Author Topic: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring  (Read 4417 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline iwstamp

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2013, 04:49:59 am »

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...

Um, do a little reading and get back to me...

Offline aggie

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2013, 10:29:07 am »
Um, basic biology.  Cells use ATP as the energy source of all cell functions.  ATP is generated by converting glucose (carbohydrate).  Lipids (fats) contain long carbohydrate chains.  Glycogen is stored in the liver and is used to provide energy during endurance activities is converted to glucose and inserted into the blood stream for delivery to cells.  Bad science and wishful thinking don't change basic biology. 

Offline hyegeek

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2013, 10:30:51 am »
Um, I think you must have been absent that day...

You may be suffering under this common misconception about carbs due to confusing carbs and glucose. You do need glucose to survive. your body can manufacture glucose from protein, so you don't need to eat carbs to get what you need. That's not to say the best diet has no carbs, it's just that our amazing bodies can get what we need to survive without them.

This is great news for people (like me) who no longer tolerate many carbs, I can eat ignore much of the common wisdom on fueling bike rides (and other sports) and do quite well without harming my body with the sugars and starches.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2013, 09:48:11 pm »
Um, I think you must have been absent that day...

You may be suffering under this common misconception about carbs due to confusing carbs and glucose. You do need glucose to survive. your body can manufacture glucose from protein, so you don't need to eat carbs to get what you need. That's not to say the best diet has no carbs, it's just that our amazing bodies can get what we need to survive without them.

This is great news for people (like me) who no longer tolerate many carbs, I can eat ignore much of the common wisdom on fueling bike rides (and other sports) and do quite well without harming my body with the sugars and starches.

So many half-truths to sell products on the internet...after all, if it's on the internet, it MUST be true.

Glucose, sucrose, fructose, sugar, starch, etc are ALL carbohydrates, no matter the source. They are all digested into the simplest form and absorbed into the bloodstream. The only thing that really changes is the timing from ingestion to absorption. This may have a differential effect on the blood sugar levels of those with type 2 diabetes mellitus, depending on whose research you subscribe to. The body of evidence is currently equivocal on that topic.

Yes, our bodies, under extreme conditions, do catabolize protein in a way that ultimately can generate glucose. This DOES NOT, however, happen directly from the protein in your meal. Those proteins are digested into their building blocks, just like complex carbohydrates, amino acids. At that point, the amino acids are delivered to where the body deems them most needed. The proteins catabolized and ultimately converted to glucose primarily come from the stored form of amino acids (proteins)...skeletal MUSCLE. As an active cyclist, this sounds like a rather poor choice.

We are all free to choose what ever diet we want, based on food availability and our willingness to carry other options. The nutritional guidelines published and supported by science are constantly being reevaluated based on current knowledge. These guidelines do change over time as our understanding of biochemistry, nutrition, exercise physiology (my background) and other specialties evolves.

I applaud everyone for finding what works for them but worry when basic science gets twisted beyond its intended purpose and develops into something else. Unfortunately, this too often occurs when some book, product or next best diet solution is being marketed.

Enjoy the ride,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline hyegeek

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2013, 10:30:50 am »
Glucose, sucrose, fructose, sugar, starch, etc are ALL carbohydrates, no matter the source. They are all digested into the simplest form and absorbed into the bloodstream.

This is certainly true, but my point was that you do not need to ingest any of the above to survive. I'm in no way saying not taking in any carbs optimal, you will be far better off with a balanced diet than with anything extreme. That said, the point still stands that you do not need to ingest carbs to survive. For that matter, you do not need to ingest very many carbs to do well while biking. This is in stark contrast to most information on the internet (so it must be true ;) ) about fueling bike rides.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2013, 01:47:50 pm »
I went on the Pritikin rapid weight loss diet before starting my first long tour in 1984. I was muscled up pretty well at 210 pounds. I went to 172 pounds in six weeks. I stuck to the diet 100%. Of course, I did a lot of exercise too. I found my optimum weight at 180 pounds below which there was an uncomfortable loss of strength. The weight loss was too rapid.

