Jul 16, 2009 at 11:18 am #1237796
What will happen to me with the calorie deficiency? I've plenty of fat reserves…
Current plan is: 100g Oats in the morning, dry.
Lunch/All day: 100g Nuts
Dinner: Various dehydrated Meals.
Not a lot, will be doing this for 10 days. Am I mad? Should I at least add some dried fruits?Jul 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm #1514319
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
Yes, the fruits would be a good addition.
A multi-vitamin, too, is an almost necessity given that diet.
Survive, sure. But man are you gonna crave other stuff!!!!!Jul 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm #1514323
@puckemLocale: between trees
Yea that would be rough for 10 days. I might be kinda hypoglycemic but i find that when i dont get enough to eat on multi-day trips, i get a little sleepy while hiking and i have a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Maybe add some coffee :). Good LuckJul 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm #1514326
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Man I'd be so hungry but you'd certain survive if you drip calories so as not to bonk/lose mental energy and have an accident.Jul 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm #1514331
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
1300 calories per day is a pretty restricted calorie intake even for someone who is sedentary. For someone trying to cover distance, frankly, I think it is ill advised. I would guess that you are trying to loose weight, reduce your pack weight, or both. At 1300 cal/day, I suspect you would probably loose as much muscle weight as you would fat. Loss of muscle can really make you feel lousy; weak, head-achy and crampy. A lot of this comes from by products of protein breakdown; some, I suspect, from incipient malnutrition. You could probably do what you are planning but I don't think you would enjoy yourself.
I hiked the JMT last summer on 2700 cal/day. For the first few days there was no problem; the combination of fatigue, altitude and dehydration really reduces ones appetite. Beyond those first days, my appetite returned and I felt that I had almost enough food, mostly. But, I lost nearly ten pounds on the through-hike. I don't think I would have enjoyed having much less food along though.
I think you may want to re-think your food planning; especially if you want to enjoy the trip.Jul 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm #1514333
If I'm remembering correctly an adult male body will go in to starvation mode if you consume under 1500 a day. You're highly likely to go in to ketosis as well.
How tall are you? How much do you weigh? How old?Jul 16, 2009 at 1:34 pm #1514344
I'm 25, am 5 foot 9 tall and weigh 177 pounds.
Loaded up for 10 days, my packweight is 9.6kg, inc food on this diet.
I'm thinking of adding some pumpernickle, dried fruit to the mix, possibly some salami too.Jul 16, 2009 at 1:58 pm #1514345
I calculate that you need 18-1900 as a base. That assumes zero activity so I'd carry at least that much.Jul 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm #1514346
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Ray Jardine in Trail Life makes a big point about NOT skimping on food. He's thinking more about mega-hikes (AT, PCT, CDT) so maybe you'd be ok for 10 days.
But if lack of food clouds your judgment, or makes you light-headed and you trip and injure yourself, you might find yourself in a big heap of trouble, or worse.
It is not clear to me that relying on fat reserves will work, as others have pointed out. I personally wouldn't take such a chance.Jul 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm #1514350
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
not only do you screw with your metabolic rate – your body doesn't just live off the fat stores… it will use your muscles stores as well – not a good ideaJul 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm #1514356
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Sounds like no fun. Is fun part of your goal? What usually happens when people bring too little food: 1) they quit 2) they mooch off others 3) they call in unjustified rescues.
A side note. A few years ago there was a somewhat off kilter guy doing a long hike on the pct. His diet: 2 poptarts and three cups of coffee a day. He claimed to have lost 80 pounds in just over two weeks. The "before" photo contrasted with him lifting up his shirt to everyone seemed to support it. I told him that he was risking a heart attack. Most other thruers said similar things and there was even talk of calling some sort of psycological services. His enthusiasm for the endeavor wasn't tarnished though.Jul 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm #1514357
You're crazy. Carry more and better food or be miserable.Jul 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm #1514366
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
You would lose weight hiking.
Also, rapid weight loss can pull toxins and ickies out of your fat stores – and those are not good in large rushes to your liver!
So while one can in theory live on 1300 a day, I cannot imagine you'd find a Doctor that would say it is a great idea when you must rely on so little.
As well, beyond brain function food fuels your inner heat. Starving yourself you will be much colder – and again, more likely to make mistakes if your blood sugar gets too low.
As well, consider this: if you don't get enough food your body will consume your muscles also. And that is what you don't want to be doing!Jul 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm #1514373
Would not worry about toxins in your body being released. BUT- you need far more calories than you have allowed. At least add some probars or big sur bars to you menu. They taste good and have lots of calories. Endurance athletes consume vast amounts of calories- on the tour de france 10000 calories would not be excessive. You might not exert yourself like Lance, but you will need far more than usual. Even if you want to lose weight you should eat far more than 1300 calories.Jul 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm #1514381
someone correct me if my calculations are wrong—100gms oats=360 cals—-100gms pine kernals= 700 cals—total 1060 cals—surely a dehydrated meal is more than the 240 cals so where is the total figure of 1300 cals coming fromJul 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm #1514435
Nuts are a bad idea for this type of diet. Your main source of calories should be complex carbs/protein. You need this to burn your fat reserves and to avoid metabolism of your muscles. Dont take dry fruit or any sugar. This affects fat metabolism.
How much fat reserves do you have? You will need a LOT for 10 days.
I am currently experimenting with sugar free crunchy muesli: rolled oats, wheat flakes, oat and wheat bran, apple juice concentrate. I enjoy it as a snack. 12%protein/75%carbs. On my hike next weekend I plan on taking whey protein concentrate or roasted soy and sugar free muesli. My hikes are short and I would like to convert as much body fat to lean mass as possible.
