- Jun 16, 2005 at 3:15 am #1216282
On a 12 day unsupported John Muir Trail hike last summer I kept my 3700 Calorie daily diet to just under 2lbs. by downing 5 fl.oz.(1200 Calories) of vegetable oil per day. With fat weighing in at 9 Cal/gram and protein and carbohydrates at only 4 Cal/gram, high fat intake is a powerful method to lighten the food load. I want to go back and run the trail MUCH faster next time. I expect to at least double my oil intake on my next effort to get my 5 day/208 mile pack to under 20lbs. including water. The challenge that I’m now dealing with is the bulk and weight of my electrolyte drink.
I love the effect of my Gatorade, but the carbs (and filler?) make the 9 quarts or so/day that I will have to consume a real burden to carry. I could cut out a lot of carbs and replace them with oil if I could find an electrolyte powder to add to my water or salt pills to take periodically that have no carbs or calories. I would appreciate any information on a source for such products or comments on my stategy.
Thanks! AlJun 16, 2005 at 4:20 am #1338177jacob thompsonSpectator
Contact the guys from team mountain laurel designs. These guys are my new inspiration. Why do you need to take so many calories? For 5 days your body would do fine on stored reserves. Ive been on many hikes where I have taken no food. I think it’s a comfort thing to take so much food. Try bulking up a bit before you leave.Jun 16, 2005 at 12:07 pm #1338200Tim WMember
I may be wrong but doesn’t Gatoraide simply contain a little sodium and potassium in a high sugar softdrink?
How about some unsweetened Koolaid and a dash of salt substitute (NaCl and KCl) ?Jun 20, 2005 at 3:30 am #1338314
Jacob—Team Mountain Laurel Designs is my new inspiration also! Dr. J. has a thread in this section on carrying less food (Lighter weight Food/Nutrition). I’m already “bulked up” by about 20lbs. Are you suggesting that fat is better carried on the body than in the pack and injested? Why? Are your foodless adventures relevant to me travelling 40+ miles/ day for 5 days walking and running 20+ hours/day over 10, 10-14,000 ft. passes attempting to set a new speed record? If I get so low energy and toxic that I slow down there is a point of diminishing returns on saving weight. I’m asking so many questions because I see merit in your ideas. Any further responses are appreciated.
Tim—Gatorade is: Sucrose,Dextrose,Citric Acid,Salt,Sodium Citrate,Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors With Other Natural Flavors,Monopotassium Phosphate,Yellow5.
Is the purpose of unsweetened koolaid to supply flavoring to make the salt water more palatable? I’m looking for a specific recipe and concentration for salts,buffering agents, etc. or a supplier of this product. Any ideas on recipe sources?
I will continue my testing of both high oil and reduced calorie diets while undergoing extreme exertion and duration.
Thanks-AlJun 20, 2005 at 4:15 am #1338317jacob thompsonSpectator
My foodless trips havent been past 3 days yet. And I didnt really notice to much problem. However you energy output would be much higher because of the extra stress and long distance. Mine havn’t been much more than 25miles a day. I am quite into alternate health etc.. and have been on many fasts of durations shorter than 6 weeks. I find that once your body swaps to ketonic generation of energy that your perceived energy levels are enormously higher. Look into the biology of fasting/starvation for more detailed explanations. I understand the possible toxic shock your talking about. At the end of 40 miles your body is really dead, so I guess that this would be much more prevalent if its not been given enough fuel.
Some extra thoughts though. Remember that its only 5 days and thus very little food is required anyway. I’m sure with that length and your determination to succeed you would more than likely lead to getting base weights way below 5lbs. If you feel that your body needs the extra fuel then I think oil is a good option (you may also like to try Ghee, has more flavour). I would really like to test this kind of exertion myself so I know my limits. I find that I do travel much better on a full stomach. It builds confidence and morale etc.. But I would think determination is the key here. Mental strength can easily overpower what the body feels.
I really have no idea about elevation changes as most of my hiking is low, flat to medium grade, warm and certainly closer to safety. I also have no idea about trails in America because I live in Australia. However I understand that I will go through this area in my attempted thru-hike in ’07. Is there possibilities of caching food at all?
