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  1. #21

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    I went from 220lbs to 167lbs hiking from Springer to Waynesboro and I am around 6 feet tall. When I got off the trail I had no body fat left...I was skin and bones from the waist up. But I also found that I didn't get hungry anymore...at least not in the stomach rumbling sense of being hungry. I would just get really tired. I knew it was time to eat when I started running out of energy and couldn't hike anymore...so I was stopping to eat something about every hour. Towards the end I was carrying more "real" food than when I started. It became a lot less about what the food weighed and much more about what I was craving. I was tired of starving and ramen noodles made me sick to the stomach because they were just empty calories and my body wanted more than that.

  2. #22
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    One more thing related to calories needed, satiety, and LD backpacking, and possibly a host of ailments, I must share although this probably will be ignored evident by how little it is discussed and known publicly about it, how often the mainstream medical community ignores it even in doctor patient relations where it could be key to health even prescribing treatments that impair or destroy it , and how many have health issues that can potentially relate to it...the human microbiome - gut flora - microbiota.



    In short, don't ignore your gut flora- the "good bugs." It might even affect how one processes and puts one at risk from the bad bugs like water borne protozoa like Giardia?



    There is mounting interest in how gut flora, including bacteria, virus, and fungi, affect satiation, caloric/nutrient uptake, immunology, diabetes, digestive diseases(IBD, ulcers, acid reflux, Gluten intolerances, Celiac Disease, heartburn,...), potentially obesity,....




    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...ite-180957389/


    https://sciencealert.com/your-gut-ba...-your-appetite


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27616451


    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/38/1/159

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hipbone View Post
    I am 135 lbs and instantly shoot down to sub 130 lbs after 4 days of hiking no matter what.

    I carry 1.35 lbs a day of high quality food which includes dehydrated fruits, mixed nuts, jerky, home-made dehydrated meals etc.

    My food list worksheet is in the Long Trail Forum in a trip report if you're interested...
    one's weight...meaningless.

    one's height...meaningless.

    one's height and weight...meaningful.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hipbone View Post
    I am 135 lbs and instantly shoot down to sub 130 lbs after 4 days of hiking no matter what.

    I carry 1.35 lbs a day of high quality food which includes dehydrated fruits, mixed nuts, jerky, home-made dehydrated meals etc.

    My food list worksheet is in the Long Trail Forum in a trip report if you're interested...
    one's weight...meaningless.

    one's height...meaningless.

    one's height and weight...meaningful.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    one's weight...meaningless.

    one's height...meaningless.

    one's height and weight...meaningful.
    5 ft 6 in
    Meant to include that...

  6. #26
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    How many calories that a hiker burns will vary greatly, based on total weight, pace and to a lessor extent hiking efficiency. How many calories a hiker eats will also vary greatly as you can see from this thread. My best estimate is that hiker burns about 1 calorie per pound per mile. So if you are a 150 lb hiker with a 10 pound average pack hiking 25 miles a day you will likely burn about 4000 calories per day. BUT,
    1) This estimate will breakdown as you go lower and lower miles per day because the fixed BMR will make up a larger portion of the total calories.
    2) While I agree with Dogwood advice on not ignoring nutrition I do view this more like a calorie is a calorie from an energy perspective. I have experimented with all types of fuel even straight sugar, straight malteodextrin etc. metering sugars and carbs in general will eliminate these sugar spikes that many claim will happen. I have yet to experience these issues but I have other issues on really long days with a massive shot of carbs at one time. But nutrition plays a huge role beyond basic fueling.
    3) I not sure where you are hearing that long distance hikers only eat 2000 calories per day. That is not happening except possibly at the beginning before "hiker hunger" kicks in.
    4) On my PCT hike I did primarily food drops and could tell you exactly how many calories were in each and the ratio of carbs/fats/proteins. I was definitely eating on the higher end of the scale usually over 6000 calories per day. But, on the last 1500 miles my weight stayed constant, I took no true zeros, and I hiked over 30 mpd average. Using 33 mpd and 185 lbs total weight puts the total at about 6000 calorie burn.
    5) Another extreme example that dispels the statement that you couldn't continue a thru hiker diet over a longer term is Swami. He did 12 long walks over 18 months with the final three hikes being the AT/PCT/CDT. ( https://www.thehikinglife.com/12-long-walks/ ) His last hike was the AT (I believe he did in 74 days starting SoBo in mid-October) and he may have actually gained weight on that hike. (after seeing him eat I little doubt.) Net, he proves that a balanced hiking diet can be maintained through many consecutive hikes. He also subscribes to nutrition plus fuel that Dogwood was talking.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  7. #27

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    And then there are women, who hike the same miles, carry the same food, but usually lose a lot less weight.

    A couple of other observations: 1) people lose more weight on the AT than on the PCT. I don't know if that's because of heat vs. cold/snow, easier trail (less up and down), or because PCT hikers often have done the AT and learned what food they need. 2) A fair percentage of AT hikers go home in Gorham, completely worn out. A lot of that comes from lack of nutrition. 3) Protein is important. It helps you feel more full, but it also keeps your body from eating up your muscles to get fuel. Many thruhikers lose muscle mass during their hikes. 4. Town food helps, but it can get to be a chore, eating high fat, high calorie all the time. On the CDT I got to really hate french fries and even ice cream because we were practically force feeding by then since DH lost so much weight by Colorado. A salad once a week is not enough to make up for the usual high sugar high fat diet.

  8. #28
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    Intriguing observations Spirit Walker.