For hikes longer then a week, if you run out of fat reserves you will need to eat 3000-5000 cal/day depending on terrain/pace to avoid burning your muscles. Nuts, seeds, legumes, peanut butter and cheese are good high fats/high proteins food.
Keep in mind that the key to make such a diet work is to learn controlling your pace. Make sure you are NEVER out of breath specially on uphills. Whether 1300 cal will be enough will depend on many factor such as your food choices, terrain, pace, metabolism, fitness, walking technique etc.
But unless you want to dig nutritional science, I suggest you listen to others.Jul 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm #1514437
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
"I've plenty of fat reserves.."
Yes, you are mad.
You will feel miserable, lose muscle and fantasize like crazy about pizza. But worst of all is that your body will over-compensate after the event, and you will very likely end up putting on more weight than you lost (and more of that weight will be fat instead of muscle). It would be a very unhealthy type of weight loss.Jul 16, 2009 at 8:31 pm #1514448
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I'm 25, am 5 foot 9 tall and weigh 177 pounds."
How much of that 177# is spare body fat?
If you have, say, 15# of "healthily burnable" fat, that would provide you with ~52,500 potential calories of energy if you had adequate dietary carbs to support its metabolism plus enough protein to keep your body from cannibalizing itself. If you hiked at ~2.5 miles/hour you would probably be burning in the neighborhood of 30% carbs, 5% protein, and 65% fat. I have figured out by trial and error, some study, and post trip analysis of my body weight differentials that I burn around 4000-4200 calories/day of which ~65% come from fat. If you burn calories at even close to that rate, you would need maybe 45,000 calories for a 10 day trip, allowing some extra for your greater weight(I weigh 137#). 65% of that figure would be ~29,250 calories from fat; 30% of that figure works out to be 13,500 calories from carbs, and 2250 calories from protein. Based on this you would need to carry 13,500/4 calories per gram = 3375 grams of carbs/~28 grams per ounce = 120.5 oz/16 oz per pound = ~7.5# of carbs to burn 7.2# of excess body fat on your 10 day trip, based on parameters I have found work for me over the last several years. Even if my parameters are of by 20-25%, either for you specifically, or just for everybody but me, you have plenty of body fat to get the job done, provided you carry enough carbs to support its metabolism. I didn't do the math for 5% protein, but it's a trivial exercise. Bottom line, you should carry 7.5 to perhaps 11# of complex carbs and whatever the protein at 5% works out to be to have a chance of pulling this off without doing yourself some serious damage. Good luck if your heart is set on this.
The figure of 5% protein is meant to refer to protein for energy production. Total recommended daily intake of protein is considerabley higher. Estimates vary, but one recommendation specifically for endurance athletes in "Exercise Physiology" 6th Edition by McArdle, Katch, and Katch, p. 40, is 1.2-1.8 grams per kilogram of body mass. I carry 70-75 grams per day for a body mass of 65 kg and it seems to work fine, so far. NO detectable weakness, loss of lean muscle.Jul 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm #1514454
Impressive math Tom, however I don't think the human body can so effectively burn all your available fat like that in a span of 10 days. I don't think fat on your body is like gas in your car's tank.Jul 16, 2009 at 11:37 pm #1514482
Ok Guys, so what heathy carbs can I take with me as extra?
THanksJul 17, 2009 at 7:08 pm #1514699
With that diet you will burn muscle and not fat. Protein is very important for muscle recovery, and even ultralight backpacking can be tough on the muscles. I would highly recommend you reconsider, but I am no doctor or nutritionist so this is strictly based on my knowledge of the subject.Jul 17, 2009 at 7:55 pm #1514711
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Impressive math Tom, however I don't think the human body can so effectively burn all your available fat like that in a span of 10 days. I don't think fat on your body is like gas in your car's tank."
Have you ever tried it, Kevin, or read up on exercise physiology? I tried it willy nilly, then read up on it and then went back and tried it again in a more disciplined manner. It works just like it's supposed to, at least for me. It's not as precise as a gas tank; after all the body is not a car, but you can sure get in the ball park fairly quickly and then refine your intake more precisely as you gather data, trip by trip. Maybe think about it some more?Jul 17, 2009 at 11:50 pm #1514740
Tom, sorry If I came off the wrong way. When I said impressive math, I meant that, because I'm the same way, I calculate everything.
I have done a lot of research on nutrition since I started weight training 2 years ago. I have gone on for months on carefully planned diets to bulk up or cut fat. I've planned and tracked daily calorie and carb/protein/fat intake as well as calories expensed. I'm not a pro though by any means.
What I learned is that in any given short period of time (a week, 10 days), my body can act in unpredictable ways. You can plan and think "well, if i have a calorie deficit of x calories per day, then in 1 week I should lose x pounds". But that's rarely the case.
Now, over a longer period of time, the weight change will approximate my original estimations.Jul 18, 2009 at 8:56 am #1514778
@arichardson6Locale: North East
Great post Tom. Those are some neat calculations, but they rely on knowing how much healthy burnable fat one has. I'm interested in learning more about this so I have a few questions.
1. I am wondering if you could explain a bit about how one knows how much "healthy burnable" fat they have.
2. From where did you get the percentages for how many carbs, proteins, and fat are burnt while hiking? Are those numbers standard?
3.Can you explain the process for finding out that you burned ~65% fat from your total calorie loss each day?
Geez, I'm sorry I have a lot of questions, but I just find this very interesting. You can certainly recommend a source (Is it the Exercise Phys book?) and I can try to learn more myself. Your explanation just really helped to make sense of what is probably somewhat complicated when read from a book and applied to backpacking!
Thanks!Jul 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm #1514819
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