Murphy's Law: Brits Fret Over Starving Troops


July 4, 2008: British troops in Afghanistan are having a problem keeping their weight up. It's not that they don't get enough to eat, it's just that the field rations (Multi Climate Rations, or MCR) are often not appetizing. The troops eat enough to satisfy their hunger, but not enough to keep the weight on. Soldiers and marines burn about 4,000 calories a day in Winter, and about ten percent less in warm weather.  But a six month tour in Afghanistan will often result in troops losing twenty pounds or more.

To solve the problem, the British military is upgrading the MCR to contain more appealing items. To find out what items were more likely to be eaten, the army conducted surveys. The result is that the chocolate bar is out and energy bars are in. Biscuits are being replaced with pasta pouches that can be eaten hot or cold (the latter is important in the hot Afghan Summers.) Along those lines, the baked bean breakfast has been replaced with muesli (uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts), another item that can be eaten cold. Fruit puree and fruit cocktail has replaced the hot custard deserts. In general, there's less coffee, tea and chocolate drinks, and more energy drinks. The army has also been distributing snack packs, containing energy bars, pretzels, powdered drink mix and a pasta pouch.

The army is also testing twenty new MCR main items, based on surveys. These will be tested next year.




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