Military rations aren’t exactly the height of culinary or nutritional excellence, but if you MREs for 21 days straight, you might help the Army figure out how to make them more palatable for the troops.
MREs were originally designed to be durable and long lasting so that servicemen would not need to throw away or restock spoiled food. They can survive a parachute drop of 3,125 feet and go 3.5 years in 90 degree weather before going bad. Stuffing preservatives into these prepackaged meals, however, renders them bland at best, disgusting at worst. Suffice it to say that American troops aren’t clamoring to eat up all their MREs while deployed.
A new Army study seeks to make MREs both more nutritional and better tasting. The main goal of the study is to see how MREs impact ‘gut health.’
“Interactions between the millions of bacteria living in our gut and what we eat is a very important factor in gut health, but we don’t know how MRE foods interact with those bacteria to impact gut health,” Holly McClung said in the Army’s statement. “Ultimately, discovering how eating MREs influences gut bacteria and gut health will help our efforts to continually improve the MRE.”
To get the full scoop on this issue, the Army is asking for volunteers to eat nothing but MREs for 21 entire days. That sounds like a tall order considering the standard MREs reputation for being terrible, so the Army has also provided a special cook book so volunteers can ‘spice up’ their tasteless meals.
“What is nutrition if you don’t consume the food?” McClung asked. “We need ways to keep warfighters interested in and excited about eating in the field after they have been training and eating MREs for several days.”