View Full Version : Adding calories

10-26-2002, 08:54
A thought occured to me this morning (okay, I read about this on another site) about how to add calories to a long distance diet. How about using a body-building or weight gain supplement like you can buy from GNC, etc? I'm thinking of those cans with pictures of muscle bound models on the front that promise to bulk you up. It started me thinking about tossing a bag of this stuff in to a few resupply boxes. Has any one tried this, either while hiking or for working out?

SGT Rock
10-26-2002, 11:54
Extra expensive and probably not worth the taste. I'll sticek to olive oil for extra calories.

I think the body builders are using protine supplements - proabably a bad idea to add too much protine to your diet while hiking, just make sure you get enough.

10-26-2002, 12:58
The calories hikers need and the calories muscle heads need are entirely different. You can get all the protein you need from nuts, legumes and the dehydrated meats that many carry. Protein also burns slower and stays in the system longer than carbs and even fat in a person who is doing extensive cardio vascular excercise as opposed to short bursts of strenuous lifting. Thus you may be able to get alot of the protein you need on town stops and zero days. Too much protein combined with the level of cardio required for long distance hiking can lead to health problems, like kidney stones, which brought me off the trail in 00'.
Calories from carbohydrates are the most important to hikers, because those are the most immediate fuel the body burns. Complex sugars are the best type of carbohydrate for an active diet, they provide immediate fuel for excercise. You can get your complex sugars from fruits and vegetables, as well as breads, grains and potatoes.

For these reasons I'm going to using fewer peanuts and almonds in my gorp and adding some granola and rolled or honeyed oats. Be well.

10-26-2002, 13:47
I was thinking that one could use the powdered stuff like TVP. Just spinkle some into thing like Lipton's, etc, to make it a bit stiffer. For hiking, I've found that carbs. do exactly as advertised. They burn quickly and hot, but not for very long. Protein also behaves as advertised. It burns lower and longer. I found that I needed to up the protein intake on my hike. Either that or I had to eat almost constantly, which some people don't mind. For example, if I were to have a sleave of poptarts in the morning, I would have to eat again after an hour. If I were to have a handfull of roasted almonds or brazil nuts, etc, then I could go for two or more hours before needing to eat.

10-26-2002, 14:23
i tend to agree with chris on this one. carbs are great for the quick energy, but i also want something to stick with me. in 2000, i drank a quart of powdered milk every morning. it's light, cheap, great with lipton noodles and gave me the fill, protien and extra calories i needed. i don't think the nutritionists understand the empty stomach feeling is just as demoralizing as the lack of energy.

10-26-2002, 14:35
The simple sugars you recieve from pop tarts, little debbies and the like are mostly refined and heavily processed sugars which break down and burn very fast indeed, normally supplying only a sugar rush as opposed to an extended fuel cell that we as hikers need. Like trying to cook with burning newspaper. If you were to supplement the handful of nuts with some dried fruits, or homemade fruit roll ups/bars, I think you would find your energy far exceeding what you were getting with packaged snacks.
I'm not knocking pop tarts or little debbies, I eat them both by the boxful while hiking, but I don't try to make a meal of either of them. I normally eat them while hiking or on breaks and while filtering/treating water.

I'm not a nutritionist, so my opinions are just what I've learned from having to guide my diet around severe food allergies, athsma, kidney stones and Bipolar disorder, all of which are effected by proper or improper eating habits.

SGT Rock
10-26-2002, 16:00
Agreed, ya'll may think you giving yourself lots of callories by adding stuff like pop-tarts, but is actually more simple sugars. More complex carbohydrates are what you are looking for. Stuff like whole grain breads and cereals, rices, etc. A lot of processed flour with sugar frosting may have callories, but is gives you a sugar rush which your body will couteract with a raise in insulin - eventually leading to a crash when the sugar is out of your blood and the insulin is still high. If you combine this with partial dehydration (and what hiker hasn't experienced that) you can get VERY SICK, like catching a stomach bug.

