A Look Into How the US Army Incorporates Caffeine Into Rations


The world's most popular stimulant is none other than caffeine. Both healthful and a proven performance enhancer, the American Armed Forces has maintained a dedication to developing food products in hopes of improving the conditions of soldiers in the field. So what does that entail? Think hopped up applesauce and meat sticks with a zing whose caffeine integration might one day find its way into more civilian-based applications (imagine a quick wake-me-up while driving). 

Given the implications and importance of staying awake in combat, you can imagine that the testing will rigorous including one of the main goals of masking caffeine's naturally bitter flavor. Each soldier in the field is given what is known as a book-sized "First Strike" ration that contains all the nutrition needed for those on the go. The treats include:

  • Stay Alert gum (100 milligrams per piece, five pieces per pack)
  • Zapplesauce (110 milligrams of caffeinated applesauce)
  • First Strike Nutritious Energy Bar (110 milligrams of caffeine)
  • Instant coffee or caffeinated mints 

Head over to Wired to get the full scoop on the importance of caffeine while a more comprehensive reading can be seen in Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us by Murray Carpenter

  • Eugene Kan
  • CaffeineDietMilitaryNutrition

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