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Paleo-like diets and the outdoors
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(tegyn) - F

Locale: Robertson, Australia
Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/05/2008 15:17:37 MST Print View

This thread started because I raised some questions in another post, one of which was about the viability of the Paleo diet in the outdoors, and that question seemed to get most of the attention.

Here is a quote from that thread:

"I'm very interested in the viability of the paleolithic diet (or Zone) for hiking situations. the paleo diet is basically higher quantities of healthful fats and lean protein, high quantities of fruit and vegetables and no refined sugar, salt, dairy or grains/legumes. I know this flies in the face of a lot of pre-conceptions, but so do a significant number of lighweight backpacking fundamentals."

here is the link to that thread:

Edited by tegyn on 12/05/2008 15:19:32 MST.

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(tegyn) - F

Locale: Robertson, Australia
Copy of Chad's post from previous thread on 12/05/2008 15:21:38 MST Print View

Chad Miller
( chadnsc - M)

Duluth, Minnesota
NEW calories on 12/05/2008 07:09:25 MST
Counting calories:

1 gram of carbohydrate or protein is 4 calories
1 gram of fat is 9 calories

For purposes of counting calories it is irrelevant what type of carbs, protein, or fat are; the number of calories are the same. Typically a 180 pound man carrying a 30 pound pack, hiking over moderate terrain will burn between 700-900 calories and hour.

With your Zone diet a major concern will be consuming enough complex carbohydrates to sustain yourself during your hike. Unsaturated fats and lean protein are more difficult for your body to break down and use as energy, especially during prolonged exercise such as a through hike. Because of this the high amounts of lean protein and unsaturated fats consumed in the Zone diet help you to fill full longer while consuming less overall calories and promoting weight loss.

Unfortunately the Zone diet has been shown to provide an insufficient amount of carbohydrates for active adults. While fruits and some types of vegetables do contain carbohydrates they are typically comprised of simple sugars which will only provide short bursts of energy which will probably not be sufficient to sustain you throughout a long hike. Also an insufficient consumption of complex carbohydrates will severely diminish or even halt the repair and rebuilding of lean muscle tissue. This is a vital aspect of any long distance hike as your will be constantly tearing and rebuilding lean muscle.

In addition the relatively low calories per ounce of weight for dried fruit and vegetables will require you to carry a substantial amount of food to propel you through your journey.

Edited by chadnsc on 12/05/2008 07:10:21 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/05/2008 15:56:57 MST Print View

So are you asking yay or nay on the diet?

In the end it comes down to what works for a person - no matter what anyone else says.

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(tegyn) - F

Locale: Robertson, Australia
Re: Copy of Chad's post from previous thread on 12/05/2008 16:05:01 MST Print View

Hi Chad,
Thanks for the great reply.

Although Paleo & Zone diets are similar, the Zone is a lot more proscriptive as to when when and how. Paleo diets, particularly the more relaxed versions, are a lot more inclusive and easier to maintain.

In terms of carbohydrates, due to the mass and fibre content of non-starchy fruit and vegetables, they are actually lower on the glycemic index than are grains/cereals/legumes. whole grains are lower GI because they haven't been milled to a uniform powder. These used to be eaten whole or were so crudely milled that nearly the entire grain - bran, germ and fiber - remained intact (to quote Loren Cordain, Paleo Diet).

After Loren Cordain wrote "the paleo diet", they released another book entitled "The Paleo Diet for Athletes". I have a copy but haven't read it - has anyone else??? Another book i'm interested in is "Survival of the Fittest: Peak performance something something something" by Dr Stroud, which examines the diet he and Ranulph Fiennes consumed in their antarctic crossing. And, last but not least, i've just bought a copy of Karnazes' "Ultra Marathon Man", the epilogue of which talks about his dietary considerations.

I'll report on what I find, but in the mean time keep this up!

As I suggested in my earlier thread, Dietary compromises are fine for shorter trips, but longer trips (like Ryan Jordan's 1000km trip and, to a lesser extent, my 680km trip) require better planning and considerations of nutrition.


Huzefa Siamwala
Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/05/2008 20:41:50 MST Print View


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(tegyn) - F

Locale: Robertson, Australia
Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/06/2008 01:53:34 MST Print View


Followed links to this -

Note he maintains paleo-like diet during the week and eats ridiculous amounts of fat during races. If Dean Karnazes can do it I reckon there's some value in it.


