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Military Seeks Volunteers To Eat Only MREs For 3 Straight Weeks

NATICK (CBS) -- Uncle Sam wants you. . . to live off "meals ready to eat" for three weeks.

The Army is conducting a study of the effects of MREs on gut health. It's looking for volunteers to eat and drink nothing but the pre-packaged military rations for 21 consecutive days.

Eligible volunteers have to be between 18 and 62 years old, can't be trying to lose weight, and must be willing to give blood, urine and fecal samples. Additionally, there must be no history of gastrointestinal problems.

Eligible Volunteer Requirements (PDF)

The study would last about six weeks, and volunteers will need to visit Natick Labs and have meetings at home.

Research dietitian Dr. Philip Karl is helping conduct the study. "It's actually a study designed to understand how the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut interact with the food that we feed them, in particular the MREs," Dr. Karl said.

There are 24 different MREs for volunteers to try during the study. The Army anticipates that some will get tired of the diet and want to drop out, so dietitians have come up with a cookbook of recipes including Battlefield Beef Dip and Battalion Brownie Pops.

Natick Labs is where military researchers have been trying to cook up tastier and healthier MREs for the troops.

Pizza as a meal ready to eat, developed at Natick Labs (Image credit CBS This Morning)

Volunteers will be compensated about $200 if they finish the study. Anyone who wants to partake should contact Nick at

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker with Dr. Philip Karl

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