to overload my meme capacity?

consult the chart
posted by Hammond Rye at 7:37 PM on July 6, 2010


The document was around 25 pages.

which have been carefully written to ensure that some contractor wont just slap label of '50% whole wheat' on a bag of half wheat and half sawdust and use that in their mix (from which they will charge the DoD $344 per batch of cookies made) and so on....
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 7:37 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


...omega-3 rich diet...

Non-open-ocean aquaculture could do it, or responsible open-ocean aquaculture... if not for the g*d*mned corn (see the United States entry).

Heck, small scale aquaculture is doable. I've seen a protocol involving 3x 55-gallon drums that could fit into a backyard that grows tilapia/freshwater-shrimp/rice. There's a decent amount of working research on high efficiency medium-scale aquaculture in academic labs just waiting to be disseminated to the industrial sector, too.

The problem with aquaculture, like everything else, is that it's being done without responsibility - you hear about salmon farms infesting wild populations with fish lice and other disasters that could have been prevented. Businesses shouldhave more responsibility to "the greater good" than "shareholder value."

But that's never going to happen.
posted by porpoise at 7:50 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


MeTa
posted by lysdexic at 7:58 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, for once it is appropriate to post recipes in the original thread, instead of in MeTa. Anyone have links to these monster baking documents?
posted by NoraReed at 8:05 PM on July 6, 2010


[Bunch of comments removed. The post is nominally about nutrition, not what to call military personnel; in the future please consider either taking framing arguments to metatalk promptly or working things out via email. There's a metatalk thread now if you want to keep talking about that.]
posted by cortex at 8:09 PM on July 6, 2010


The KIM food chooser is pretty neat. Being a vegetarian, I was expecting to be disappointed, but it gave me lots of great suggestions to balance my diet. Must. eat. more. zinc.
posted by unliteral at 8:11 PM on July 6, 2010




This DLA page contains several more recipes specifications.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 8:19 PM on July 6, 2010


Man that PCR-C-019A Country Captain Chicken sounds mighty tasty. Anyway, I must say I ate pretty good in the Air Force. The Alaskan Pike fillet was pretty damn good.
posted by MikeMc at 8:24 PM on July 6, 2010


Oh, that KIM software is really cool.

I can't get the videos to go for some reason, but the slides were pretty informative. I had always thought that olive oil was superior to the other oils. Looks like the cheaper canola would be better to get.
posted by lysdexic at 8:41 PM on July 6, 2010


I'm not an expert on the effects of omega-3 on stress resilience, wellness, blah blah blah, but I've got a better idea for improving the warfighter's survivability prospects - don't engage in reckless, useless, and bankrupting wars.
posted by simms2k at 8:42 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks dammitjim, for the alternative method of viewing the video with VLC.

Note there's a Day 1 video as well:
http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=8107
Permanent link: http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?15352

I put my meta comment in the meta thread; thanks cortex for creating it)
posted by hank at 9:25 PM on July 6, 2010


Country Captain chicken kind of sucks. Chicken and Salsa is pretty good, though.
posted by atchafalaya at 2:54 AM on July 7, 2010


Soldiers are one thing, service men/women another, and armies can do many things-- rebuild levees, protect people, etc. A warfighter does nothing but war. It's a horrific coinage.

When I first saw the term "warfighter" used, I admit I immediately had a feeling of "This is the point where our future is locked in-place", as if to say the US is now a perpetual warring machine and we are no longer pretending otherwise.

That, or it's simply a way-cooler title, being used to attract kids who grew up playing video games. "Sweet! I can be a warfighter, and not some pussy soldier."
posted by Thorzdad at 9:27 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please focus on the nutrition information. There's a meta thread provided to talk about the word choice; the link is in the comments above.
-----------

