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Nutrient Composition of Rations for Short-Term, High-Intensity Combat Operations
The assault ration recommended in this report is designed for healthy male soldiers with an average body weight of 80 kg, approximately 16 percent body fat who are relatively fit and within an age range of 18–45 years (average < 25 years) while on military assault missions. As evident in Table 1-1, the ration recommended does not meet the military recommended nutrient intakes for garrison in AR 40-25 (US Departments of Army, Navy, and Air Force, 2001) nor does it meet the recommended nutrient intakes for civilians (IOM, 1997a, 1998, 2000, 2001b, 2002a, 2004). For very active male soldiers in the field, daily energy intakes rarely are over 3,000 kcal (IOM, 1995) and unpublished data suggest they average 2,400 kcal (see Montain, 2004 in Appendix B), which in the event of energy expenditures of 4,500 kcal are significantly hypocaloric. Prolonged and continuous use of this hypocaloric ration as the sole source of sustenance at such high energy expenditures will lead to substantial weight loss. The committee emphasizes that this ration is meant to be used for repetitive three- to seven-day missions that last for a maximum total period of one month and that include recovery periods of 24 to 72 hours between missions. With the expected energy expenditures of 4,500 kcal/day during the missions, it is possible that some soldiers might lose as much as 10 percent body weight before the end of the month, even with refeeding between missions; this degree of weight loss could result in adverse, but mild performance decrements. However, there is not likely to be any serious consequences for health. Therefore, it is recommended that weight loss be measured after one month of use, and if weight loss is higher than 10 percent for a soldier, he should not be sent on assault missions until weight is regained to within 5 percent of initial weight.
Scenarios Before and After Deployment on Assault Missions
The committee assumes that, before being deployed on a mission, soldiers may be living in one of three general scenarios:
A base in the United States or a foreign country in which food is relatively abundant and consumed on an ad libitum, uncontrolled basis. Soldiers have ready access to beverages, often including alcohol, and dietary supplements.
A more highly controlled environment in a military theatre of operations. In such an environment, food consumption is ad libitum from either field kitchens or conventional foods in a garrison situation. There is a variable but generally more limited availability of other substances including food and dietary supplements.
A recovery site where soldiers are in the process of rehabilitation from a prior assault mission. Food choice is even more limited, with fewer menu