MRE and Gut Microbiome

The U.S. Army is conducting a study on MRE’s or Meals Ready to Eat. The U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine is looking for a few brave souls to eat military food rations for 21 consecutive days for a study on how MRE’s impact gut health. I know a little bit about eating MRE’s for 21 days straight since I used to be in the army myself. I won’t tell you how I feel about MRE’s for the moment.
According to Holly McClung, a research dietitian working on the study said on the Army’s website: “Ultimately, discovering how eating MREs influences gut bacteria and gut health will help our efforts to continually improve the MRE.”
Being a soldier and on top of that being deployed are very stressful events. A part of that stress is what soldiers eat in the field. I remember the favorite thing I use to eat out of those MRE’s was the cheese in a tube, it was a lot like cheese whiz in a can at the grocery store. I don’t know what the study will come back with, what I do know is that the food in the MRE’s is highly processed, and I am confident it probably screwed up my gut in the process. Several studies are revealing to us how processed foods mess with our gut health and I will be surprised if the study here doesn’t yield the same result. I find it very interesting that the Army is looking at gut health and is interested in improving the MRE and its effect on the gut microbiome. More and research is showing that the gut microbiome has an impact on our mood and energy levels among a lot of other things. It would only make sense that the army starts paying attention to how MRE’s are impacting soldiers when they are in the field. Should the military be worried about food sensitivities? Will they consider how preserving the food has an effect on the gut? I wonder what the study will reveal. Fascinating.

Farrakh Khawaja
Co-founder and Director
Mandala Integrative Medicine

Sources:
U.S. Army wants you to eat MREs for 21 days straight – CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/31/health/mre-meals-study-feat/index.html (accessed January 27, 2016).