Influence of a carbohydrate drink on nutritional status, body composition and mood during desert training.Aviat Space Environ Med 2000; 71(1):37-44AS
Nutritional intake by military personnel is typically inadequate during field exercises, potentially compromising health and performance.
Drinking a supplemental carbohydrate (CHO) beverage will increase total caloric intake and maintain nutritional status during military training in the desert.
A total of 63 volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups to receive either a CHO or placebo beverage with military rations during an 11-d desert field exercise. Fluid intake was ad libitum and adequate rations were provided. Blood samples were collected twice to assess nutritional status, and nutrient intake was determined with consumption data. Mood state was examined by questionnaire.
Energy intake was significantly higher in the CHO group (3050 kcal x d(-1) vs. 2631 kcal x d(-1)), with additional CHO from the beverage providing energy with some compensation by reduced fat and protein intake. Intakes of energy, folacin, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc in both groups were inadequate, with intakes significantly lower (p<0.05) for calcium, magnesium, and zinc in the CHO beverage group. Blood parameters of nutritional status remained within normal ranges with no differences between groups, but significant decreases were seen in pre-albumin. No changes in mood were seen during the training, nor after exposure to desert conditions.
The operational ration supplemented with a CHO beverage significantly increases CHO and energy intakes compared with standard rations and maintains nutritional status for short exercises. Fortification with micronutrients most at risk for deficient intake from foods may be needed for longer deployments.