Adapting to a rice diet

May 4, 2010

The following note was probably written in October 1942 and in any event before admission to Roberts Hospital with pellagra in early November.

Rice diet

When the prisoners were first on a practically wholly rice diet after previously living on more or less European food, a large proportion of the rice was turning to water & passed away as urine.  Moreover little goodness appeared to be absorbed by the system with the result that emaciation, weakness & fatigue quickly set in & weight loss took place.

After 8 months, however (February to October, 1942) health had more or less been completely restored, weight had returned to normal and little more than the usual amount of urine was being passed.  This tended to show that the constitution had changed sufficiently to enable the utilization of rice as a food for the body, which apparently it was not at the onset.

It should be mentioned that during the whole of this period there had been a more or less steady ration consisting of approximately 16 oz of rice and 4 oz of other commodities per day giving a daily ration of about 20 ounces per man per day.  Extras in the form of iron rations at the commencement & a Red Cross Supply at the end of the period did not alter the position to any extent.

Book B, 88-89

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