Author Topic: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring  (Read 5234 times)

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Offline iwstamp

Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« on: July 07, 2013, 12:12:28 pm »
I added this question to an overall health topic but I'd like to give it it's due as a separate post. I'm a dedicated low carbist (no pasta, bread, sugar, glucose, sports drinks, most fruit, etc)... usually less than 40g carbs per day (I also fast intermittently). Never a problem riding many miles and I feel that it actually enhances my athletic performance (fat burning as opposed to sugar burning). I don't mean to get into a discussion regarding the merits or lack thereof of a low carb / paleo lifestyle.. not the proper forum. I am just curious if any low carbists have attempted to stick with their regimen while on a multi-week tour and how they managed to cope?

Thanks!!

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 02:06:07 am »
I have toured while eating a partly low carb diet in SE Asia simply because there was little high carb food available in rural Laos and Vietnam. I lost what little fat I had and more, I felt apathetic and I was told that I looked dreadful and unhealthy which I certainly felt, it is not an experience or diet I would wish to repeat.

Offline iwstamp

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 06:47:15 pm »
I have toured while eating a partly low carb diet in SE Asia simply because there was little high carb food available in rural Laos and Vietnam. I lost what little fat I had and more, I felt apathetic and I was told that I looked dreadful and unhealthy which I certainly felt, it is not an experience or diet I would wish to repeat.

Well, it works for me... I would think that a cross country trip would lend itself to a lot of junk food (not to mention high on carbs).. it is about carbs but think of it as a more Paleo approach. I read many journals on Crazy Guy on a Bike that reference daily visits to McDonalds, Burger King, etc. I can't and won't eat that food... just curious what other options I have.

Offline mmounties

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 10:10:48 pm »
I don't like to eat junk food either.  I haven't toured outside the US, or even outside of California, so please take this comment simply as something to consider.  I'm certainly no expert.  But I generally believe in sensible eating.  Sensible meaning balanced. 

So if I plan on riding all day and do so a number of days in a row, I like to start off well fed and have some fruit or avocado on me plus some granola easily accessible just for the case of.  I don't always eat the granola but I never let the fruit and avocado go to waste.  That said I like to start with a good breakfast (eggs, bacon, the works), fruit during the day, maybe even fruit bars like those made by Kelloggs, key being several small installments so I don't ever hit the wall, and then a sandwich for supper.  If I don't feel like eating the entire sandwich (which happens surprisingly often) and I don't have a hungry camp mate who'll take care of the rest for me, I use the leftovers the next day for one or two (depending on how much I left over the night before) of my lunch installments.  And if I don't feel like a sandwich for dinner there is usually one Mexican food place or another where I can get a burrito made to order and/or a good dose of beans cooked in any variety plus plenty of guacamole.

The one additional thing I do is to have some Gatorade powder with me so I can replenish electrolytes depending on how much I perspired.
-- Tina

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 11:51:07 pm »
Never a problem riding many miles and I feel that it actually enhances my athletic performance (fat burning as opposed to sugar burning).

What are many miles for you?

My standard pace is 125 mi/day. Anything 125-200 mi/day is many miles for me. I would consider it amazing doing 125 mi/day for 30 days without any single rest day on low carb food.

Lucas

Offline iwstamp

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 05:03:06 am »
Never a problem riding many miles and I feel that it actually enhances my athletic performance (fat burning as opposed to sugar burning).

What are many miles for you?

My standard pace is 125 mi/day. Anything 125-200 mi/day is many miles for me. I would consider it amazing doing 125 mi/day for 30 days without any single rest day on low carb food.

Lucas

125? That beats me.. I haven't done an extended tour (more than a few days) I am usually around 70-75 miles per day. Carbs are an unecessary macro nutrient... there is no reason (once keto adapted) that the body could not perform athletically for many many days while burning body fat.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 06:03:15 am »
I weigh 155 pounds and my problem is, that I loose weight too rapidly. Doing 125 mi/day you need approx 5000-10000 kcal pr day (standard everyday person is 2000-2500 pr day). That is SO much energy that basically you need to eat almost all the time. And if you have a blood sugar low - carbs are the only way to rapidly get on top again. My 2 cents.

Lucas

Offline sedges

fine if you get the calories you need
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 10:25:09 am »
Lucas makes the best point.  You may burn up 2000 calories(Kcal)/ day under normal activity.  Touring you will use 5000 or more if you are maintaining 60+ mile/day.  Even exposure to winds and rain burn up huge amounts of calories to keep warm.  You can do a week without an increase in calories, but after that your health will suffer.

If you can increase your calories significantly and stay within your LoCarb guidelines you should be fine.

I have seen lots of AT through-hikers crash and burn because they didn't meet their bodies caloric needs.

