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  1. #41

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    With all due respect I do not believe this to be correct.

    It's easy to determine what your fat burning zone is by doing a VO2max test eg with a CardioCoach. When your body consumes oxygen it's aerobic burning fat which is easily measured using a mask on a treadmill. Anaerobic exercise is all sugar burning. In long distance triathlon we train heavily to increase our base aerobic thershold to burn fat.

    The science of fat people vs not fat people has many factors but you can't argue with hard science eg how is your body operating and doing with the oxygen or running without oxygen intake but putting out more watts on the bike or treadmill.

    Even Ted Naiman really says the same thing as everyone agrees you burn 1) glycogen first 2) sugar next ALWAYS when anaerobic because there's not enough time for your body to get enough oxygen to burn fat. So the theory is you need to train to burn fat by doing long bouts of low intensity exercise. This actually is NOT necessary because there is always a period when your body could be burning fat eg when you are sleeping or sitting around doing nothing (your BMR). It's pretty well understood if you have sugar available, you will burn it first and if it's not needed, your body will release insulin and then it converts it to fat. If you burn all your glycogen and all the sugar then your body has no choice but to burn fat. People think you lose muscle mass but this is also not correct. You burn glycogen which is stored in your muscles and you lose 3 grams of water for 1 gram of glycogen so lose a lot of water weight but this all stops after you burned that 2000 calories. You hit the wall, slow down/stop and you are now burning fat because you have nothing else to burn. Until all your fat is gone does your body start breaking down protein in your muscles but you're consuming 60 grams of protein anyway to replenish and prevent this from happening.

    You might be more hungry and therefore eat more and therefore not lose weight or burn fat but if all you eat is powdered whey protein and gatorade endurance as I propose you have choice because there is nothing else available to snack on besides dirt. I guarantee anyone that sticks to the 720 calorie diet of 50 carb/50 protein while travelling 25 miles a day will lose fat. Again you have no fridge to run to as the only thing in your pack is powdered protein and sugar so perhaps you're miserable but you will survive and you will burn your fat reserves.

    I calculate I can carry an entire's day worth of food (3 whey protein, 2 gatorade endurance) in 208grams including packaging. That's 3.2 lbs of food for an entire 7 days which is hard to beat.

    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Interesting discussion, but you have to consider that the calculations of fat lbs burned while eating sugar and carbs is unrealistic. The body's first reaction to simple carb ingestion is to turn off fat burning. You are running mostly as a sugar burner. This is your typical AT hiker. Plus, there is an adaptation period required for your body to build the machinery to be a fat burner (ketone producer). That takes a few weeks of low-carb diet minimum. Six months is better.

    Dr Ted Naiman explains all this very well. Basically sugar turns off fat burning. This is why so many marathon runners (and perhaps long distance hikers) are over-fat, and simplistic math calculations of fat loss just don't work (I ran over 70 ultramarathons and marathons yet remained at 25% body fat, also moved towards prediabetes). It also explains the ravenous hiker hunger experienced by the carb burners (but not ketogenic dieters). I would argue that a protein/fat-based ketogenic diet is ancestral and primal, and our bodies are not properly adapted to predominantly carb and sugar burning. OK there are exceptions, maybe 10% of population can get away with it. But the rest of us eventually get ill.

    I would also add that vegetable based proteins are not as bioavailable as animal proteins. Most are 50% or less, whereas egg or beef is 90-100%. So pea protein concoctions are not what you think they are...
    Last edited by mountainguy; 06-15-2019 at 02:30.

  2. #42

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    After reading this article it summarizes what I believe is fundamentally wrong with most diet strategies: they rely on story telling and not science.

    Large scale long term studies are difficult because they rely on surveys. Even medically supervised diets unless the patients are on an island or prisioners it's extraordinarily difficult to have any kind of accuracy.

    Scientific understanding is driven by modern techniques of measurements and physics. Elite athletes make huge sacrifices to win and will eat dirt if you told them to (and take banned drugs even if you don't tell them to).

