Sep 18, 2008 at 5:15 pm #1231217
As I'm sure Laurie and many other of you know by now, protein is an essential part of a sensible fat loss diet. But how much protein is enough??
There is a plethora of evidence available now that increasing protein to 25-30% (or more) of your diet, while reducing carbohydrates to 40% or less, is very beneficial to fat loss in almost all settings it’s been explored. I’m not into “fad’ diets, but a lot of the research does implicate eating “in the zone” to be a safe and effective way to manage your weight (and no I don’t mean eating lots of commercial Zone bars full of c**p).
Dotted lines are where I’ve edited out some of the more boring statistical and scientific jargon…………..
Effect of an energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet relative to a conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on weight loss, body composition, nutritional status, and markers of cardiovascular health in obese women.
BACKGROUND: Limited evidence suggests that a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrate during weight loss has metabolic advantages. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effects of a diet with a high ratio of protein to carbohydrate during weight loss on body composition, cardiovascular disease risk, nutritional status, and markers of bone turnover and renal function in overweight women. DESIGN: The subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 5600-kJ (1400 cal) dietary interventions for 12 wk according to a parallel design: a high-protein or a high-carbohydrate diet.…………CONCLUSION: An energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet provides nutritional and metabolic benefits that are greater than those observed with a high-carbohydrate diet.
Effects of protein vs. carbohydrate-rich diets on fuel utilisation in obese women during weight loss.
BACKGROUND: Energy restriction is a common therapeutic approach for weight reduction, but the most effective macronutrient distribution of the hypoenergetic diet as well as the role of the metabolic processes involved require further investigations. OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of a high protein hypoenergetic diet compared with a high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet on fuel utilisation changes during the weight loss process in obese women. DESIGN: Eleven obese women were randomly assigned to a 10 week dietary intervention study comparing High Protein (30% protein) or High Carbohydrate (55% carbohydrate) energy restricted diets providing 30% energy fat content…………. RESULTS: On average, the individuals on the High Protein dietary group lost 4.4 kg more than those in the High Carbohydrate program, which was mainly due to a fat mass loss, with no statistical differences in lean body mass reduction……………….CONCLUSIONS: The replacement of some dietary carbohydrate by protein in energy restricted diets, improves weight and fat losses and specifically promotes fat oxidation in the fasting state, without major different in lean body mass depletion.
Basal and postprandial substrate oxidation rates in obese women receiving two test meals with different protein content.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Fuel utilisation and storage in lean and obese subjects seem to be differently affected by the macronutrient distribution intake. The aim of this intervention study was to explore the extent to which the fat mass status and the macronutrient composition of an acute dietary intake influence substrate oxidation rates. METHODS: Fuel utilisation in 26 women, 14 obese and 12 lean, was measured over 6 hours to compare the metabolic effect of a single balanced protein (High Carbohydrate, HC) meal and a high protein (HP) single meal. The macronutrient composition as a percentage of energy of the HC meal was 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 30% fat, while the HP meal contained 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat…………..RESULTS: …………………..A single HP meal consumption produced higher postprandial (ie after meal) fat oxidation as compared with HC meal intake, in both obese and lean subjects, with no apparent changes in glucose oxidation rates. Furthermore, postprandial fat utilisation after the test meal intake was higher in obese than in the lean women………………. CONCLUSIONS: Net lipid oxidation depends on both short-term dietary composition intake and fat body mass, being significantly higher after a relatively high protein meal as compared to a balanced diet intake and in obese women as compared to lean controls.
Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum (eat all you want) fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity.
OBJECTIVE: To study the effect on weight loss in obese subjects by replacement of carbohydrate by protein in fat-reduced diets. DESIGN: Randomized dietary intervention study over six months comparing two fat reduced diets (30% of total energy) strictly controlled in composition: High-carbohydrate (HC, protein 12% of total energy) or high-protein (HP, protein 25% of total energy). ……….RESULTS: More than 90% completed the trial. Weight loss after six months was 5.1 kg in the HC group and 8.9 kg in the HP, and fat loss was 4.3 kg and 7.6 kg, respectively whereas no changes occurred in the control group. More subjects lost > 10 kg in the HP group (35%) than in the HC group (9%). The HP diet only decreased fasting plasma triglycerides and free fatty acids significantly. CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of some dietary carbohydrate by protein in an ad libitum fat-reduced diet, improves weight loss and increases the proportion of subjects achieving a clinically relevant weight loss. More freedom to choose between protein-rich and complex carbohydrate-rich foods may allow obese subjects to choose more lean meat and dairy products, and hence improve adherence to low-fat diets in weight reduction programs.