Offline hyegeek

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 11:15:18 am »
The great thing about eating low carb with high fat is it is easy to get the calories you need. Fat has a lot of calories.

While I have yet to do a long tour, since my body is trained to burn fat, I find I don't need to eat even on my longer rides. I tend to eat only to keep from feeling hungry, not because I need fuel. My longest ride (144 miles) was done with 5 hard boiled eggs and a handful of nuts.

As stated before, if you are getting enough calories, I would expect there not to be a problem.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 01:55:50 pm »
I still find the topic highly interesting.

Let's assume you are traveling without a stove and you rely on cold food and restaurants (family, fast-food, pizza, subway, whatever that you see on the roadside). You happen to be in the middle of Kansas and you arrive in let's say Tribune, KS in the evening and all stores are closed, so are the restaurants. The 24h gas station is open however. The gas station carries those "normal" gas station foods (probably all packed up). The next morning you want to leave early before the grocery stores open.

What sort of low carb food do you buy for both late dinner and breakfast?

Lucas

Offline hyegeek

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 02:26:08 pm »
Most of those gas stations have coffee. I'd get a breve or make one from what they likely have around. In a pinch, coffee with lots of half and half (instead of cream) can make an OK meal.

I would not want to do this for days on end, but it can work.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 11:50:31 pm »
I always need to askif this low-carb dietary decison is based on a personal medical need, a moral position, personal goal or some whacky pseudo science jumbo jumbo. Like going gluten-free, many practitioners have no clue what the longer term consequences might be or if their bodies can handle the dietary strict ions while placing huge caloric demands on themselves.

Calories come in fats, proteins and carbs. There are good cand bad and less desirable sources for each. But each supplies certain beneficial components, too, along  with the calorie payload.

A good diet satisfies your body's requirements while not oversupplying any calories or junk you don't want or need. That's a serious nutrional regimen, not just a fad diet, and it is arrived at with research and experimentation long before you embark on a tour.

I try to eat in The Zone nutritional plan but I no longer recommend it to anyone. You all arrive at your own dietary plans all on your own. Whatever works is great as long as it works. You cannot slowly starve on a tour and you should know ahead of time what you can tolerate and what foodstuffs will likely be available along your route to stay within your personal guidelines.



I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline hyegeek

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 09:00:02 am »
I do low carb for medical reasons. It is how I'm controlling my blood sugars.

I agree with your statement on what a good diet is. I also believe I've settled on a good one. I get most of my carbs from veggies and the rest from some fruit. In fact, I eat a lot more veggies then I ever did when I was eating a "balanced" diet. What I don't eat are the highly processed carbs (starches and sugar) that make up so much of the food I see around me. Most of my calories come from fat and my body is tuned to burn fat. Now at 49, I have better health and more energy then I did when I was in my 20s.

When I'm out someplace and can't get my preferred foods, I will settle for whatever keeps me going without dumping starches/sugars or other processed carbs into my system. Those will not only raise my blood sugar into a dangerous range, but will have me feeling terrible for several days after eating them. Given the choice, I'd drink a cup of olive oil before I even considered a Twinkie.

Offline iwstamp

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2013, 05:06:05 am »
I do low carb for medical reasons. It is how I'm controlling my blood sugars.

I agree with your statement on what a good diet is. I also believe I've settled on a good one. I get most of my carbs from veggies and the rest from some fruit. In fact, I eat a lot more veggies then I ever did when I was eating a "balanced" diet. What I don't eat are the highly processed carbs (starches and sugar) that make up so much of the food I see around me. Most of my calories come from fat and my body is tuned to burn fat. Now at 49, I have better health and more energy then I did when I was in my 20s.

When I'm out someplace and can't get my preferred foods, I will settle for whatever keeps me going without dumping starches/sugars or other processed carbs into my system. Those will not only raise my blood sugar into a dangerous range, but will have me feeling terrible for several days after eating them. Given the choice, I'd drink a cup of olive oil before I even considered a Twinkie.

I couldn't agree with hyegeek more. Carbohydrates are unnecessary, unlike fats and protein. My experience is similar as well... 50 years old, lost 100lbs by eliminating sugar, grains (most starches) and seed and vegetable oils and lots of biking of course. My protocol is to eat real food... sounds strange but I always eat at home.  Meaning I never eat at restaurants or fast food joints. A long distance tour would present some special challenges for me.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 10:52:40 pm »

I couldn't agree with hyegeek more. Carbohydrates are unnecessary, unlike fats and protein. My experience is similar as well... 50 years old, lost 100lbs by eliminating sugar, grains (most starches) and seed and vegetable oils and lots of biking of course. My protocol is to eat real food... sounds strange but I always eat at home.  Meaning I never eat at restaurants or fast food joints. A long distance tour would present some special challenges for me.

Um, I think you must have been absent that day...
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