Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel

of food consumption by soldiers resulted in establishment of the nutrient requirements for soldier training in 1919. These early requirements provided recommendations for consumption of protein, fat, and carbohydrate as a percentage of daily calories (12.5%, 25%, and 62.5%, respectively).

During the Second World War the focus on nutrient recommendations centered on optimal nutrition, not minimal requirements. Because of the emphasis on military nutrition, the FNB was established in 1940 under the auspices of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, and began to prepare and publish RDAs for Americans. In 1947, the Department of the Army implemented military regulation AR 40-250, providing specified minimum nutrient intake levels as the dietary standard for garrison and field rations. The MRDA under AR 40-250 (now AR 40-25; the first tri-service regulation) has been revised numerous times through 1985, with revisions resulting from expanding scientific evidence on diet and health and from information provided in revisions of the RDA. Current policy covers not only MRDA for macronutrients and micronutrients, but also clarifies the use of the MRDA in menu planning, dietary evaluation of populations, nutrition education and research, and food research and development.

COL Schnackenberg's presentation was followed by additional presentations on the feasibility of attaining governmentally-established dietary recommendations and the process of establishing RDAs.

The Committee then began an in-depth discussion with representatives from DoD agencies about their respective concerns related to the revision of the MRDA. Overall, their concerns focused on the need for balance and control of macronutrient intake (i.e., protein, fat, and carbohydrate) and reduction in total fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Additional issues focused on the promotion of lifelong health, the palatability and acceptability of garrison meals, and the preference of military personnel for eggs and high-protein diets.

With the concurrent experience during Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia, there was considerable discussion over the MRDA for sodium and the need for increased daily intake of sodium and fluid in hot environments related to military performance. Several DoD agencies could not support a single value for sodium intake that would cover both normal intake and intake under extreme environments.

The CMNR concluded its meeting with a discussion centering on the discrepancies between the RDAs and the MRDAs and proposals to accept the 10th edition of the RDAs as the MRDAs. However, concerns over protein, sodium, fat, and cholesterol were of importance in promoting health and performance in military personnel. Since the Army was in the process of drafting a revised MRDA, the CMNR deferred further discussion and formulation of recommendations until asked to comment on the revision.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement