To test the application of doubly labeled water under adverse field conditions, energy expenditures of 16 special operations soldiers were measured during a 28-day field training exercise. Subjects were matched by fat-free mass and divided equally between an ad libitum ready-to-eat meal diet and a 2,000 kcal/day lightweight ration. Subjects recorded intakes daily, and body composition was measured before and after the exercise. At the beginning of the study, subjects moved to a new northerly location and, therefore, a new water supply. To compensate for this, a group of soldiers who did not receive heavy water was followed to measure isotopic base-line changes. Energy expenditure by doubly labeled water was in agreement with intake/balance (3,400 +/- 260 vs. 3,230 +/- 520 kcal/day). The overall coefficient of variation of energy expenditure by doubly labeled water was half that of intake/balance (7.6 vs. 16.1%). The coefficient of variation of repeat measures with doubly labeled water was 7.3%. Energy expenditure of the ready-to-eat meal group, 3,540 +/- 180 kcal/day, was not significantly different from the lightweight ration group, 3,330 +/- 301 kcal/day. Doubly labeled water was valid under field conditions.
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