Previous posts have considered resilience, affect and attention span, how these are affected by diet and how they impact on the affected individual. But these issues also have larger effects, and nowhere more so than in the nation that put the world on a SAD diet.
The USA empire is in terminal decline. Their social fabric is so frayed that it is now affecting the nation’s capability to promote ever-lasting war against Eastasia; a war that generates endless waste streams of brain-damaged veterans, grieving parents and orphaned children. But hey, at least it keeps funds flowing to the military-industrial complex, whose many cheerleaders (Kissinger, Albright, Bolton, Pompeo, Nuland et al) stay safe at home, while turning dying into a good living. McCain went to war, admittedly, though his subsequent spinning of events was both wildly disingenuous and hideously self-promoting (1).
The Cola well, however, is running dry. Uncle Sam is experiencing the most severe recruiting crisis in memory. In 2018, for the first time in a decade, the American Army failed to fulfil its draft plan. 76,000 warm bodies were wanted, but only 70,000 could be inducted (2). Why the shortfall?
About 75 percent of America’s 17- to 24-year-olds are ineligible for military service.
Young Americans break down as follows:
27 percent of them are too overweight.
32 percent have other disqualifying health issues including asthma, eyesight or hearing problems, mental health problems, or recent treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
16 percent have a history of substance abuse, and /or have criminal records.
All these sub-groups are hugely enlarged by the calorie-rich, nutrient-poor fodder that passes for food in the developed nations today (3-6), and which now constitutes nearly two thirds of the American diet (7). This is why, in military circles, it is well known that any major escalation of hostilities would necessitate bringing back the draft; which would come as a considerable shock to the intellectual yet idiot Starbuck hipsters, soyboys and LGBTQ+ brigades.
The burgeoning numbers of unrecruitables has lead to a heated debate in Washington about reducing the draft age to 16 years. To put this in context, the draft age for the Vietnam tragedy was 18.
Critics argue that such a measure would lead to a decrease in the combat capability and cohesion of the armed forces, but the military needs fresh meat and unsuitability factors for service such as criminal records are much less common in adolescents aged 15-17. Among 18-20 year olds the numbers of arrests is doubled. If they are recruited at age 16 the youngsters can commit their crimes in service, and may well receive a commendation for doing so rather than the legal sanction they would have encountered in civilian life.
Meanwhile, back in civilian life, health and life expectancy are both falling, for the same dietary reasons. The Barker Hypothesis – an epigenetic theory that holds that poor nutrition in utero increases the risk of disease and disability in later life – indicates worse trouble ahead.
We are drifting towards the abyss. Governments must break their food chains, teach the food multinationals some responsibility – as they show no signs of acquiring it themselves – and improve the nutritional standards of the people they nominally represent.
2. Mission: Readiness Group. Annual report ’19.
3. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brychta R, Cai H, Cassimatis T, Chen KY, Chung ST, Costa E, Courville A, Darcey V, Fletcher LA, Forde CG, Gharib AM, Guo J, Howard R, Joseph PV, McGehee S, Ouwerkerk R, Raisinger K, Rozga I, Stagliano M, Walter M, Walter PJ, Yang S, Zhou M. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Cell Metab. 2019 Jul 2;30(1):226.
4. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brychta R, Cai H, Cassimatis T, Chen KY, Chung ST, Costa E, Courville A, Darcey V, Fletcher LA, Forde CG, Gharib AM, Guo J, Howard R, Joseph PV, McGehee S, Ouwerkerk R, Raisinger K, Rozga I, Stagliano M, Walter M, Walter PJ, Yang S, Zhou M. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. Cell Metab. 2019 Jul 2;30(1):67-77.e3.
5. Fiolet T, Srour B, Sellem L, Kesse-Guyot E, Allès B, Méjean C, Deschasaux M, Fassier P, Latino-Martel P, Beslay M, Hercberg S, Lavalette C, Monteiro CA, Julia C, Touvier M. Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. BMJ. 2018 Feb 14;360:k322
6. Rico-Campà A, Martínez-González MA, Alvarez-Alvarez I, Mendonça RD, de la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Gómez-Donoso C, Bes-Rastrollo M. Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2019 May 29;365:l1949.
7. Martínez Steele E, Baraldi LG, Louzada ML, Moubarac JC, Mozaffarian D, Monteiro CA. Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2016 Mar 9;6(3):e009892.