WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Discussions about US MREs and other US rations
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NateP
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WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Post by NateP » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:00 pm

I've been watching quite a few of Steve1989's older era ration videos.

Why was candy, jellybars, dextrose tabs, etc given as survival rations?

It seems like quick burning sugars would be the worst kind of energy that wouldn't really sustain you. I assume portability and light weight was a factor?

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WorkmanMRE
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Re: WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Post by WorkmanMRE » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:23 pm

NateP wrote:I've been watching quite a few of Steve1989's older era ration videos.

Why was candy, jellybars, dextrose tabs, etc given as survival rations?

It seems like quick burning sugars would be the worst kind of energy that wouldn't really sustain you. I assume portability and light weight was a factor?
Minus some basic fast bunrning carbs, i think it was a big moral boost. In long hiking trips my mentors always had hard candy to work in the mouth. It would sustain us until resting for the night to a big meal. It seemed to help stave off hunger. And it was a thirst quencher(phycologically) It would keep your mouth wet, when otherwise it would be the sahara desert.
The cereal bars from that era looked really good. Especially the cornflake bar. I would trade the candy for those, if it were an option.
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[ex-Member1]
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Re: WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Post by [ex-Member1] » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:44 pm

It's cheap and worst enemy in survival situation is you itself and you with candy in your mouth in survival situation would be happy you. I don't agree they would not sustain user in that time, an example Gandhi didn't eat for 21 days in his hunger strike and he drank just a little water, still survived and he was 74 years old. Users of survival rations where younger and healthier. And also it was very different time back then


Sax_OFander
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Re: WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Post by Sax_OFander » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:01 am

I think it's a multitude of things have to be considered. First, are dietary considerations: These things were meant to sustain for for maybe a days, and they were packed with that in mind. Simple carbs can keep you going for a while if you're in a stressful situation, and that is what these sugary items are: Simple carbs. You also have to consider they're easy to digest, easy on a stomach that may be upset from whatever condition a downed pilot or adrift sailor might find himself having. They're also well liked, familiar, and easy to eat. If you throw a thing of Charms at a random person, they can figure out what to do with them quickly, but if I throw a full size Datrex bar at them it's a bit more confusing, Do I eat off the block? Do I turn it into a porridge? Is it supposed to taste like a vaguely apple cinnamon flavored bunghole? They aren't perfect, but they worked.

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Tedster
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Re: WWII Rations, why so much Sugar?

Post by Tedster » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:31 am

I think you guys are reading too much into it. Sugar is instant energy, and doesn't require much if any digestion. Under sustained high energy exertion "heavy" calories are less desirable. In extreme cold weather they also have advantages at times.

Now one of the problems encountered then as now is that rations are/were designed for temporary use. They are not intended to be the sole source of sustenance for weeks at a time. Military dietitions or "food scientists" have always maintained that a balanced diet is required in the field. Soldiers knew them as "Hot A's" or, in common language meals from a field mess kitchen. Some semblence of a normal diet is preferred for both morale and health and probably cost reasons. Rations are expensive. Doctrine was always (in theory) that Hot A rations would be fed at normal hours 3 times a day asap, etc. Naturally this doesn't always happen - especially with rapidly advancing troops and special operations units, aircrews, etc etc. A field kitchen is a labor intensive operation and implies a stable location. In practice what happens the higher ups throw everybody a case of rations and calls it good for the week. And then the next week. And then the next week. Oops. Feeding people is one contractual obligation they have to meet. Junk food in a bag w/candy does (technically) qualify though.

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