I hadn’t even considered your question regarding body fat vs carried food. This is a very intriging question to me. I study biology and have had very little to do with human physiology. From what I can reckon in my head, essentially the food in the bag and weigh carried on body is going to have the same effect on knees, feet, back. However is the utilization of energy from food better than ketonic energy generation? That I don’t know. I was under the impression that it takes about 3 days for the body to start fully using body stores. But I really dont know the rate in which it can use them up. Something like a pound a day when under normal condition is most probable. I will have a look around and see what else I can work out because it is an interesting concept.Jun 20, 2005 at 10:52 am #1338322Jeremy McDanielMember
@jerm409Locale: highest privy in the lower 48
You should check out Endurolytes.Jun 23, 2005 at 1:59 am #1338386
Jacob— Thanks for your ideas and continuing support. I’ll be testing a 2800 calorie per day, high fat diet that I think I can get down to 17oz./day plus Endurolyte capsules that Jeremy suggested or Lite Salt suggested by Tim on an upcoming 5 day trip with my nephew. It will culminate with a 20 mile 6300 ft. vertical day trip from trailhead to Mt. Whitney’s 14,500 foot summit and back to trailhead. I think this will be a good preliminary test of very high fat, low calorie, high exertion condions.
I will post my electrolyte recipe and trip observations when I return for further comments and adjustments.
You can send food and bounce box to resorts and post offices near Sierran trails or pre-place bear cannisters along the route. If you give me more specific information about your intended route I will provide you with more detailed information or references.
I ran across your thread on sleeping bags. Did you end up buying the Nunatak Ghost?
Thanks to all in helping me to develop and evolve my diet strategy.
Cheers— AlJul 2, 2005 at 7:16 pm #1338670AnonymousGuest
Get the basic sodium and potassium you need in the correct ratio with a 2:3 mixture (by volume) of table salt and Morton Lite. A heaping 1/4 tsp of this mix weighs about 2 grams, so down about half that in your hydration during each hour of exercise. More details in ref below.
You can approximate the energy you burn by noting the time you spend hiking and then guessing at your burn rate. Vigorous hiking at 600 cal/hr and 800 or more for vigorous climbing; or 100 cal for easy trail miles, 200 for off-trail miles, plus 400 for each 1000′ of gain. Add your basal+50% (or figure 2200 cal base) and that will be your daily burn. That’s what you’ll have to consume to achieve calorie balance, but only mountaineers and long distance hikers need aim for actual balance. Even then they usually lose weight.
Note that there’s a substantial difference in optimal nutrition during exercise and in recovery nutrition in camp afterwards. Lots more detail on wilderness performance nutrition (and lightweight tactics, too) in The Mountaineering Handbook, McGraw-Hill 2005; $13 at Amazon.Jul 9, 2005 at 3:33 am #1338804
Thanks for electrolyte references and caloric formula. I will be checking them out.
Just returned from 5 days going to 10k’ in Death Valley Park and then to Ansel Adams Wilderness in Sierra Nevada with nephew.
Ate about 2500 Cal/day: 2 hot chocolate powder dumped in mouth, 2 Clif bars, 6fl.oz lite olive oil and 4oz teryaki beef jerky. By spreading out meal, saving a bit for pre-sleep belly filler and staying active and getting tired at night I kept hunger pains mostly at bay.
Instead of Gatorade I used Lite salt and Crystal Lite Lemonade with aspertame (Equal). Worked well and is vastly less bulky and heavy than Gatorade. My next move will be to get Equal in quantity, salt and unsweetened Koolade (much cheaper than sugar free Crystal Lite, but ghastly without a sweetener. Ironic that I would take a Calorie-free drink with me so that I can carry more calories-don’t you think?
I will work on a recipe and field test it and report back.
Now if I could get that oil to taste palatable…that would be a major break-through.Aug 27, 2005 at 11:27 am #1340977Rob McraeMember
@emptymanLocale: the other, big Ontario
Alan, you may want to look into unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil. Against popular belief, this is a highly assimilable oil that is very healthy, and is saturated, which means among other things that you are getting lots of calories from it. It stores well, is solid at room temp, and is usable in many ways. Check it out. And by the way, never mind the enduro team- you are inspiring yourself!
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