High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects…………..
And so onSep 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm #1451539
You wouldn't truly want to recommend an "energy restricted" diet for backpacking would you now Allison? High protein diets are said to require more water (wasted water).Sep 19, 2008 at 1:38 am #1451548
I think "energy restricted" diet would be beneficial when when you want to carry less food and you are going slow. Increasing protein/carb ratio can help reduce glycemic load of the food.Sep 19, 2008 at 3:36 am #1451551
There is some interesting discussion on high protein diet in this thread:
Frank Ramos summarizes well:
The body has no need for carbs per se. What it needs is glucose, since the brain cannot function without glucose and the muscles get tired more easily when burning fat instead of glucose. Carbs and protein can both be converted to glucose, fats cannot be converted to glucose. Digesting protein takes lots of energy, and then converting to glucose in the liver takes more energy. So if you want to avoid creating metabolic heat and overheating in the summertime, then don't overeat protein. If you want to create metabolic heat to warm yourself up, then lots of protein is the way to go. Eat a huge meal of protein before going to bed and you will sleep very warm indeed.Sep 20, 2008 at 5:19 am #1451624
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
Whether or not there is a need for more water which may be wasted, as you put it, really shouldn't be an issue when it comes to a healthy trail diet. As backpackers we should have about 20% protein in our hiking diet. Why?
– without protein you slow the metabolism making it more difficult for your body to produce energy and this is apparently greater at higher altitudes
– if you don't have enough protein your muscles start to break down
– protein helps repair some of the damage we do to our muscles
I think it was the book The Ultralight Backpacker by Ryel Kestenbaum that explained it best. Kestenbaum compared protein to a savings account and carbs to a chequing account. Carbs you use now. Protein you use a little later.
edited to fix typosSep 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm #1451681
First of all, I admittedly know almost nothing about nutrition, although I am trying to learn more so I can plan more efficiently. I've had a few food disasters on my multiweek trips!
I can understand why protein is good, as backpacking constantly "breaks down" my muscles and the protein is key in "building them back up." I don't see why there is a low carb, low fat emphasis though. Shouldn't a high amount of carbs be necessary to sustain energy levels? I'm not quite sure where fat fits into all of this, but I always viewed it as a very efficient way for your body to store energy, although it never lasts very long. Shouldn't you be eating foods to replace body fat, to negate the loses you'll experience from backpacking?
That sure is an impressive study though. Actually, it sounds impressive. I don't have the scientific background to appreciate it!Sep 20, 2008 at 10:17 pm #1451699
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
Jeff… you need all 3 (carbs, healthy fats and protein) on backpacking trips. In the winter weather an increase in the fats is recommended. If you are just hiking on 1 or 2 night trips it isn't a big deal but for a week or more (our average trip is anywhere from 10 to 14 days) it is advisable to try and attain some sort of balance in the diet.Sep 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm #1451765
I think I haven't made the intent of these tips clear. These aren't meant to be diet tips as in what to eat on trail. They are intended for folks who are carrying a bit more fat than they want, to help them lose the excess BEFORE hitting the trail. As UL hikers, we should be focused on true "skin-out" weight, which includes your own body weight.
So really it's about weight loss, with fatloss of particular concern. It's easy to lose weight, but most people lose more muscle then fat if they don't know what they are doing.
We don't need carbs at all, but most people find hiking in ketosis takes some getting used to! Many traditional peoples survived long periods without carbs (think of Inuits in winter, or living off of moose in Canada, reindeer in Siberia, Salmon etc…).Sep 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm #1451777
"So really it's about weight loss, with fatloss of particular concern. It's easy to lose weight, but most people lose more muscle then fat if they don't know what they are doing.
We don't need carbs at all, but most people find hiking in ketosis takes some getting used to!"
Cutting carbs substantially runs contrary to the diets of every endurance athlete I know, including in my own experience as a distance runner and ultra-distance cyclist. I don't know anyone eating less than 60% carbs, most striving for about 70%- this is during training AND racing.
As far as losing muscle instead of fat, are you talking even when exercising vigorously and regularly WHILE dieting, or just dieting alone? I'm hardly a nutritionist, but this seems way off from what I've read and what most athletes I know are doing.
