Aug 5, 2009 at 10:14 am #1238350
I am just finishing putting together food for my JMT trip in mid August. 14 days including rest day. It's an average of about 19 miles a day. We will resupply at Vermilion and Muir Ranch.
A typical day would include:
Breakfast to Lunch – Carnation Ins. Breakfast w/milk, breakfast bar, EmergenC, and between meals 2 bars (Balance, Kashi, Cliff, Power, etc.) maybe some jerky or peanut M & M's.
Lunch- PB, Wheat Thins, or Tuna, Triscuits or Pringles, Almonds and between meals 2 more bars.
This comes in at roughly 2,700 calories a day. My daily meals weigh in at 27 ounces (ouch!). I am set. I figure I will be burning about 5,000 calories a day from info. gleaned here and will be running a deficit, except for my day at Vermillion.
My son, who is 17, 5'9", 130 lbs., (edit 145+lbs.) and a very active person thinks this is too much food for him. I can stand to lose weight, but he doesn't have the years of fat reserves that I have! I am concerned that if he goes any lower on the calories it would not be sufficient to maintain healthy body function and ultimately he would be burning muscle instead of fat reserves that he has very little of.
Would taking in less calories be advisable.
Thanks for your responses.Aug 5, 2009 at 11:06 am #1518911
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
What's for dinner?
I'm 5'6" 150-ish# and have a metabolism that's slowed a bit over the last few years. I figure I eat 3000 minimum on hikes of more than a couple days, eating plenty and often, and still lose weight (and that's without doing the miles you're planning) Doing the Wonderland a few years ago, I lost a pound a day for nine days.
100 Cal./oz. is lower than the calorie density I like. Add some fat/oil/more nuts and you could push it to 125 Cal/oz or a bit more. Jerky and tuna aren't real calorie dense (but tasty).
For my palate, bars that taste good off the trail (not too sweet, lots of whole grains) taste like cardboard after a day or two on the trail. But that's just me. I assume if you're planning 19 miles/day on the JMT, you've hiked enough to know what works for you.Aug 5, 2009 at 11:10 am #1518912
Your son is 17. Ignore him. You REALLY want to deal with a crabby hormonal teen who is hungry? Tell him you know best on this.
I would though add in some fruit and candy though…..
And yeah, I'd bet $20 that all he talks about is hamburgers, fries and anything greasy during the hike :-DAug 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm #1518921
130 is already pushing the lower limits of what's considered a healthy weight range for a 5'9 male. If anything I'd weight the calorie split in his favor. You should also try to pack in more cals per oz. I'm about to go on a 5 day trip with my girlfriend and we're carrying around the same cals/day but at 21 oz.Aug 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm #1518924
How about a list of foods with weight to cal ratio as a learning exercise?
MikeAug 5, 2009 at 1:01 pm #1518929
Clif Mojo Peanut Butter Pretzel – 125 cal/oz
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate – 140 cal/oz
Peanut Butter Pretzels – 132.5 cal/oz
Clif Mojo Mountain Mix – 113 cal/oz
Walker's Highland Oatcakes – 118 cal/oz
Homemade Beef Stroganoff (dehydrated) – 135 cal/oz
Homemade GORP – 110 cal/oz
Those are some of the higher octane ones. We also have some lower ones like dried fruit which is around 70 cal/oz (that's the lowest). All of our breakfasts and dinners are dehydrated so that helps a lot. Homemade stuff is not exact but should be pretty close. Anything with a high fat content is going to be good here where it wouldn't be in a sedentary daily life. Candy bars can be good…Snickers is around 135 cal/oz. I may sub some of these in to our meals.Aug 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm #1518935
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
I think the OP has underestimated how many calories he will burn each day on his trip.
I myself am 6'-2", 225 pounds and typically burn 9,600 calories over a 20 mile day (1,00-1,300 calories an hour). I know this for a fact as I was a participant in a study that measured caloric expenditure using an electric monitoring device strapped over my arm.
Now the OP's caloric need and metabolism will differ from mine but I typically eat 4,000 calories a day while backpacking. I have found that this number of calories lets me keep doing the miles without feeling worn out. Obviously with a 5,600 daily calorie deficit I lose weight but not enough to slow me down.Aug 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm #1518943
Wow. At a 5600 cal/day deficit I'd be severely at hospitalization risk after a week. That's one downside to being lean. For the op, keep in mind 3500 cals = 1 lb.Aug 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm #1518946
@retropumpLocale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Me thinks your son in particular should have more fat (and thus more calories) in there. Like, a LOT more!
Nuts, oils, coconut, salami and cheeses, full fat milk powder etc…are all high in the calories to weight ratio.Aug 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm #1518952
Sarah, I agree about the teen thing. He finally did say to just do what I wanted since he is on another trip right now and I have to get this stuff in the mail.