What I discovered for myself way back then was it was difficult keeping up enough energy on fruits and vegetables to cycle across the USA.  The thing was to try and get fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible, and to get other sources of energy. I use Cytomax for extra fuel. One problem is you might spend days in areas where only or mostly only convenience store food is available. Pizza, fried chicken, and potato logs will keep you going, but some stores do not have even that. Bologna sandwiches and potato chips and beer aren't the best fuel. IMO you must cycle with the low carb diet and work it out for yourself. Cycling around town and on short trips and cycling across a continent and camping are very different matters where energy needs are the subjects for consideration. You must keep maintain your energy or it can become an unpleasant drain.

The difference between cycling around town and on day trips, and cycling across the continent is like the difference between sailing a boat around the river and harbor, and sailing across an ocean. It's a different world.

Offline iwstamp

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2014, 11:28:52 am »
Thanks World Traveler (7 months late, sorry!). I agree. I feel that my body is "fat adapted" at this point. I can ride 6 or 7 hours with nothing but water (and some sodium). I eat less than 40 g of carbs per day and only eat in a four hour window. So, during the day won't be an issue....but finding high-fat quality foods without sugar or grains will be a problem. I will be taking some multi-day trips this spring.. we'll see how it goes! I suppose I could have a nice steak and salad every night...but that would be too expensive!

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2014, 01:07:24 am »
I missed this thread when it was active, but since then I was diagnosed with borderline type II I have been managing an active lifestyle with a fasting BGL of <100 through eliminating grains and eating 100-150 g carbs/day - that's 400-600 calories from carbs per day.  I eat lots of peanut butter, chicken, canned salmon, eggs, bacon, sausage: whatever good quality protein and fat I can find.  I fill up on vegetables, other than the starchy kind, but avoid fruit.  I have trouble keeping weight on when exercising continuously, but as long as I can maintain my BMI over 20, there's no health impact.

Frankly, I don't understand the resistance of "experts" to managing diabetes through carb minimization.  Even Diabetes magazine regularly publishes recipes with pasta.  Eliminating carbs would be ideal, of course, but that's impractical.  And cholesterol and triglycerides need to be in range too.  If one's body can't adapt, metformin with more carbs is better than statins with fewer carbs.  The former might be the answer when cycle touring.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline windrath

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2014, 05:18:15 pm »
iwstamp -

10 years ago I rode across the country with a guy who only ate salads.  We were riding about 100 miles per day with a day off each week.

He was a basket case by the end of 9 weeks.

Regardless of what others have posted - the primary fuel source for the brain is carbohydrate.  As a competitive athlete for the past 40 years plus the riding, the optimal fuel mix for athletes as been (40 % (carbs), 30% (pro) and 30% (fat).  The study was done on world class aerobic swimmers.

Just keep these things in mind.

Windrath

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2014, 07:08:30 pm »
iwstamp -

10 years ago I rode across the country with a guy who only ate salads.  We were riding about 100 miles per day with a day off each week.

He was a basket case by the end of 9 weeks.

Regardless of what others have posted - the primary fuel source for the brain is carbohydrate.  As a competitive athlete for the past 40 years plus the riding, the optimal fuel mix for athletes as been (40 % (carbs), 30% (pro) and 30% (fat).  The study was done on world class aerobic swimmers.

Just keep these things in mind.

Windrath

Yes, but the OP is not purporting to be an athlete, he is trying to manage his blood glucose levels with diet.  I think all will agree that it is difficult to imagine how someone could ride touring mileage without consuming carbohydrates, but the issue for the OP is managing consumption vs expenditure with a body that doesn't manage blood glucose in a optimal fashion.  OP could have one or more of several problems that cause the symptom of continuously elevated blood glucose which is chronically toxic, i.e. diabetes.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline rondickinson

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2014, 10:59:20 am »
I'm leaving on the Transamerica Mid May.

I'm a work-a-holic CPA and have to admit I eat terrible most of the time.
Thus I'm over-weight at 224.  6 foot.
However I exercise and ride a lot.