  9. #29
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    There is a lengthy article on the importance of a healthy microbiome in the Jan/Feb 2018 edition of Outside mag.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    ....people lose more weight on the AT than on the PCT .
    I am going to put all my money on humidity.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    For most, that 5000-6000 figure is myth. Overweight and badly out of shape guys, maybe, but I bet a buck the actual figure is more like 4000 or so for the average hiker.

    Just one actual data point, similar for my hiking buddies, I carry around 3000 calories (~1.5-1.6 pounds) worth of food per day, eat 95% of that (always some waste), supplement with big meals in town stops, and don't lose weight. I'm 6-1, 185 pounds, for reference. I know these calorie numbers very accurately, due to a thorough book-keeping study some years ago. Folks that don't keep accurate track of what they eat along with subsequent weight gain/loss records, just plain don't know what they burn.

    Online or phone app "calculators" I think are grossly off on the high side.

    Now come the claims of 6000+....

    Well, a basic 8 hour day of hiking for a normal sized guy might burn 4,600 to 6,300 calories: https://www.outdoors.org/articles/am...rn-backpacking


    Then, on top of that, you also burn calories while taking breaks, at camp and while sleeping. If you are hiking 8 hours, that means you are resting/sleeping for 16 hours. The calorie burn for a normal sized guy at rest might be about 70 calories per hour, which would total another 1,100 calories. https://www.livestrong.com/article/2...while-resting/

    So, the idea that we consume a total of ~6,000 calories per day while backpacking doesn't at all strike me as out of whack.

  12. #32
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    "...out of whack" ?? You must be a Naw Yawker or from Jarzee. I feel like I just heard an excerpt from The Sopranos and My Cousin Vinny.

  13. #33
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    The human body burns ~1400 calories in a coma for 24 hours a day. Doesn't take that much activity to burn another 3 or 4 thousand.

  14. #34
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    my first issue with any discussion like this is the normal way of determining "calories" in food has little to do with the ability of that food to transfer usable metabolic energy to the human body

    food is dried, burned and heat creation monitored - modern science could do much better, but so far this marginally useful system is still accepted as valid

    not only does the available energy vs combustion energy of foods vary widely, different bodies and the same body at different times will vary on the ability to extract energy from the same food

    my answer to the questions raised by the OP is there are no valid answers to be had - way too many uncontrolled variables for any info to to considered "scientific"

    my advice: quit worrying about it - eat, hike, rinse, repeat

    if it seems that you are getting to thin/ feeling crappy ---- than just eat more

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    On the CDT I got to really hate french fries and even ice cream
    .
    that is too high of price, maybe I should cross the CDT off my list of things to do

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    my answer to the questions raised by the OP is there are no valid answers to be had - way too many uncontrolled variables for any info to to considered "scientific"
    my advice: quit worrying about it - eat, hike, rinse, repeatif it seems that you are getting to thin/ feeling crappy ---- than just eat more
    that is my approach but was hoping/thinking there may be a "better" approach. But, as I said somewhere above, I cannot distinguish how much of the "drain" I was feeling at the end of my longest hike was under or poor nutrition and how much was due to the effects of Lyme's disease.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    I went from 220lbs to 167lbs hiking from Springer to Waynesboro and I am around 6 feet tall. When I got off the trail I had no body fat left...I was skin and bones from the waist up. But I also found that I didn't get hungry anymore...at least not in the stomach rumbling sense of being hungry. I would just get really tired. I knew it was time to eat when I started running out of energy and couldn't hike anymore...so I was stopping to eat something about every hour. Towards the end I was carrying more "real" food than when I started. It became a lot less about what the food weighed and much more about what I was craving. I was tired of starving and ramen noodles made me sick to the stomach because they were just empty calories and my body wanted more than that.
    Really curious to see what other kind of food supply and intake and what level of daily exertion you were doing.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    I cannot distinguish how much of the "drain" I was feeling at the end of my longest hike was under or poor nutrition and how much was due to the effects of Lyme's disease.
    the treatment for lymes is very hard on the gut microbes, so nothing is working well

  19. #39
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    Be cautious when taking advice on nutrition (including mine!) there are a lot of arm-chair nutritionists and "health and fitness" magazines that are all too eager to publish articles with more or less than same level of scientific rigor as alien abduction stories published in the Enquirer. There is no substitute for personal experience. Your weight and fitness level will both significantly impact your calorie consumption. I would plan on 3-4K calories a day of food that's easy to digest for you and try to make sure that you're working in plenty of protein with the carbs and fats. Depending on your body you'll want at least 50-100g of protein per day and that was very challenging for me personally. It may not be for you. You should be testing food during shake-down hikes! You can change what you're eating along the way based on how you're feeling. Listen to your body!

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    you should get online and study complex and simple carbs . read about how the food is used by your body and what foods are readily available for energy . nuts and granola can take a while for your body to digest and use the energy . in the morning i like to start with a wheat bagel , a huge glob of peanut butter and oatmeal or a knorrs . that usually gets me off with complex and simple carbs that my body can use immediately to kick off a day . it is over a thousand calories or pretty close to it . i try to push 5 to 7 thousand calories a day . i also try to hit a town every couple of days and buy meat and either cook at a hostel or head back for the woods and cook it over a open fire or my stove . i by fresh veggies and carry it with me . it is very important to feed properly if you want to build muscle and have healthy thoughts . practice makes perfect . be creative . peace my friends and hike safely .... Donald " grateful " ballard

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