posure to a hot environment; however, few studies have examined this issue. In particular, the role of antioxidant vitamins (A, C, and E) in reducing lipid peroxidation induced by exercise in a hot environment should be examined.
If such evidence exists, do the current Military Recommended Dietary Allowances (MRDAs) provide for these changes?
The variations in nutrient requirements, including sodium, that may occur as a result of working—and sweating—in a hot environment are reasonably covered by the nutrient content of the MRDAs, because the MRDAs provide generous allowances over most nutrient requirements. If military rations are consumed in amounts that approximate energy expenditures, it is likely that the nutrient requirements of soldiers will be met.
Should changes be made in military rations that may be used in hot environments to meet the nutrient requirements of soldiers with sustained activity in such climates?
Based on the evidence available at this time, the nutrient content of military rations does not need to be changed. Nevertheless, because appetite is depressed and food preferences and eating patterns are changed in response to short-term and long-term exposure to heat, changes should be made in ration components to enhance intake. Military feeding in hot environments needs to take into account what is known about these changes in food preferences and meal schedules. The components of the rations and field feeding environments should be adjusted to encourage consumption of military rations. Convenience, taste, and acceptability become all important.
Specifically, are the meals, ready-to-eat (MREs) good hot weather rations? Should the fat content be lower? Should the carbohydrate content be higher?
The nutritional composition of MRE rations is appropriate for use in a hot environment. There are no consistent data that suggest that the relative proportions of protein, carbohydrate, and fat should be altered. It is clear, however, that the experience gained during Operation Desert Storm regarding the acceptability of the various MRE rations and ration components needs to be evaluated.
Significant components, including the entrees, in the MREs available in 1991 required heating to provide the most palatable meal. As noted in anecdotes from those conducting observations in the Persian Gulf area during hot weather, the shift in soldiers' food preferences to a desire for cooler items (salads, sandwiches, etc.) confirms that the MREs were not designed specifically for long-term consumption in hot climates. Data from animal studies show an increase in fat consumption in the heat, with a decrease in