Protien does add callories, but it is more for building the muscle and maintaining the muscle weight in your body weight. Too much protien and you get kidney stones, or at lest that was the theory I got from the PA last year when I had my bout with kidney stones. Especially when you combine it with activity that dehydrates you - like hiking. Before you say you drink a lot of water to flush it, which you may, this just adds strain to your kidneys.

OK, I admit I like pudding, so what I do is mix a little sweet stuff through the day, and have all my sweets at night after dinner. A little while later I don't mind the crash.

Now here is a reccomendation, read this article: http://www.frc.mass.edu/bbraate/packlite/index.htm, it is PACK LIGHT, EAT RIGHTę by B. Braaten, Ph.D., R.D. It has a lot of sections and can be a complex, boring article. But it boils down to what I just said, and adds a point I never thought I would hear but had come to the same conclusion: eat more fats!

10-26-2002, 17:26
Thanks Firs Sarnt! I've been trying to compile all this info for my web-site on my own and it's been eluding me. That link was exactly what I needed to get over the nutritional planning plateu that I'de hit.

Senor Quack
10-27-2002, 02:33
"Complex" carbohydrates aren't all that complex to your body - They are broken down just as fast as refined carbs. Whole wheat bread and grains, while certainly more nutritious, really create the same huge insulin response as sugars, because they are ground so fine at the mill by machinery. The insulin response from eating a baked potato is the same as eating 1/4 cup of sugar. The actual chemical reaction that the body initiates to break down these complex carbs is a very simple one and is, as I understand, pretty much instantaneous. If we were living back in the 1800's, grains would be a lot more healthful, because the mills were less precise and efficient. Your body would spend several hours breaking down what were sometimes millimeter-sized grain particles. No longer!

Those thinking fruits are somehow healthier than sugar are also mistaken: Fructose, the sugar most prevalent in fruit, is the same sweetener used in the vast majority of candies and soda. It causes an immense insulin response after ingestion and should be consumed in limited amounts. Otherwise, you could become increasingly immune to your body's own insulin - an increasingly prevalent and serious medical condition known as Type II Diabetes.

Those wanting more information should take a peek at Micheal and Mary Eades' book, Protein Power Lifeplan

The Hog
10-27-2002, 09:15
The whole food debate is incredibly complicated, and the deeper you delve, the more complex it becomes (including some very heavy biochemistry and metabolism that few people have time for). Clearly, everybody's metabolism is somewhat different; what works for some people doesn't work for others. On the other hand, there are some general, common sense ideas that can be helpful to everyone.
First, sugar (sucrose) is a recent addition to our diet; it has only been around for a couple of hundred years. Evolution has not had time to prepare our bodies (in particular, the pancreas) for huge spikes in blood sugar. Most nutrition experts would agree that the best way to keep your blood sugar on an even keel is to severely restrict your intake of added sugars of any kind (sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, whatever) because your body was not made to handle this stuff in any quantity. Relying on protein alone to stabilize your blood sugar is also a mistake, partly because the nitrogenous wastes that result from the breakdown of proteins have to be excreted. You can do a number on your kidneys on an ultra high protein diet.
What DOES make sense is to eat small to moderate amounts of proteins, along with plenty of complex carbohydrates (preferably whole grains, milled coarsely, if possible), loads of fruits and vegetables, and a small amount of fat (canola or olive oil, along with some fish oil). On the trail, this translates to rice, bulgur, pasta, dried bean powder, FD beef and chicken, dehydrated veggies, dehydrated fruit, vegetable oil, and hey, whatever else floats your boat!
Because, frankly, on the trail, you're burning calories at such a high rate that most people can probably get away with NOT being a dietary perfectionist. I mean, the food police don't have a place out on the trail - it's nice to have some goodies, and part of "hike your own hike" is eating whatever the heck you want to and closing your ears to food lectures.

SGT Rock
10-27-2002, 12:04
The Hog is right on, different people's metabolism react differently. I know of (not directly know) a guy that has kidney stones constantly and is only in his 30's. I cannot directly confirm it, but he was supposedly a weight lifting junky that did a lot of that crazy bulking up using protien supplements and has wrecked his kidneys.