I rode through November until winter hit hard, exercised in a local club through Feb, then work has consumed me.
I'm out of shape again but did ride 100 miles in March, and hope to get a few hundred in before we leave.
I will just have to start modest and build into the ride.

So I'm hoping this 10-12 week venture will be a chance to lose 20+ lbs, by eating better and riding. 
So my plan right now is to boil some eggs for the AM when we get up.  Hit grocery stores for vegs and fruit.
Nutella and bread for backup.
Eat some solid food during the day, but try to avoid C-store and fast food crap.

Any hints or guidance ?

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2014, 01:25:59 pm »
Any hints or guidance ?

Your issue will be to fuel yourself to avoid bonking and to manage hunger.

Simple carbs cause a spike in blood glucose, which, if you don't have a sugar metabolism problem, is burned by the muscles and brain or absorbed into muscles and liver to replenish glycogen (a complex carb that is burned when blood glucose needs a top-off).  One important reason for carb cravings is when this spike goes away, especially when it goes away quickly, the brain perceives this precipitous drop in blood glucose to be never-ending and forces you (through secretion of the hormone lutein) to get your blood sugar back up.  For most people, this craving is far too strong to resist.

The way to avoid this is to shun simple carbs (anything with sugar: HFCS, fruit juice, etc.) and instead eat more protein (canned fish is my favorite) and unsaturated fat (vegetable oils: avocados, etc.).  Complex carbs will come along for the ride when you eat veggies and beans (avoid corn, squash, potatoes, and any grains, whole or otherwise) and, frankly, some simple carbs will find you in dairy etc.

It is entirely realistic to lose 2 lbs a week cycle touring and eating appropriately.  You won't bonk and you won't be hungry if you follow the rules.  If you eat a candy bar or whatever, you will cause a craving for more and you will undo what you'd have already accomplished.  Sugar is like crack.   

Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2014, 10:53:05 pm »
iwstamp -
As a competitive athlete for the past 40 years plus the riding, the optimal fuel mix for athletes as been (40 % (carbs), 30% (pro) and 30% (fat).  The study was done on world class aerobic swimmers.
Windrath

Ah, Barry Sears, PhD: The Zone. Fascinating stuff. Tweak that to ready 40% low glycemic carbs; 30% low fat, high quality proteins; and 30% good-for-you fats. A Zone nutrition plan (not a diet) confronts the participant (not the dieter) with mountains of delicious and wholesome foods. Hard to get it all down but there's a wide variety of superb meals available easily assembled form a huge list of acceptable and readily available ingredients.

Much of Sears' research and findings are being repackaged these days. Science and biology, of course, have marched on and there are new theories all the time. Pick a guru and test your nutrition plan for several months before you attempt to ride across the country. Stay flexible. Be adaptable. Try to make foods that allow you to enjoy what you must eat.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline dayjack119

  • Road Warrior
  • ****
  • Posts: 30
  • 2014 PacificNW@70 Solo Bicycle Tour
Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2014, 06:59:34 pm »
I tend to do 4,000 miles or more on tour each year and feel that it's unnecessary to worry about intake, whatever it is.  My body is the result of thousands of years of evolution and it efficiently converts anything I put into my mouth into energy when I'm burning so many calories.  I stay in host homes most of the time and certainly will not be picky about their generosity.  I lose a half pound a day no matter how much I eat on tour so that's okay with me.  I'm 70 and don't waste my time left on silliness.  I recommend the same with you.

Offline zerodish

Re: Low Carb and Long Distance Touring
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2014, 06:27:43 pm »
I did 150 miles last year at age 53 eating only 4 eggs hash browns and coffee with cream for breakfast then 3 Jumex juices at the end. In 2007 I did 2226 miles in 22 days and lost 3 inches from my legs. This quickly came back when the tour was over. When it gets really hot I will drink soda with ice and generally stop eating altogether when the temp is in the 100's Energy drinks work for me when I'm not riding and now days I look for these in the fountains in gas stations. 7 11 has full throttle twisted which uses ribose sugar which has a negative glycemic index. Essently this is not carbs at all but burns more like fat.