Liquid fuel for Armed Forces’  ration packs

20 September 2005

British troops taking part in military operations will soon have a new weapon in their armoury – isotonic drinks.

Announcing the award of the £1.5 million three year enabling contract to GlaxoSmithKline to produce a Lucozade Sport Body Fuel drink for the 24 hour Operational Ration Pack, Secretary of State for Defence John Reid said:

“For a long time we have been very aware of the importance of getting the right combination of energy and nutrients from the food our soldiers eat, but it is only recently that we have started to examine the science behind what they drink.

“Fatigue and dehydration both sap energy, reducing the effectiveness of fighting forces when they are deployed on strenuous operations. The new isotonic drink will help combat this.”

The Secretary of State also welcomed the introduction of a new Commanders’ Guide to Fluid intake during military operations in the heat. Produced as part of MoD’s Human Capability Research Programme, it is published by the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) and is expected to become essential reading for commanders preparing to take troops on operations.

The Surgeon General, Surgeon Vice Admiral Ian Jenkins said:

“Dehydration and the effects of working in hot climates can be a serious problem for military personnel. Commanders need to be confident that their troops are healthy and that they can still do their job.  An initiative that raises awareness of the challenges of operating in hot environments is to be welcomed.”

Brigadier David Martin of the DLO’s Defence Catering Group added:

“We all know from watching top athletes the importance they place on nutrition and hydration. MoD is now applying the scientific lessons learnt in this field to the food and drink our soldiers, sailors and air force personnel consume.

“With British forces taking part in operations in hot and dry environments like Afghanistan and Iraq, the importance of this guide cannot be underestimated.”

The DLO and Qinetiq have also created a factsheet based on the guide, called 10 Top Tips on Hydration, which will be of benefit to anyone involved in physical activity. The factsheet is available from the MoD’s website at http://www.mod.uk/dlo/catering/bus_support/sp1/concepts/sp1/nutrition_advisory_service.htm.


Notes to Editors

1. Feeding the Forces 2005 took place on 20 September at Bramley Training Area, near Basingstoke. The event was organised to highlight the improvements being made to UK Operational Ration Packs following a review of UK operational feeding conducted by Qinetiq, the defence and security company, on behalf of MoD.

2. The Commanders’ Guide to Fluid intake during military operations in the heat provides detailed information on the dangers and consequences of dehydration, identifies the major causes of dehydration and offers guidance on how to prevent dehydration in the heat whilst performing military activities. The topics covered are causes of dehydration, how dehydration affects performance, whether dehydration can be avoided and drinking strategies for minimising dehydration. It was written by QinetiQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the DLO, with input from external academics and nutritionists.

3. Lucozade Sport Body Fuel was chosen following trials of isotonic drinks. The DLO will be adding the powdered mix to 24 hour operational packs from April 2006. The drink comes in two varieties, orange and lemon. Isotonic drinks enable troops to hydrate more quickly because they increase the rate of fluid uptake by the body, improve palatability and maintain the central drive to drink thereby helping to ensure the replacement of lost body fluids.

4. In 2004 the DLO published the Commanders’ Guide to Nutrition and the Recruits’ Guide to Nutrition. The guides, which have proved very successful, are aimed at Front Line soldiers and new recruits and emphasise the need for a balanced, nutritious diet to ensure optimum energy levels and optimal physical and mental performance during training and operations. This new guide is aimed at commanders because of the importance of recognising the impact of dehydration in others. Further information on the two nutrition guides is available at www.mod.uk/dlo/press/2004/nutrition_training.htm .

5. For further information, please contact the DLO Press Office on 01225 467148 or 01225 468819/Mobiles 07795 127697/07979 707946


Last Updated: 26 Sep 05