"These aren't meant to be diet tips as in what to eat on trail. They are intended for folks who are carrying a bit more fat than they want, to help them lose the excess BEFORE hitting the trail."
I'm trying to follow this thread, but I'm not sure I understand what you're advocating, or for who.
Are you talking no carbs during training (high-mileage weeks) in preparation for an even higher mileage trip? Or are you suggesting to cut carbs to lose weight prior to even beginning a training plan?
Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand what you're advocating.
Thanks.Sep 21, 2008 at 4:26 pm #1451787
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
My diet (all the time and hiking) of liquid and / or Dry Ensure is 9 grams of Protein in each 250 calorie serving. Non-hiking servings per day of 6 and for hiking 8 or so servings.
The small amount of Carnation Breakfast Drink has 5 grams per serving which is about 4 servings per day.
The Hammer Perpetuem I put in my drinking water provides me an extra 6 grams per serving when hiking times 2 servings.
How does my Protein intake amount factor into your ideas for enough, to much or not enough?Sep 21, 2008 at 5:18 pm #1451798
Craig, my comments RE: not needing carbs was in response to Huzefa's post:
>What it needs is glucose, since the brain cannot function without glucose and the muscles get tired more easily when burning fat instead of glucose. Carbs and protein can both be converted to glucose, fats cannot be converted to glucose.
I was not advocating a low carb diet, merely stating that one can survive (and thrive) without a lot of carbs in disagreement with the above post. This thread is about getting enough protein while dieting to lose fat.
>Cutting carbs substantially runs contrary to the diets of every endurance athlete I know
I am surprised! You really should look into "fat adaptation" or "fat-loading" for endurance athletes. Although it appears to offer no advantages to competitive athletes (who need to have an all-out sprint in reserve at the end of a race), it seems to be advantageous to steady state endurance activities. I would consider hiking to be in this category. Adaptation to a high fat diet teaches your body to burn more fat and rely less on glycogen for exercise, meaning you can go longer before 'bonking' or hitting the wall.
But that is all a digression. I am merely pointing out that IF you are trying to lose some fat to enhance your hiking performance (whether cutting calories or not), then make sure you get plenty of protein. It's up to you to balance the carb and fat component. I'm not talking about on trail diet, though what's good for you at home is also good for you on the trail!
>As far as losing muscle instead of fat, are you talking even when exercising vigorously and regularly WHILE dieting, or just dieting alone.
I'm assuming most people in this forum are not competitive endurance athletes, and my post is really only relevant to people who are overweight and trying to lose fat. In this category, many people really don't know where to begin other than to cut calories (often too much), and exercise more (often the wrong exercises or wrong intensity). This leads to rapid WEIGHT loss, but a lot of that weight will be muscle loss. Knowing what to eat and how to exercise can tip the balance towards more fat loss while preserving muscle.
Obviously the title "Diet tip of the week" is misleading in this forum. I will change it to "fat loss tip" from now on.Sep 21, 2008 at 5:23 pm #1451800
>As far as losing muscle instead of fat, are you talking even when exercising vigorously and regularly WHILE dieting, or just dieting alone
I have no idea. There are two general rules of thumb you can apply. The first is to aim for 30% of your calories from protein. I would need to know your total daily calorie intake to work this out. The other way to calculate optimum protein intake is based on bodyweight. Using this formula you would aim for 2.5-3 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight. I would need to know your bodyweight to figure that one out. From what I've seen of your photos, I hardly think you need to try and lose fat…..so just keep doing what you're doing.Sep 21, 2008 at 7:07 pm #1451813
"The first is to aim for 30% of your calories from protein."
That is more on track with what I'm accustomed to. Most coaches and athletes I know are eating/recommending being in the ballpark of 60 carb 30 protein 10 fat or 70 carb 20 protein 10 fat.
I'm not sure how backpacking should be factored into diet…There are so many styles. When I backpack I'm often into speed, so when combined with elevation my HR is in the ballpark of running for very long periods of time. Others are far slower and do far fewer miles, possibly never tipping 50-60% max HR.