    Anyway, the point is ironman nutrional strategy is pretty well understood. Wearing an oxygen analysis mask you can figure out how many calories you're burning and you can feel when you hit the wall and how you can push that wall by eating while on the move. Eating more doesn't make a difference at some point and that's how much your body can process. Measurement of lactate levels in your blood is also done for elite athletes so they know their body and what they can eat and what they can process so they know how hard to push watching the power and heart meter. Push too hard even if you know you can do it is foolish as you will hit the wall and not be able to recover and lose the race so discipline is important until the last sprint at the end.

    Long term whether or not it's good for you is debateable and I don't have answers for that but knowing your body burns fat and sugar and converts fat into sugar when it runs out as long as it's not high intensity is well known.

    When you sleep obviously that's lowest intensity and if you have no sugar left your body will get the energy from fat. This is also easily understood and measured over a week's time calculating exact intake and exact fat loss through DEXA.

    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    Here is an article you might find interesting. https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...er-really-eat/

  3. #43

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    Sounds great,as long as your hiking goal is only speed. Enjoy! Personally,I hike to enjoy nature,and time spent with my son/hiking partner. Food is part of that experience. I imagine I could really cut weight by hiking naked and survive with only a steripen for water. But I have not been sentenced to hike by a judge,I hike because I like it. Even if that means I have to carry food. I truly hope you enjoy your experience,I know I have enjoyed hiking with food. Lots of food...

  4. #44

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    Yes it is a carefully planned caloric deficit. I do not believe any nutritional deficits eg you have enough protein and vitamins from the multivitamin so the only things you are missing from a normal FDA recommended diet is fiber and fat. If you consume a large amount of sugar then your blood sugar will spike as your body inserts insulin to convert it into fat since it's too much to use. That's why I'm suggesting you only eat 100 calories an hr and 320 calories a day total from sugar assuming you are hiking/running during this time then your body will consume ALL of it and you will not have any increase in insulin as there's nothing left to convert to fat. Eating the sugar is actually to prevent the crash because your muscles only hold 2000 calories of glycogen so the point is to supplement with the extra 320 calories so you can go just a bit further.

    People have problems with high carb diets when they sit around doing nothing. If you are consuming simple sugars WHILE exercising at high intensity all it does in theory is prolong the time before you hit the wall as sugar is available to your muscles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    At 720 daily cals doing 25's you're daily running a caloric and, based on your food thoughts, an overall wider nutritional deficit. Three days is short term compared to 2-3 wks. It will likely catch up to your energy and wider nutritional requirements...particularly blaring is that you're attempting this expecting simple sugars in Gatorade Endurance to meet immediate energy needs which will also result in quick and steep energy crashes. I may have missed something relevant to your case because I didn't read every post.

  5. #45

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    After reading this article it summarizes what I believe is fundamentally wrong with most diet strategies: they rely on story telling and not science.

    LOL. I enjoyed that. We're always being told stories. We in turn tell our stories. BS is rampant.

    Science can be defined as stories too! There is no one science story that is always "science right." I'm a scientists. Some Scientism devotees refer to science as if it's one thing or it is approached in one universal empirical "truthful" way. What is defined as science is far from always universally agreed upon. There is no science without scientists. Scientists are fallible non omnipotent non omniscient open to being disagreeable people not devoid of emotion or ego holding different degrees of powerful influence within various scientific circles. Even among medical science culture plays a significant role in
    how it's approached and what's defined as "scientific truth." A prime example being eastern verses western medical systemic approaches. Brother is a cardiologists and Ph.D Nutritionist. He's constantly amending his nutritional approaches despite relating he's finally found the nutritional Holy Grail every 2 yrs. He's not always building upon previous nutritional knowledge either. He's been known to throw out virtually entirely what he previous assumed was nutritional science correct/infallible as if it was ever based on an absolute understanding.

    Running a daily caloric deficit of the magnitude you're suggesting for 2-3 wks is going to have affects on performance metrics unless you do something like perhaps supplement in town frequently enough.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    ...........Running a daily caloric deficit of the magnitude you're suggesting for 2-3 wks is going to have affects on performance metrics unless you do something like perhaps supplement in town frequently enough.
    Besides the physical performance effects, I have been wondering how mentally sharp a person would be on so few calories over a long period of time. When I don't eat enough my mental abilities suffer. I get more easily confused and it's harder to make good decisions.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  7. #47

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    Correlation does not imply causation is the key idea here.

    Just because it might "work" does not give you any better understanding and that's not science.