Huzefa Siamwala
Re: Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/06/2008 03:18:36 MST Print View

You will also find this thread interesting. Allison and I were discussing this subject in detail a few days back.

If I were attempting a no-resupply thru-hike or record attempt such as Artic 1000 I would probably switch to ketogenic diet. But as you know it takes some time to adapt. So it isnt practical for my usual weekend hikes.

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(tegyn) - F

Locale: Robertson, Australia
Re: Re: Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/06/2008 18:52:24 MST Print View

Thanks for that!
Interesting thread
I'll look into the Ketogenic diet - sounds interesting

I'll check out your diet pdf too


Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/06/2008 19:49:06 MST Print View

You should all look at Ori Hofmekler's 'Warrior Diet"
It is based on historic patterns of eating from the Greeks and Romans as well as updated info. Ori is a biologist not a nutritionist so comes at it from a more researched point of view. His methods are very popular with martial artist and fighters who have to be BOTH strong, have awesome endurance, and be lean and fast. As opposed to slow and strong or skinny and weak but fast. Also look at Marty Gallaghers's "Purposeful Primitive" he trains Olympic champs and is a former world champ himself(as well as a warrior diet follower).

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 12/06/2008 19:49:57 MST.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Re: Paleo-like diets and the outdoors on 12/06/2008 20:18:52 MST Print View

The paleo diet could definitely be done on the trail using foil packets of tuna, chicken, & salmon as well as large amounts of nuts & dried fruit & veggies.

I've found that eating small meals like larabars, dried fruit, or almonds about every 1.5-2 hours helps me maintain my energy levels while hiking and running. if I don't eat this often, I notice my energy waning. I agree with Dean Karnaze who suggests many small meals throughout the day. I apply that principle with my snacking and also have a set breakfast, lunch and dinner that is more than just a few handfuls of almonds or an energy bar.

My hiking diet is similar to the paleo diet in that I eat a very large amount of nuts, dried fruits, and larabars (which are essentially more nuts & fruit) as well as some tuna and chicken - however I DO include complex carbs in my diet via pasta, bread, rice etc. Most runners do (including Dean K.) I apply the same principles to my hiking diet. Carbs are a great source of fuel for your body. If you have a lean body and are expending a lot of energy and burning a lot of calories on a regular basis, you need that fuel. I disagree with the premise of the paleo diet there. I don't think rice, pasta, and grains should be cut out of a diet.

The purpose of my diet while backpacking is never to get more lean. It's to maintain my glucose levels and promote energy, endurance and muscles recovery as much as possible. I can't quite tell if you are interested in losing weight or just in being as healthy as possible while hiking. The same puzzlement applies to Hufeza's diet concept as well. Essentially, I agree with what Chad is saying and feel that the paleo diet excludes an important aspect of nutrition for an athlete. If you are looking to lose weight, I think the paleo diet is healthy and is a good idea and is indeed doable while hiking. If you are looking to expend the amount of energy that an endurance athlete is - i.e. a long distance hike, extended periods of high mileage etc. - I question excluding grains & beans (and even certain nuts, correct?) to that extent.

This explains my diet pretty well, see the link at bottom for source:

" All of the popular weight-loss plans that recognize the difference between low GI and high GI carbohydrates strongly recommend eating low GI foods to maintain your weight and health. But things aren't that easy for runners, who need to include a mix of both high and low GI foods in prerun and postrun meals in order to get maximum performance benefits. That's because high GI foods can help boost speed and aid in recovery, while low GI foods extend endurance.

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some provide your body with a slow and steady stream of energy, while others deliver fast but short bursts of fuel. The difference between these two types of carbohydrates is something called the glycemic index (GI).

The GI is a carbohydrate ranking system that assigns a number from 1 to 100 to a food based on how quickly the carbohydrates in it enter your system. If the carbs are quickly digested, with sugar rapidly entering your circulation, the GI is high: 70 plus. Many complex carbohydrates such as breads, pasta, and potatoes have moderate to high GIs.

If your digestive system has to wrestle with the carbs a bit before the sugar makes its way throughout your system, the food's GI is low: less than 55. Most fruits and other fiber-packed foods such as beans and old-fashioned oats have a low GI, because the fiber trips up the sugars before they are absorbed into your system.

The addition of fat or protein also changes a food's GI. Both of these nutrients slow digestion and, therefore, lower the GI of a food or meal. So, a slice of wheat bread topped with peanut butter has a lower GI than the bread alone.",7120,s6-242-301--6042-1-2X3-3,00.html