What a crime, then, it would be to cut down our meat ration in the tropics, where there is more exhaustion than at home. Dr. C. L. G. Anderson * as a result of his experience, mentions "tropical neurasthenia," "need of meat and not rice," advises us "not to reduce the ration," and mentions the "uselessness of cholera belt" to exclude infections. Lieut-Col. Geo. W. Adair, Chief Surgeon in the Philippines, in his annual report, 1902, states:
"Continued experience still more tends to disprove belief in the advantages to be derived from a reduced ration, lessened in the amount of nitrogen and fats. In the theoretical discussion of this subject, claims are made that as food in the tropics is not required for the maintenance of bodily heat, it might with advantage be reduced, especially in those foods which are heat producing. Other theorists have gone even further, even to the point of contending that rice, being the staple food of natives, should be adopted, to the exclusion of all else, by the white man dwelling in the tropics. Heat production must go on in tropical countries as in temperate climates, in fact a certain amount of heat production is essential as long as life lasts; the balance is maintained not by decrease in food but by increasing heat loss by the use of lighter weight clothing.
"The factor on which amount of food needed depends to such a great extent as to make other factors of an almost negative importance is work. That a soldier's work in the tropics is less than in a temperate climate is not true; the results accomplished may be less, but tissue is used up with much more rapidity in a mean temperature of 85 degrees F. than at 50 degrees F., and an ample supply of good food is required to supply this waste, the effects of deprivation being shown immediately in reduced strength and health".
The annual report of Col. Valery Havard, Chief Surgeon in Havana, February, 1901, says:
* American Medicine, March 22, 1902.
"The food of a large proportion, if not a majority of the population, consists mostly of bread, vegetables, fish and fruit, sometimes in insufficient quantities; meat is an expensive luxury quite beyond their means. From this circumstance, some writers have jumped at the unwarrantable conclusion that there is an instinctive dislike for meat in tropical countries and that one is better off without it. This conclusion is disproved by the fact that meat, in a great variety of forms, is always found upon the table of the well-to-do, and by the striking contrast between the robust, healthy-looking meat eater and the thin, anaemic, potbellied fish and vegetable eater. The truth is that meat is an indispensable component of a good diet in all parts of the world".
Maj. G. W. Ruthers, surgeon, says* that soldiers in the tropics need the full army ration, including the full allowance of fresh beef, as health cannot be maintained without it. Col. E. S. Godfrey, Commanding 5th Brigade in the Philippines, commenting upon the complaints which followed the order reducing the amount of the ration given to the native troops, who formerly had the same food as the white soldier, says:
"It is claimed that when the army ration was given - the native scouts showed wonderful physical development. The officers of the scouts claim that the endurance and bearing of the men generally was much better with the army ration than since they have had a separate ration".
I have repeatedly heard these same complaints. A board to investigate tropical ration says:
"The recommendation that the fresh meat ration be reduced in quantity was so opposed to all the teachings of experience, both in our country and in Cuba and Porto Rico, that the board was unable to accept the recommendation as conclusive without further investigation. Two members of the board have served in Cuba, and the third in Porto Rico, and their personal experience has been that as much fresh meat was desired and eaten as in the United States, and with no deleterious effects on the health of the men. The natives of these countries are largely meat eaters when they are able to procure it, and the meat eaters are noticeably healthier and stronger looking than the poorer classes, who, from necessity are mainly vegetarians. The board also interviewed a number of officers and other people who have been in the Philippines, and taking all sources of information together, the board is of the opinion that it would be a mistake to make a fixed reduction in the meat ration".
* American Medicine, June 15, 1900.
Col. Chas. A. Woodruff, Chief Commissary in the Philippines, has shown in his article,* by a great many references, the urgent need of nitrogenous food and the danger of cutting it down.
The British were compelled to increase the ration of meats in the tropics instead of decreasing it. They now give approximately a pound each of meat, bread and vegetables in addition to many other things not given at home. The meat ration alone in South Africa cost eighteen cents. As before mentioned Japan had to increase her nitrogen and fat ration to stop beriberi in her navy. A great deal more testimony of the need of nitrogen among all tropical natives is recorded under the discussion of the nitrogen starvation, all of which is to be kept in mind whenever any one suggests reducing our meat allowances to accord with starved natives.