Key point from the video:
Quote from the transcript, around slide #14

"... Now, the final stage of my talk has to be with more about arithmetic. And so at 79, I remember when these data were published in 1963. You know I was around and the data say that when you eat a little bit of omega-6 linoleic or a little omega-3 linolenic in laboratory animals, you increase the percent of omega-6 or omega-3 in the tissue HUFA. As you increase it from essentially zero up to one, you get this tremendous linear increase in the percent of omega-6 in the tissue HUFA. But, as you get up around 1% of daily calories it levels off and you see the growth of these small laboratory rats (minute 38) is also enhanced. That's a standard vitamin assay. And they could put little amounts of omega-6 or omega-3 in the diet and they show the rate grew better and better until you get up about here and then the system is saturated and no more change. That is the beginning of enzyme kinetics for you guys. And that needs to be dealt with because it's a hyperbola. It looks like a straight line if you're over here and it looks like a straight line over there, and that's a paradox because, the thing is, it is insensitive to changes to dietary linoleate. Up here it's insensitive. Down here it's exquisitely sensitive. Make up your mind. What's it going to be? The answer is no. At one range it's very sensitive. In other ranges it's very insensitive and you're going to have to live with that fact.

Another fact is that, in the United States we are about here. And so in here isn't going to be a very robust effect until you start getting down here. Then you'll see some really big effects. So don't be surprised if some people are reporting that, hey, I changed linoleate and it didn't change anything. You can predict it. And knowing how to predict it is why I'm here. Mikala Middleton worked that out a while ago. The model generates prediction numbers. I know you don't like numbers so I'll show you pictures. This is a picture of the numbers. And the model generated them by taking .1% of calories as the midpoint on the curve. And this is the statement. It's an algebraic statement about the optimum effect that will happen as you change supply. So supply leads to this thing. Whether it's omega-6 or omega-3, that's what supply does.

Now, the context that you need to understand is that you want to know what about this in the context of omega-6 competition? So the model lets you predict. We predicted that hyperbola. That was easy. Now we predict what happens when the two are together. As you add more and more omega-6, the omega-3 is not very effective. So do not be surprised, dear children, that there are a lot of articles in the literature saying that the short chain omega-3 is not very effective because they are all done in the presence of a substantial excesses of omega-6. The paradox is that, yeah, it's not effective when it's in the presence of omega-6 but by itself it's quite effective. But nobody wants to talk about that because that's not their reality. Well, their reality in the United States is, hey folks. You're way up here on the extreme thing already. What do you mean reality because the rest of the world has another reality. These models help you deal quantitatively with the paradoxes of a hyperbolic saturable system. Sheila Innis showed us that if you lower the linoleate from here to here, that alpha linolenic does form more omega-3 HUFA. Now, so like in 2003 or 2006 she publishes this. You could have predicted it from 45 year old model of the data. And all this is to say that everything is predictable, rational, and real but you have got to deal with the numbers."
------
That slide says see also: http://efaeducation.nih.gov/sig/dri.html
Much more at the NIH site, e.g. http://efaeducation.nih.gov/sig/beginners.html
------

My guess -- we hear this via a military presentation because the military isn't throttled by the industry to the extent other government agencies are, and because the military's very directly affected* nowadays by obesity, heart disease, and the other results of the crap diet currently being fed to US citizens --- and the military is able to say there's a problem _and_ a known solution.

The slides compare what US citizens eat to what much of the rest of the world eats, as does the video/lecture.

Don't get hung up on this particular presentation -- the NIH pages have been there for years, the spreadsheet and software have been freely available for menu planning for years, and the science has been good since the 1960s.

This presentation was the only one I found that's not (as the video warns about walnut oil) distorted by what marketers don't say.

Hey, I found one more source for this information, here:
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/05/michelle-obama-recruiting-chefs-to-anti-childhood-obesity-drive/
_______________
* http://www.google.com/search?q=+recruiting+obesity

(aside -- I'm not hiding the links behind clickable words because copy-and-paste and text-to-speech both lose the links; anyone reading on a PDA or using blind assistance software needs the links readable. )
posted by hank at 11:36 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


we hear this via a military presentation because the military isn't throttled by the industry to the extent other government agencies are, and because the military's very directly affected* nowadays by obesity, heart disease, and the other results of the crap diet currently being fed to US citizens --- and the military is able to say there's a problem _and_ a known solution.

This was why the post was interesting to me. The military (for the most part) is not going to mess around with its effectiveness. It's also got a huge test base.

(As for the links, you can still put a hyperlink with the text, couldn't you?)
posted by lysdexic at 1:19 PM on July 7, 2010


Oh good grief, this (marketing hype, we can hope) suggests the DOD has completely missed the point of the science (reducing the dietary amount of omega-6; until the total intake of both fatty acids is cut back to around a tenth the average amount now consumed, the body won't selectively use the omega-3s no matter how much more is poured on).

