Back to Top Skip to main content

Eat well, live well

From left, Air Force Capt. Abigail Schutz, 39th Medical Operations Squadron health promotions element chief, Staff Sgt. Jennifer Mancini, 39th MDOS health promotions technician, and Tech. Sgt. Brian Phillips, 39th MDOS health promotions flight NCO in charge, pose for a photo at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Learning about proper nutrition can help service members stay healthy and ensure they’re in optimal warfighting shape. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Wisher) From left, Air Force Capt. Abigail Schutz, 39th Medical Operations Squadron health promotions element chief, Staff Sgt. Jennifer Mancini, 39th MDOS health promotions technician, and Tech. Sgt. Brian Phillips, 39th MDOS health promotions flight NCO in charge, pose for a photo at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Learning about proper nutrition can help service members stay healthy and ensure they’re in optimal warfighting shape. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Wisher)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Nutrition

Who doesn’t have a friend or family member trying out the latest paleo, keto or other diet that eliminates processed foods including grains and sugar? Perhaps you are the one following a strict eating regimen because you want to improve your health. But have you wondered if it’s your best option?

“Many of the fad diets that we see today are just recycled old ones with new names,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Saunya Bright, chief, health promotion nutrition, Air Force Medical Support Agency, Falls Church, Virginia. Bright described the Paleolithic or “paleo” diet as one including foods that can be hunted or gathered, such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruits and berries. The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein and high-fat eating pattern meant to burn fat rather than carbohydrates for fuel.

While some of these diets emphasize eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed food, “some also cut out complete food groups, such as whole grains and dairy,” said Bright. She cautioned that such diets are difficult to sustain over long periods. “Eliminating food groups or types of foods increases the risk of some nutrient deficiency or disordered eating.”

Army 1st Lt. Vladi Ivanova, chief, outpatient and community nutrition at Madigan Army Medical Center, agreed. “Following a keto diet, for example, means eliminating a full food group. When we restrict certain foods, our bodies notice and may not respond in the way we want.”

Options and choices about what to eat, from diets to trendy snacks and drinks, are plentiful. The result is confusion, according to Ivanova: “My patients are asking a lot of questions, whether a diet is good or bad, or if eating certain foods will help them lose weight. They are overwhelmed by all of the information available.”

According to Bright, a return to the basics is what’s needed. “The most important suggestions for good nutrition are captured in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” she said.

These guidelines, developed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, provide evidence-based tools and resources that enable everyone to follow a healthy eating pattern for life.

Ivanova likes to use “MyPlate,” a tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as a visual aid with her patients. “It shows how to fill a healthy plate of food: one-half should include fruits and vegetables, one quarter whole grains, and one quarter lean protein,” she said.

Using the guidelines, both experts agreed that a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables; whole fruits; fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese; and a variety of proteins, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.

Bright said to avoid excess sugar, sodium, and saturated and trans fat as part of establishing a healthy eating pattern. “With all the new and trending foods, it's important to consider how substituting a certain type of food with another can impact your nutritional intake,” she said. “There are instances where foods that are advertised as ‘lower fat’ or ‘no fat’ contain increased sodium or sugar, so being aware of trade-offs is important.”

Ivanova said good nutrition is key to service members’ ability to carry out their mission as well – responding to their needs for quick, healthier meals on-the-go, and also ensuring their families are making good choices. “Often when speaking with my patients, I end up talking to them about their children’s nutrition, too. Any service member who is a parent has to model the diet that they want their kids to eat,” said Ivanova, who advocates a mindful approach to healthy eating.

“My patients have told me that after eating a fast food meal, they feel awful,” she said. “Mindfulness about how and what we eat is critical. You have to make eating healthy a priority in your life. This means taking time to understand healthy options and planning your meals in advance – perhaps for the week – so that you think through what you are putting into your body.”

You also may be interested in...

USU Task Force addresses nutrition and lifestyle’s role in resiliency

Article
9/24/2020
Woman cutting a steak on a plate, with corn

A personal protective lifestyle (PPL) and nutrition (PPN) could be your key to resiliency in the face of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Coronavirus

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Army radiology instructor and medic render assistance to crash victim

Article
9/2/2020
Mom and Dad in military gear with their young son.

Their medical training helped with knowing the steps for CPR and how to check responsiveness and breathing.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Article
8/24/2020
Two technicians in full PPE in a lab

COVID-19 has shed new light on the methods of conducting medical training and education.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Article
8/7/2020
Two lab technicians wearing full PPE handling vials for testing

COVID-19 has pushed instructors and trainers to be more innovative.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

Indiana National Guard continues to train in the COVID-19 environment

Article
8/5/2020
Soldiers in the field, wearing masks and testing equipment

Training in a time of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Defending the Homeland: NMRTC Bremerton ensures Operational Readiness and a Medically Ready Force

Article
7/22/2020
Three healthcare workers wearing masks

Supporting mission readiness has long been a responsibility for the ready medical force of NMRTC Bremerton.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Eighth Army Medics compete to see Who’s the Best

Article
7/21/2020
Soldiers on an obstacle course

The BMC is an annual competition that physically and intellectually challenges competitors.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

I am Navy Medicine: Lt. Daniel Murrish

Article
7/9/2020
Image of Lt. Daniel Murrish wearing a mask

Murrish was recently selected as NMRTCCP’s Officer of the Year for calendar year 2019.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

Defending the Homeland: BACH Civilian earns RHC-A Civilian of the Year

Article
6/26/2020
Soldier and woman standing by two flags, crossed.

[Guidry] will advance to the U.S. Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM) Civilian of the Year competition later this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

NMCSD Civilian Receives BUMED Civilian Biomedical Technician of the Year Award

Article
6/24/2020
Technician wearing mask, adjusting medical equipment

Navy identifies its top Civilian biomedical technician of the year!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Navy Care virtual health app wins innovation award

Article
6/12/2020
Soldier in front of a computer monitor

Navy Care offers a live, virtual visit with a clinician — from the patient's smartphone, laptop, or computer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

Brooke AMC stands up new Strategic Trauma Readiness Center

Article
5/26/2020
Three surgeons discussing a patient on an operating table

What makes STaRC truly unique is its comprehensive assessment plan

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

FDA withdrawal of Zantac affects military health beneficiaries

Article
4/15/2020
Image of pharmacist counting out medication

Common heartburn drug pulled off shelves amid concerns

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Military medical training continues during COVID-19

Article
4/14/2020
Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)

METC’s mission - to train the world's finest medics, corpsmen and technicians - is vital to force readiness and the nation.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.