At the turn of the twentieth century, military planners found that many recruits were malnourished, suggesting that large sections of the population at large were not getting enough food. By the outbreak of the Second World War, nutritionists had devised a basic ration that kept the civilian population healthy. In these times of plenty, how can the modern army ensure that its soldiers are properly nourished?
Concrete chips, soggy semolina, lumpy custard - is that how you remember school dinners or did you fare better?
For modern athletes, an awareness of the importance of nutrition has become a necessary part of training. And not only what they eat, but when they eat.
Faced with vast amounts of information about the food we eat, how do we decide which messages to believe? Roger Bolton investigates.