Chris, thanks for the information and suggestions. By the way, I asked the wife and my son weighs around 145 not the 130 I said. I guess I am too heavy for the calorie to weight ratio.
May I ask which items I have listed would you get rid of and change out to get a more caloric dense diet. My dinners are dehydrated meals for 2. I am concerned about getting too heavy and 27 oz. was my outside number. If I can get the same weight with higher caloric foods that would be great.
This may be my achilles heel.Aug 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm #1518956
If you are bringing those Mountain House dehydrated meals for 2, they are really more for 1 person. I'm not a big eater and if I was to only eat half of one package for dinner, I'd be miserable the whole night.Aug 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm #1518958
I am eating the whole package myself. It usually comes out to be about 640 to 720 cal. per package. On boy scout trips I always eat half a bag a night (meal for 1) because we only hike about 5-9 miles a day.
I will spike it with some tomatoes and olive oil.Aug 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm #1518972
The real issue with commercial meals is that you might get 300 calories or so if you eat half a meal. Even for a 5 mile day that is NOT enough even for a small female or child.
Think of it this way: ever eat frozen "diet" entrees? Like Healthy Choice or similar? They are around 300 calories. Notice how they don't fill one up? That is what that commercial single serving will do.
So…bulking up becomes necessary – add in a Tablespoon of olive oil or butter, veggies, more meat, more carbs. Most commercial meals have too much sauce anyways so they take adding extras nicely!Aug 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm #1518976
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"If I can get the same weight with higher caloric foods that would be great."
Lots of good suggestions already, to which I would add high cacao content chocolate bars. Around 70% cacao is a good balance between calories and palatability. Seeds of Change, Black & Greens, and Seattle's Best Chocolate are some high quality brands that can get you up in the 150+ calories/oz range and still taste very good. Also, almost any nut will be very high in calories, ~160-200/oz depending on the variety, and contain quite a bit of protein, along with 1-3 grams of fiber, as well. If you combine these items with the suggestions of other posters, you should have your 2700 calories in 21-23 ounces or, conversely, 3100-3300 calories in 27 ounces. Spiking your freeze dried meals with an ounce of olive oil will give you a quick 250 calories, about the max you can pack into an ounce of food.Aug 6, 2009 at 8:30 am #1519086
I got home late last night and had to re-think everything. I took it all apart to calculate the calories per ounce; which I should have done before. It's a real eye opener. I am ditching the 100 range and trying to get in the 125 range. Never thought I would eat so many peanut M & M's., peanut butter, olive oil, etc. I will also up the caloric intake for the day.
The sad part is that I have known about a lot of this for sometime by being a member of this website and reading the Ryan Jordan book. I just never had it come up in such a way since my hikes were shorter days and distances. This has been a great exercise. I don't have to change that much just take out an item here and there and add another that is more calorie dense.
Once again thanks for the help. I'm off to the store with my calculator and checkbook.Aug 6, 2009 at 8:47 am #1519093
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
"Wow. At a 5600 cal/day deficit I'd be severely at hospitalization risk after a week. That's one downside to being lean. For the op, keep in mind 3500 cals = 1 lb."
The funny thing is I'm a muscular built man with a normal (13 %) body fat. I think that my caloric expenditure has to do with my faster hiking pace combined with my large muscular build. I of course have fine tuned my trail diet to minimize the loss of lean muscle by eating diet with high protein, high complex carbohydrates, and moderate fats.
575 gram of carbohydrate (2,300 calories)
200 grams of protein (800 calories)
100 grams of fat (900 calories)Aug 6, 2009 at 8:52 am #1519096
Yeah, I'm running somewhere between 5 and 6% fat currently. Not a lot of room for error if I were to take on something more than a week or so. Good thing we pack light to allow more room for food. Ryan J. was even comparing the weight saved from drilling holes in his shoes to how many cals it would net him on his last trip. Hilarious but I can see doing that with my current minimal buffer.
It's great you have your diet nailed down so well.Aug 6, 2009 at 9:31 am #1519108
For planned calorie deficite diet any high sugar food like most meal bars and M&Ms are better avoided. Body uses a mixture of carbs and fats for energy. When you eat lot of sugar body stops using fats and stores fats. When you run out of sugar, your body starts burning muscles for energy because fats are locked. Dont look at just caloric density while selecting food. Also look at carbs (high), protein (high), fats (low-high), fiber (high), and sugar (low). For 145lbs aim for atleast 65gms of protein. If calorie deficiency is high make sure your diet is rich in complex carbs and low in fats. The add fats to decrease deficiency.