To prescribe a certain diet for backpacking is misleading (I'm not saying that it's what you're doing)…There are so many variables: speed vs. terrain vs. mileage vs. packweight….I've had plenty of trips that were nothing more than long walks; I've also had plenty of epics, doing 50+ kilometers in a day with tons of elevation loss/gain. These are very different diet categories with very different needs.Sep 21, 2008 at 7:36 pm #1451817
>I'm not sure how backpacking should be factored into diet…There are so many styles. When I backpack I'm often into speed, so when combined with elevation my HR is in the ballpark of running for very long periods of time
Not to mention personal preference. My whole point about mentioning, eg, the Inuits was really just to show that humans can adapt and thrive on pretty much any type of diet provided there is adequate protein and essential fats, vitamins and minerals. The rest comes down to detail, preference, and habit. Habit is important in a lot of ways, which is why a higher fat endurance diet is more appropriately called a "fat adaptation" diet.
When it comes to fat LOSS, humans are simply terrible at adapting!!!! Habit and preference then become impediments….Sep 21, 2008 at 7:59 pm #1451819
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I used to follow a method of planning food for my trips like this: 60% fat, 40% carb, 5% protein.
Recent research has pointed me in a different direction. Looking into a formula followed by adventure racers as well as traditional team sports athletes I've come across the following formula:
Consume 9.5g carbohydrate (both high and low glycemic index varieties) per 1kg body weight. Also, eat 1.5g protein for every 1kg body weight.
For me this means:
9.5 * 81.65 = 775.765g carbohydrate
1.5 * 81.65 = 122.475g protein
I've been trying to put together example menus to achieve these high numbers and still stay within my average 1kg of food per day but haven't been successful as of yet.
My research and not shown any particular necessity for the addition of fat to these dietary needs so I can not comment on that with hard data.Sep 22, 2008 at 6:09 am #1451845
A lady who had years of backpacking experience went to Big Bend NP with us one year. When we arrived at the park, she was noted by others to be "out of it" and would not get off the bus. After others finally got her to get off the bus she was sorta obtunded and would not help herself or allow others to help her for awhile. The park service EMT arrived and took care of the problem. The bottom line is she was found to be hypoglycemic from a low (or no) carb diet. After a couple of days in a hotel, she joined another group that was camping nearby for a little hiking.Sep 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm #1451887
>The bottom line is she was found to be hypoglycemic from a low (or no) carb diet
She sounds like the kind of 'dieter' I am talking about. No real idea of how to optimally fuel her body for performance while maintaining muscle. I can list any number of other people who I have known who likewise jeaopardised their health by ignorance in nutrition. They have included Ultra low fatters, vegans and vegetarians, as well as a fruititarian! My mother once tried to diet by eating nothing but "Zone" bars!!! Really stupid. That doesn't mean the principles behind the diets are bad, just that you REALLY need to know what you are doing to stay healthy when you severely limit any one nutrient or food group. Just reading a pop culture diet book doesn't always cut it. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.Sep 24, 2008 at 9:31 am #1452077
I have started carrying a protein supplement that I can make into a shake at night after a long day of backpacking. I use a Whey isolate Blend that I just add water to in a small Nalgene bottle. At home, I put one scoop of protein powder (34 grams) into a small ziplock bag and add this to about 2 cups of water. It provides 24 grams of protein at night when my body needs it the most.Sep 29, 2008 at 6:19 pm #1452717
@lushyLocale: Lake Mungo, Mutawintji NPs
>> I used to follow a method of planning food for my trips like this: 60% fat, 40% carb, 5% protein.
That's a total of 105%!! Impressive.
I guess you made up for the extra 5% weight burden by using dehydrated water!! ; )Sep 29, 2008 at 6:35 pm #1452722
I'm not a dietitian but I've had to do quite a bit of reading on nutrition as it relates to extended backcountry treks. The brain and muscles prefer carbs for fuel during intense exercise. Once you've exhausted your muscles, they prefer fat for fuel. The recommended ratio for extended treks is 50% carbs, 35% fat, 15% protein at normal elevations. The ratio is slightly different at high elevations since the appetite is suppressed and high-fat foods are harder to digest. In any event, taking in excess protein requires you to take in more water in order to rid the body of the nitrogen waste created when converting that excess protein in to carbs for fuel. The excess water required creates additional load on the kidneys. A common calculation for protein intake is .8g/kg body weight unless very active in which case it's 1g/kg body weight. I'm 165 lbs so 60-75g would be about right for me which also equates to 240-300 calories of a daily diet. Note that protein only contributes to 5-10% of your energy. It's primary use is the building of muscle.
Please not that these ratios are for backpacking on longer trips but the excess protein information applies to any diet.
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