"US military may ‘shock and awe’ omega-3 market
A multi-million dollar omega-3 market could open up within two-to-three years if the US Department of Defense (DOD) orders its troops to take EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids.

The department is considering either supplementing or fortifying the rations of all active service personnel in order to enhance stress resilience and general wellness leading to improved military performance, to cut hospital bills and to speed recovery from traumatic brain injuries (TBI)."

At least they say it's only a proposal. I hope the scientists are being heard. Clearly the marketers see an opportunity to add selling their crap to the crap already being sold, increasing the gross national product and waistline. Feh.

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Industry/US-military-may-shock-and-awe-omega-3-market

So they're going to try doing it wrong.
Doing it right would require limiting the junk food, and its vendors.

Okay, THIS is what puts my axe to the grindstone.... marketing junk.

Go back to that KIM2 application and try it out, it's the bottom link at
http://efaeducation.nih.gov/sig/food.html
It's truly amazingly informative.
posted by hank at 6:23 PM on July 7, 2010


I prefer wars with plenty of fresh vegetables.
posted by parallax7d at 8:29 PM on July 7, 2010


Ok - so I finally figured out how to get the first video link to load and started watching and I'm like 5 or 10 minutes in to this 4 hour video and they still haven't haven't done anything but give introductions. All the other links are either slideshows that I can't watch because I don't have powerpoint or they're super technical links to NIH sites. So I'm sort of pwnd on this post, which sucks because I'm genuinely interested in this stuff, but incredibly turned off by anything that even hints of trying to peddle omega3 supplements and stuff like that, which rules out google searching for "omega 3 information". So does anybody have any good links to a beginner level site that I learn something about the differences between omega3 and omega6 acids so I can understand something about this beyond "o3 and o6 have to some sort of balance depending on your genetics and lifestyle" and maybe at least have some idea of what this KIM software is talking about?
posted by youthenrage at 12:39 PM on July 8, 2010


> I'm like 5 or 10 minutes in

From the first post:
"... Start around minute 58 through 1:13 .... Start earlier around minute 12 ..."

patience. Hope you watched long enough to get past the introductions.
posted by hank at 12:54 PM on July 8, 2010


Oh, and for the basic information you wanted, in your browser, with this comments page open, search "previous" for the string "nih"

That finds references to the abbreviation NIH for the National Institute of Health, but it will also find all the links I posted (as plain text when I posted them), that go to the various info pages there.

Hope this helps.
posted by hank at 12:56 PM on July 8, 2010


derrrh.... thanks for the info hank. I had the vid loaded up in vlc and it was playing about 10-20 seconds of video and then loading for about double that so I finally got to the "fuck this" stage. The mp4 seems to be queueing up better in my browser, so I'll try and skip ahead to the minutes you mentioned. I also must have missed those links while speed reading through the comments, so thanks for pointing those out as well.
posted by youthenrage at 1:42 PM on July 8, 2010


For the problem of not having PowerPoint:

http://www.google.com/search?q=powerpoint+open+office

For the problem of the NIH info being too technical, I found a short summary referencing the same NIH information helpful here (typos in the original):

http//healthyhabits360.blogspot.com/
"... if a diet is dominate in one fat and deficient in the other, the dominate fat’s metabolic activities will get all the attention. Herein lies the problem with the current imbalanced intakes of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats. Our bodies are getting all the Omega-6 pro-inflammatory responses loud and clear, but, because our intake of Omega-3 from fatty fish and flaxseed oil is so low, the antagonist reactions are not being registered. Consequently, we are experiencing pro-inflammatory disorders ...."

Even shorter, from the video, Dr. Lands speaking toward the end:
"... if you understand that food energy causes transient inflammatory insults and omega-6s amplify that into chronic injury and omega-3s moderate it, then you can tell people that the take home message is, Eat more omega-3. Eat less omega-6. Eat fewer calories per meal and stop smoking. That's it."

