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Dietary Deficiencies

The ration scale in two typical camps for men doing hard physical work was as follows:

May 1942 (Ounces per man per day)

Rice (polished) - 20.0

Sugar - 0.6

Salt - 0.25

Oil - 0.15

Tea - 0.2

Vegetables - 3.0

Pork or Dried Fish - 0.76

Wheat flour - 1.6

December 1942 (Ounces per man per day)

Rice (polished) - 24.7

Sugar - 0.7

Salt - Nil

Oil - 0.09

Tea - 0.08

Vegetables - 16.2

Pork or Dried Fish - 1.0

Wheat flour - Nil

Rice polished - One ounce gives 110 calories but owing to the removal of the husk and pericarp is deficient in all vitamins. The rice supplied to the POWs was stored in makeshift go-downs, always hot and often damp, for long periods.

Sugar - One ounce gives 100 calories but is deficient in all vitamins. Oil - One ounce gives 257 calories and vitamins A, B1 and the B2 complex are present.

Vegetables - The ratios included Chinese radish, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and dried cabbage. Of these, pumpkins contain vitamin A and sweet potatoes B1.

Pork and Dried Fish - The amounts supplied gave negligible quantities of calories. Pork, however, contains vitamin B1 and the B2 complex.

Wheat Flour - This ceased to be a ration after the middle of 1942.

These diets which were quite representative were about 25% deficient in caloric value for men doing hard work such as clearing jungle, building railway embankments and blasting cuttings through rock. The vitamin A was almost sufficient. The vitamin B1 (thiamine or aneurin) was deficient. The vitamin B2 complex (especially riboflavin and nicotinic acid) was also deficient. The prisoners were able to supplement their rations by buying eggs, peanuts and gula malacca but the supplies were short and irregular. No additional or special rations were allowed by the Japanese for sick men.