And on another point with Senior Quack - fruits still give you fibers, something simple sugars won't do. I wouldn't ever reccomend a lot of fruit because of peoblems wtish sugar overload, but I would reccomend anytime someone wants sugars to use fruit over simple candy.

As to potato doing the same thing as sugars - again you are on target. If I eat mashed potatoes at lunch, I get a sugar crash and need a nap about 30 minutes to an hour later on the trail. But eating them at bed time help me to fall right to sleep.

But on the other end of it, excess protien diets are dangerous, especially if you are doing something athletic. I've had a bout with kidney stones and now try to ensure I don't overload my system with them. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram of protien for every KG of body weight.

At the time of my kidney stones I was going through Air Assault School and was eating extra protien regularly and going through over a gallon of water a day, a few weeks later I'm flat on my back in the worst pain I've ever felt. The nurse said if she had to pick between childbirth again, or kidneystones again, she would go through childbirth. I'm pretty dang healthy and have a high metabolism and I got knocked in the dirt by them. At the time I was doing 12 miles with an FSO weight of about 50 pounds in 3 hours or less. After they hit I couldn't run, ruck, or do much exercise with a lot of lower back pain like bad muscle cramps. It took me a couple of months to get past that completly.

But again, don't get me wrong. I think too many hikers are probably protien defficient. Too little protien leads to break down in muscle and loss of muscle mass, as well as problems with tendons and ligaments. I took my standard diet and read every lable for protien content and found I was lacking by about 30 grams and adjusted my diet to get it on target. I think what I have been trying to tell everyone is excess in protien, as with sugars, is a bad thing.

01-31-2003, 19:28
I made a nice breakfast shake from whey protien, carbohydrate powder, nestles quick and powdered whole milk. It gives a nice sustained energy boost and feels fairly substantial in the stomach combined with a couple of breakfast bars or oatmeal. I have a couple of eight ounce shakes a day and find them tasty and superior to Carnation and such!

01-31-2003, 19:46
Ive talked to many bodybuilders and weightlifters and most of em said the weight gain powders are pretty much garbage. Like cheif said the powdered milk is light and packs alot of nutrition! also if you can find powdered eggs just mix a little into the milk for extra protein. Also ive tried a trick Sgt Rock posted on his site awhile back,adding mashed potato flakes to ramen noodles. man that was like eating a steak!!! Stuck to my ribs but good !! Your body can only assimilate(sp?) a small amount of protien at a given meal so most is waste anyway . Eat a 8 oz steak and you will only get a few grams(or something to that affect) of protein from it. Same with the powdered stuff <<<<<<why does it keep doing that??lol Streamweaver

Senor Quack
01-31-2003, 20:10
Ramen Noodles (and most processed foods) are a big no-no, my friend: Trans-fats do all sorts of strange things to your body:


02-01-2003, 01:54
He say-She say!

07-26-2003, 21:04
planning on doing the trail in the next few years. i do some day hiking occasionally. this is probably stating the obvious, but ive found that desert works so well because it gives my body a little boost while i break down all the heavy stuff that i just ate and the "crash" is kept to a minimum.

first post, hi everybody

07-28-2003, 10:34

Check out the articles on this website for food intake and calories!


11-09-2003, 00:11
At 240 cal/Oz olive oil is cal to wt ratio the best you can do. However, do not try to live on just olive oil, you will, , , , Lets just say you will be very very very clean inside after about mid day of day 2 :D
I add about 2 Oz to dinner at the end of the day. On very cold days I'll add 3 Oz, but I make sure I also eat some bread to (My theory) absorb some of the oil for a slower release.



12-31-2003, 03:39
I use a protien drink mix by Herbalife It is all natural and i either take powdered whole milk or just mix w/ H2o. It is really good and isn't expensive. Comes in 3 or 4 flavors I think too. I'm not pluggin this stuff just replyin and sayin it works for me. Some times I have a big shake for breakfast w/ poptarts and later for linch just a shake, they are filling and keep me energized. Takein care of yourself and takin your supplements always help too>>>>