General Nutrition Issues

Adapting to adverse environments increases energy expenditure and water losses. If energy and fluid needs are not met then performance will decline. Consult a registered dietitian if you have questions about your nutrient requirements. Strategies to maintain energy and fluid balance are:

Meeting Energy Needs

♦ Eat a high-CHO diet (roughly 60% of your total daily kcals) to meet increased kcal needs.

♦ Keep fat intakes to less than 30% of your total daily kcals.

♦ Keep protein intakes to about 10% of your total daily kcals. Also, avoid amino acid and protein supplements (see Chapter 2).

♦ Eat small frequent meals.

♦ Eat all components of your field rations.

Meeting Fluid Needs

Maintaining fluid balance is crucial to avoid dehydration (Chapter 2). Dehydration can limit performance and severe dehydration can be life-threatening. Tips for maintaining fluid balance include:

♦ Monitor hydration status (Chapter 11 page 70).

♦ Monitor fluid status by weighing yourself prior to and after prolonged physical activities. Drink 2 cups (0.45 L or 16 oz.) of water for every pound of body weight lost.

♦ Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid status. Drink fluids regularly throughout the day. When working in the heat, do not drink more than 6 cups of fluid an hour.

♦ When exercising or working for prolonged periods (>60 minutes), drink a fluid replacement beverage such as a sports drink instead of water (see Chapter 11, page 70).

♦ Avoid alcoholic beverages; alcohol increases fluid losses.

♦ Reduce caffeine consumption; caffeine increases fluid losses.

♦ Avoid salty foods; salt increases fluid needs.

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