    The body is obviously complex and we don't have all the answers but some things are just well understood. MRI machines are a prime example of medical science in my mind. MRI is based on quantum physics and spin along with superconducting magnets cooled by liquid helium which only through advanced understanding of physics were they able to build. After they built the MRI they could see things inside the body and watched reactions.

    Very people are published in Nature or Nature Medicine. Very few people win a nobel prize in medicine. Argueably those that are have better stories to tell.

    Back to the argument, I'm not saying you're going to win the olympics on a diet of 720 calories a day.

    What I'm saying is that I believe you can balance weight you can carry with an expected level of performance eg on a mountain there is no town to stop at but you would come down from high camps after a week down to base camp.

    I can already concede you cannot operate above aerobic threshold the entire time but what I'm saying is that you should be able to operate close to ironman performance levels (eg balance of fat burning and sugar burning) by eating only sugar at the rate of 100 calories an hour or so which is the maximum your body can process during the exertion effort while taking electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Following that you will eat the 360 calories / 60g of protein to recover during rest. Nutrients are supplied by lightweight multivitamin.

    What causes you to not perform optimally are things you observe:
    -when you sweat you lose electrolytes and primarily sodium which can be analyzed through your volume of sweat and it's composition can be analyzed through mass spectrometry; therefore, it makes sense you need to replenish these through the day
    -VO2max along with lactate testing analyzes rate of oxygen consumption and you can deduce how many calories you are burning as well as aerobic and anaerobic levels
    -from repeated experiments of pushing the wall in long endurance events like ironman you can study how much glycogen you have and how much you can consume to push that wall
    -FDA requirements of vitamins has been well studied and easily achieved through multivitamins

    I also concede performance is highly mental especially at the highest levels so if you're not happy you might just bonk anyway but the basics of what your body needs before it breaks down is not so hard to understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    After reading this article it summarizes what I believe is fundamentally wrong with most diet strategies: they rely on story telling and not science.

    LOL. I enjoyed that. We're always being told stories. We in turn tell our stories. BS is rampant.

    Science can be defined as stories too! There is no one science story that is always "science right." I'm a scientists. Some Scientism devotees refer to science as if it's one thing or it is approached in one universal empirical "truthful" way. What is defined as science is far from always universally agreed upon. There is no science without scientists. Scientists are fallible non omnipotent non omniscient open to being disagreeable people not devoid of emotion or ego holding different degrees of powerful influence within various scientific circles. Even among medical science culture plays a significant role in
    how it's approached and what's defined as "scientific truth." A prime example being eastern verses western medical systemic approaches. Brother is a cardiologists and Ph.D Nutritionist. He's constantly amending his nutritional approaches despite relating he's finally found the nutritional Holy Grail every 2 yrs. He's not always building upon previous nutritional knowledge either. He's been known to throw out virtually entirely what he previous assumed was nutritional science correct/infallible as if it was ever based on an absolute understanding.

    Running a daily caloric deficit of the magnitude you're suggesting for 2-3 wks is going to have affects on performance metrics unless you do something like perhaps supplement in town frequently enough.

  8. #48
    Garlic
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    I read more and more evidence that highly processed foods are linked to health problems.*

    The OP's proposed trail diet falls into the highly processed food category.

    *I have observed this happening in my lifetime. Just in the last decade, it seems, there are signs above grocery store aisles pointing shoppers to diabetics' supplies. A note to the younger folks: This is not normal.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I read more and more evidence that highly processed foods are linked to health problems.*

    The OP's proposed trail diet falls into the highly processed food category.

    *I have observed this happening in my lifetime. Just in the last decade, it seems, there are signs above grocery store aisles pointing shoppers to diabetics' supplies. A note to the younger folks: This is not normal.
    One of the common factors in diets that can work whether it's Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, whole foods plant based, primal, paleo, raw, Zone, Mediterranean, macrobiotic, glycemic index, keto, whole 30, South Beach, Atkins, McDougalls, Pritiken, low carb, higher good fats, etc etc etc is they remove much if not all the highly processed highly packaged food. It's one of the greatest potential contributors to heading in the 'right' nutritional direction.