Here is list to get you started:
Muesli with no added sugar
nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruits, dried fruits, date filled w/ almond
flavored peanut butters
Bear Valley Mealpack Bars
whole grain tortillas/crackers/pretzels/baati/crunchy chow mein/crispbread
dried beans/chickpeas/lentils/soy beans/peas
Instant hummus, Whole wheat couscous, Polenta, Angel hair pasta, Organic quick rice, Minute rice, Dehydrated yams, Blond bulgur
Dark ChocolateAug 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm #1519215
Here's a spreadsheet with our food breakdown. This is for one person for 4.25 days. Totals are right at 2600 cals and 22.71 oz for a 115 cal/oz ratio. This is lower than I would like but we like some fruit in the mix despite it's low cal/oz ratio.Aug 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm #1519221
Fruit might be lower in calories than nuts but it is very easy to digest, is full of vitamins and needed electrolytes like potassium and most of all? Has plenty of fiber ;-)Aug 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1519230
@iwillchopyouhotmail-comLocale: Lake Tahoe
"When you run out of sugar, your body starts burning muscles for energy because fats are locked"
This is incorrect, or at least misleading–The only time that your body will stop burning fat (as far as I have read) is when your body is performing at an anaerobic level. Aerobically, you burn predominately fat with some sugar and protein, but anaerobically you need energy quicker and therefore resort to sugars. It is very rare for somebody to bonk at an aerobic pace, as your body has a very large fat reserve. Bonks usually happen when somebody is performing anaerobically and the sugar supply has run out. For typical backpacking pace, it is quite rare to go anaerobic, so there is little worry of finding that 'fats are locked'.
As far as cannabalizing muscle for protein, this can occur around the 3 or 4 hour mark of exercise if absolutely no protein is being ingested. It is quite easy to avoid as the majority of typical hiker fare has protein.
As far as bringing fruit, I absolutely love Trader Joe's freeze dried fruit packages. Mango is currently my favorite, and it is much lighter than fruit leathers.Aug 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm #1519266
The freeze dried banana slices are like heaven in a bag. Just sayin'!
:-DAug 6, 2009 at 9:37 pm #1519276
When you eat a candy bar or a meal, the presence of glucose, amino acids or fatty acids in the intestine stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts on many cells in your body, especially those in the liver, muscle and fat tissue. Insulin tells the cells to do the following:
* Absorb glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
* Stop breaking down:
o glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
o glycogen into glucose
o fats into fatty acids and glycerol
o proteins into amino acids
* Start building:
o glycogen from glucose
o fats (triglycerides) from glycerol and fatty acids
o proteins from amino acids
The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive.
The fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells. In these cells, under stimulation by insulin, fatty acids are made into fat molecules and stored as fat droplets.
It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids, which have been absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is 10 times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. If you have 100 extra calories in fat (about 11 grams) floating in your bloodstream, fat cells can store it using only 2.5 calories of energy. On the other hand, if you have 100 extra calories in glucose (about 25 grams) floating in your bloodstream, it takes 23 calories of energy to convert the glucose into fat and then store it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store.
>"When you run out of sugar, your body starts burning muscles for energy because fats are locked"
You need a mixture of fats and carbs for aerobic activities. Now when you only eat sugar (high sugar/low complex carbs), it is absorbed quickly. They are first stored as glycogen and then broken down for energy. Body can store only so much glycogen in a given time so excess ins converted to fats. When you run out of glycogen, body is unable to sustain metabolism. Meaning you bonk and body starts breaking down muscles.
You can do two things:
Snack frequently. But High sugar snacks are mostly junk food with little nutritional value. And if you too much you will be wasting lot of energy to convert excess sugar to fats. AND it is not UL. Sugar slows down fat metabolism. So you will be using less fats.
Eat nutritionally rich complex carbs. Your insulin level stay low and your body can metabolize fats much efficiently. UL!Aug 7, 2009 at 10:17 am #1519371
Well, I have to say thank you for all of the posts. I am always amazed at the willingness of people to share their knowledge and experience on this site.
I went from about 100 calories per ounce to roughly 118-125 per ounce per day. That is a large increase. I was able to add more calories for the same weight. I took out all my tuna the Spam I had for one day ( a delicacy in Hawaii and would be on the trail but not worth the weight) a bunch of bars and then added more nuts and grains and peanut butter. Cashews and almonds with some blueberries or cranberries mixed in, etc. I also added some chocolate in the way of peanut M & M's but that's only every third day. I can break them down and eat each day or just on one day.
I know I will be better off with more calories. After I leave Vermillion I have no chance to bulk up. I shot for 3200 calories a day, up from the 2700 I was going to take. I added a bit more weight on a few days but not that bad.
Thanks again and keep the post coming.Aug 13, 2009 at 7:20 am #1520514
@ppawlowskiLocale: Garden State
"Fruit might be lower in calories than nuts but it is very easy to digest, is full of vitamins and needed electrolytes like potassium and most of all? Has plenty of fiber ;-)"
many types of fruit, especially dried fruit, are high in fructose which is quite hard to digest. Lookup "fructose malabsorption" for details. I've learnt about it the hard way when I relied on dried fruit too much and my stomach didn't agree with me.
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