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Mil Med. 1991 Sep;156(9):466-71.

The influence of a calorie supplement on the consumption of the meal, ready-to-eat in a cold environment.

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Military Nutrition Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760-5007.


There is a dichotomy between calories issued to soldiers in their daily field rations and the amounts actually consumed. Soldiers frequently consume insufficient calories to maintain body weight. A supplemental pack (740 kcal) was developed, to increase field calorie consumption, and tested with the old and new versions of the Meal, Ready-to-Eat on a 10-day field study in Alaska. Initial and final measurements included body weights, heights, blood, and urine parameters. Daily measurements included the collection of urine samples and completion of a dietary intake log. Energy intakes of the supplemented groups were 4%-11% higher (p less than 0.05) although the calorie intakes were still below the recommended 4,500 kcal/day for cold weather operations. Mean body weight loss ranged from 3.0 lb (1.7%) to 4.8 lb (2.8%). Two groups of the four groups became hypohydrated by day 3, due to low water intake, and only improved after direct intervention to increase drinking. Water and food intakes were strongly correlated (p less than 0.05). Results confirm the success of the supplemental pack as a means of increasing food intake and underscore the importance of water discipline in a cold environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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