    It is because science has taken over modern industrialized food production in the U.S., at least in part, we have a plethora of different, often contrasting dietary approaches. Science has caused many health related problems in the realm of nutritional science. Science does not always give us one clearly understood story but contrasting ones. Pure unadulterated science is a rare breed. Part of the health problems in the U.S. are rooted in the U.S. food production system. And, when govt entities like the FDA and USDA, capable of being lobbied by private companies who influence public nutritional guidelines, these entities can be and absolutely are not the most scientifically objective to rely!

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    Why Gatorade? Is there nothing better?
    Clif Bars?

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainguy View Post
    As an endurance athlete, I've carefully strategized my nutrition during things like Ironman races and I'm thinking of extending it to mountain and hiking expeditions.
    Previously in the Himalaya expeditions, we would carry dehydrated meals and melt snow to eat them but I think these mountain house backpacking meals are not ideal. Consider, a beef stew pouch, it's 190 calories, 22g carbs (3g as fiber), 6g fat, 13g protein with net weight of 49g and a cost of $6. But the bag itself weighs about an once = 28grams. Really you need to eat like 5 of these a day to get enough protein (60g) so it really takes up a lot of weight/volume. 5x190=950 calories
    It's not bad but it takes a lot of room in your pack and I'd say it's kind of messy and the bag is quite heavy with about double the weight. In addition, I believe you do not need any fat nor fiber in short term high exertion times eg on the trail.
    What I propose is an extreme diet which I'm sure I could maintain over a long weekend eg 3 days but will try 2 weeks to 30 days eg time spent in high camp.
    I propose eating ONLY per day a total of 720 calories per day when travelling the equivalent of 25 flat miles/day:
    3 pouches of Gatorade Recover Whey Protein (20g protein in 28g pack, 110 calories) = 360 calories
    2 pouches of Gatorade Endurance (46g carbs in 49g pack, 180 calories) = 360 calories
    1 multivitamin
    These are extremely lightweight and pack down to nothing volume wise. They are immune to heat and require only cold water that can be obtained by melting snow or pumped from the stream.
    In triathlon, it's known that you are able to digest only about 100-200 calories per hour max. At low exertion levels, eg below aerobic threshold, you can burn fat but high exertion levels you burn sugar and primarily the glycogen in your muscles.
    Sipping Gatorade endurance the entire day will provide simple sugars for energy when needed eg during hard climbs. It's unlikely to climb more than 8hrs a day and that I estimate to be 50/50 fat/sugar as unlikely going to be above aerobic threshold. All the fat comes from your body obviously and that's free weight to carry.
    Jogging around at 10 min miles (6mph) an 180 pound person burns about 820 calories/hr. So 25 miles in 4hrs = 3280 calories and add RMR of 1600 calories for a total burn of 4880 calories a day.
    I think most people would only travel about the equivalent of half that eg 12.5 miles and burn only about 1600 calories in exercise and 1600 RMR for about 3200 calories. So you would be burning about 1.2 pounds of fat a day off your body (4160 calories) assuming you're doing the 25miles/day or 0.7 pounds a day of fat if you're doing 12.5 miles/day.
    I believe your protein intake of 60g/day and 720 calories of sugar will keep your glcyogen stores sufficient to not deteriorate. As a bonus you should be burning some decent amount of fat and come back in better shape. 3 days say an average of 3 lbs fat loss or 7 pounds in a week is manageable. 30 days requires 30 lbs of fat which would be pushing it for most people but most people are around 25% body fat so 180lbs = 45 lbs of available fat. If you have close to a visible 6 pack then you probably have 15% body fat which would be 27 lbs available. If you are 10% body fat then you're looking like an extremely lean body builder but still have 18 pounds of available fat you can use and after a week would be down to 11 pounds which is still 6% body fat.Anyway, to see how my body handles it I'll give it a shot for 3 days then move it to a week and see what happens.
    I don’t doubt that an endurance athlete would be able to accomplish what you laid out. But....
    1) Most hikers, especially short duration hikers have nowhere near the fat burning capacity that an endurance athlete will have. Thru hikers will but long duration hikes is beyond the scope you laid out.
    2) There is no question that the lightest food carry needed for FUELING will primarily carbohydrates with just enough protein to keep your body from eating “non-essential” muscles. There is a huge misconception, based on a very good write up on long distance hiking by Brenda Braaten, that short duration hikers doing trips like you describe should take high fat foods. I did this before I learned about endurance fueling and still do on longer duration hikes, but the fat we carry on our body is generally quite sufficient.
    3) I believe your calorie estimate is off a bit for typical mountain hiking. I have found based on tracking meticulously calorie intake on short and long hikes that a person will burn about a calorie per pound per mile. So your 180lb hiker with a 20 pound pack will burn about 5000 calories including BMR. I tend to do higher mileage days than 25 and use this rule of thumb based on 30-35 mile days. I also have a BMR of 2150 which is higher than your example.
    4) I don’t believe for fueling (short term) that the type of carbohydrates make much difference. I have done long days on pure sugar, Whatchacallit bars and my personal favorite Maltodextrin.
    5) I have personally found that I loose about a pound a day while hiking a pure and mostly pure carb diet. I have done this for as long as twelve days. However, as of today I am training for my third marathon of the year and my body fat is down between 9-10% so there is no way I would attempt something like the Colorado trail without doing a higher than average level of calories. Yes, I have about 6 pounds of fat between me and 6% but there is a huge difference between the margin for error with 15% vs. 10 or less.
    6) You lost me when you went to doing this for 30 days. There is virtually no nutritional value for Gatoraid, Sugar or Maltodextrin. On my thru hike I consumed over 1000 calories per day in Malto but I was also eating about 6000 calories total so the other 5000 had at least some nutritional value. I believe that 30 days is way too long to be at a nutritional deficit and a multivitamin is not going to be the magic bullet. nutrition is much more than just fueling.
    7) If you do this for 30 days I would fully expect you to have severe cravings for certain food. After 30 days on the PCT I had massive cravings for meat and salads.
    8) Finally food is more than just fuel. A hot cup of coffee on a cold morning or a warm dinner after a pissing day of rain does much more than just fuel you, it mentally fuels you. That is the problem with any scheme that has someone eating the same thing over and overs for days on end. After a week of whey protein drinks for dinner you may want to hurl. I know I have when I have foolishly tried such things.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  12. #52

