Poster Topical Area: Nutrition Translation
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 613
Objectives: Military operations may require high levels of physical activity under stressful conditions where the need to remain vigilant is paramount, but sleep is limited. In these extreme conditions, "field stripping" (throwing away unwanted food) is common. Lack of adequate nutrition and sleep loss can combine to impair physical and mental performance. We created four shelf-stable, nutrient dense bar prototypes to address these challenges. These bars were designed to serve as the sole source for nutrition for short-term (48-72 hour) military operations.
Methods: Bars were produced in two flavors, milk chocolate and savory cheese & crackers, based on feedback from active duty military. Base recipe for both bars included cocoa butter, palm oil, whey protein, oat flour, sugar, and a multi-vitamin and mineral mix. Each flavor was produced in caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. Bars were produced by melting fat, incorporating other ingredients until homogenous, and forming into solid bars.
Results: The milk chocolate flavor, per 100 gram serving, contained 530 Calories: 50% of Calories from fat, 23% from protein, and 28% from carbohydrates, with 5 grams dietary fiber. The savory cheese & cracker flavor, per 100 gram serving, contained 490 Calories: 56% coming of Calories from fat, 21% from protein, and 33% from carbohydrates, with 1.2 grams dietary fiber. High fat content served two purposes. It increased the energy density of the bar and dispersed protein to prevent bar hardening. Consumption of high fat diets for short periods of time has not been reported to impair physical performance. Self-association of proteins and resulting bar hardening limits high protein bar shelf life. Shelf stability was assessed using water activity measurements and accelerated shelf life testing. Water activity was 0.51±.019 and 0.54±.064 for the milk chocolate and savory cheese & crackers, respectively. Bars were store for 6 weeks at 45℃ and checked weekly for deformation or melting. No changes in shaped or melting were observed.
Conclusions: Four high nutrient dense bar prototypes were created and assessed for shelf stability. Future studies will include sensory and shelf-life testing, as well as testing of the effects of the bars on mental and physical performance in simulated military operations.
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator of Food Science
Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences at NC State University
Raleigh, North Carolina