The NIH site has the interactive software you can download to see which foods in which amounts will get the result you want; links are above.
posted by hank at 1:57 PM on July 8, 2010


Ok, the transcript I found is at this Amazon page

Last bit, summarizing, by Dr. Land:

"... this puts together everything I've told you. And I want you to see.... to get you to where you really would like to be. Let's lower the omega-6. You're eating like 17,000 milligrams a day. What would happen if you just made it 4,000? (47:21) Now you're at a level ... where you now have the protection that you want. You can prevent it. It's as simple as that. You can get this from the website NIH.gov...."
posted by hank at 2:06 PM on July 8, 2010


Another clear explanation in simple language (book review):
The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them, by Susan Allport . Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

"... omega-6s are preferred in food processing: because omega-3s are easily oxidized, manufacturers remove them when possible to reduce rancidity and increase shelf life ...."
posted by hank at 4:08 PM on July 8, 2010


So, is it ok to get Omega-3 from supplements? If so, are some better than others?
posted by jefeweiss at 11:58 AM on July 9, 2010


> is it ok ... from supplements?

Supplemental omega-3 won't be used by the body until you reduce the amount of omega-6 in your diet.

Lemme try. Remember I'm just reading/watching this stuff like you are. I'm not a doctor, nor a nutritionist. I'm reading along.

(and I do think this can be made much simpler and kept correct; I emailed Dr. Land and asked for a copy of his "Paradox" paper because it's pricey from the publisher, I'll try to read and make better answers)

As I read it, it's useless to supplement omega-3s, without reducing the omega-6s.

You may well already get close to enough omega-3s now -- the KIM program at the NIH site will tell you, if you just check what you eat against its database.

In the video he's pointing at that information where he's saying "... lower the omega-6. You're eating like 17,000 milligrams a day. What would happen if you just made it 4,000? (47:21) Now you're at a level ... where you now have the protection that you want. You can prevent it. It's as simple as that. You can get this from the website NIH.gov...."

With the American diet the omega-3s get lost in the crowd. The body enzymes don't pick out omega-3s from the flood of omega-6s. That's the key point of the paradox.

First thing to do is remove the excess of omega-6s. If you don't do that, the body won't find enough of the omega-3s -- no matter how much you supplement.

If you were to supplement omega-3s in proportion to the amount of omega-6s in the American average diet, you 'd be eating probably 5x as much fat as you are now and you'd croak from that. It's the _proportion_ being eaten that matters.

This is hard to hear. Land says that in the video. People do not want to hear "eat less of the wrong stuff" -- they want supplements.

My doctors never told me this paradox either. That's the news from Land's presentation (and the references that go back 40 years). As he says, this is not what people want to hear, and not what the marketers want to see said. It's arithmetic, though.
( I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, ymmv and all).

The problem is people get too much omega-6s. A typical dietary amount of peanut butter for example (massive source of omega-6s, no omega-3s) is enough to overwhelm your body's ability to get the right stuff out of your diet, even if it's there.

The body just processes the "omega" fatty acids according to what we eat, what comes in -- so it uses the avalanche of omega-6s you're consuming. The body doesn't put those on hold and pick out the few omega-3s selectively. They're outnumbered, they don't get picked up.

That is, if I understand it, the "paradox" Dr. Land writes about - and the reason he says we should eat far fewer of the omega-6s, so the body's enzymes will be available for using the omega-3s.

-----
Whew. I'm going to try to pull some 'simplifications' of this together and email Dr. Land and ask help making it simpler and clearer.

Keep asking, the questions help.
posted by hank at 12:29 PM on July 9, 2010


Argh. Just to note my own persistent typo, it's Dr. Lands, with an s.
posted by hank at 9:48 PM on July 9, 2010


Pointers from the librarian/health-blogger where I first found this stuff:

Susan Allport's book: Queen of Fats
Allport's short summary version
Allport's website
has instructions on accessing KIM2 [and] helpful pages that explain how KIM works.
The beauty of KIM2 is that it visually shows you if you're going to make a
good choice or not.


Evelyn Tribole's book

her blog on Omega-6's -- which includes all the links for material from the Bill Lands presentation at the National Institute's of Health two-day conference on omega-3 fats on October 14, 2009: "37-minute video of his talk, slides, handouts and resource materials. Special thanks to Dr. Lands for graciously provided the slides used in his talk."
posted by hank at 9:11 AM on July 10, 2010


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