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    Gatorade Recover Whey Protein and Gatorade Endurance Powders === a sugar diet.

    I used to buy into Pepsi Co's - one of the sugar water/sweet drink companies - Gatorade marketing as a drink for athletes and endurance. It's mostly sugar!
    Regular Gatorade, the supposed "electrolyte drink" for athletic performance marketed largely to sweaty meat head males, in the 20 fl oz bottle has 140 calories...136 of those calories are sugar. I was not aware dietary sugar was such a required electrolyte in that amount?

    If you're going to go the way of sugar for two wks on trail as the main source of your dietary calories hope you are well experienced regularly consistently metering it out. Even then...??? Elite Tri's and Ultra's dont take that route for that duration as a long term dietary lifestyle. They go back to real food and drink even if it's mostly or all in liquid form post and pre race.


    6) You lost me when you went to doing this for 30 days. There is virtually no nutritional value for Gatoraid, Sugar or Maltodextrin. On my thru hike I consumed over 1000 calories per day in Malto but I was also eating about 6000 calories total so the other 5000 had at least some nutritional value. I believe that 30 days is way too long to be at a nutritional deficit and a multivitamin is not going to be the magic bullet. nutrition is much more than just fueling.
    7) If you do this for 30 days I would fully expect you to have severe cravings for certain food. After 30 days on the PCT I had massive cravings for meat and salads.
    8) Finally food is more than just fuel. A hot cup of coffee on a cold morning or a warm dinner after a pissing day of rain does much more than just fuel you, it mentally fuels you. That is the problem with any scheme that has someone eating the same thing over and overs for days on end. After a week of whey protein drinks for dinner you may want to hurl. I know I have when I have foolishly tried such things.


    This^^^


    That marketing and thought process nutrition is fueling leaving it there is overly simplistic and highly problematic!


    There's no regular daily fiber in your food consumption for long periods(wks) for one that will leave you more prone to blood sugar roller coasting and satiation. Malto supplemented his sugars with real food not solely surviving on mostly dietary sugar for wks. Attempting to fuel with the vast amount of dietary calories coming from sugar can wreck havoc on digestion and micro biome...an emerging increasing interest among medical science researchers and elite international athletes. Gut health has significant consequences on cognitive abilities, immunology, etc.

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