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Ketogenic diet as a way to lighten pack?
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: History on 12/03/2011 20:06:18 MST Print View

"...with cheese and cream and reindeer stew."

I'm guessing that Mountain House does not have a freeze-dried meal with that.


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Paleo on 12/03/2011 20:54:43 MST Print View

Doug, you're lucky no one decided to go skinny dipping in that pristine alpine lake amidst the Fuzzy Mountains.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Tom on 12/05/2011 14:02:09 MST Print View

Tom, I'd like to add something that may affect your thinking on wheat, in reference to this statement:

"I will refer you back to my previous observations about civilizations being based on grains. They have been remarkably successful for millenia, including here in America up until about 40-50 years ago."

While wheat is the most toxic of the grains those civilizations have been based on, wild wheat and long-cultivated varieties like emmer and einkorn are not at all the same as the wheat we all eat today: Norman Borlaug recieved a Nobel Prize for producing the high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties that now account for nearly all the wheat consumed in the world. It increased food supply, accounting for his awards. No one really bothered to evaluate whether the mutations had changed its toxin profile compared to previously consumed wheat; wheat toxicity wasn't something that was all that relevant or well known in that context, decades ago.

If they had, they would have discovered a 5-fold increase in the toxins gluten and wheat-germ agglutinin, the proteins that induce the intestinal perforations that cause the autoimmune symptoms associated with wheat toxicity, and an increase in gliadin, which directly stimulates the appetite to a tune of about 400 calories a day desired by the body over its actual level of need. This is on top of the fact that the starches unique to wheat stimulate a greater blood-sugar spike (and subsequent insulin response) than pure glucose. The potential for negative health effects from wheat is much greater with today's varieties than those available before, in particular with regards to obesity and gut/autoimmune disorders, as well as the general inflammation-fueled degeneration that is now simply attributed to "aging."

These new wheat varieties entered the food supply about 50 years ago.

I'm not saying that those other factors you note changing around that time aren't important as well, but the wheat that we eat, and the changes it underwent in that same time period, deserve consideration as a major factor as well.

The recent book "Wheat Belly" by William Davis goes into this in a lot more detail, based on both his experience as an MD and the very solid science that is emerging on the subject. Of course, the title and subtitle are yet another example of a piece of solid reason and information being dressed up for mass-consumption, having to compete with those fad-diet books and all, but don't let that deter you from the very compelling content that lies behind the cover.

I'll also note that in a world with fewer environmental toxins, wheat toxicity may be less of an issue. With the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat surprisingly high in heavy metals, products and byproducts of petroleum extraction, refining, and burning, industrial wastes and runoffs, polymers whose effects we're only just starting to understand, fertilizers, pesticides and more, however, our bodies are saddled with the task of dealing with an unprecedented toxin load. Eliminating notable toxins that we can choose not to expose ourselves to by simply eating something else strikes me as perfectly sensible. We don't live in the same environment that we did 50 years ago, much less 100 or 1000 years ago.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Tom on 12/05/2011 20:46:03 MST Print View

"I'll also note that in a world with fewer environmental toxins, wheat toxicity may be less of an issue. With the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat surprisingly high in heavy metals, products and byproducts of petroleum extraction, refining, and burning, industrial wastes and runoffs, polymers whose effects we're only just starting to understand, fertilizers, pesticides and more, however, our bodies are saddled with the task of dealing with an unprecedented toxin load. Eliminating notable toxins that we can choose not to expose ourselves to by simply eating something else strikes me as perfectly sensible. We don't live in the same environment that we did 50 years ago, much less 100 or 1000 years ago."

This is the part of your post that affected my thinking the most, Erik, so I'll start there. Beautifully put and powerful. I couldn't agree more, but I would not necessarily agree that it justifies a blanket elimination of wheat from the national diet. The first thing I did after I read your post was go off and do other things while I thought about it. When I got back, I got on Pubmed and did a few searches, which turned up many hits concerning wheat toxicity and gliadin. They all center around Coeliac Disease which, according to Wiki, occurs in anywhere from 1:1750 and 1:150 people. Obviously there is a lot of uncertainty, but even the low end estimate limits the disease to a small portion of the population. Maybe better to focus on diagnosing those with gluten sensitivity, who comprise 6% of the population and include the smaller number prone to Coeliac Disease, according to Wiki, and eliminate wheat from their diet? I couldn't find anything relating to gliadin and increased appetite, but did find a reference to high glycemic index and white flour, white rice, etc. Whole grains, however, were listed as having a GI in the mid 50's range. All in all, it is an issue that I will now be watching much more closely, thanks to your post, but I remain to be convinced that complete elimination of wheat from the national diet is justified at this point. The part of your post I referenced above, however, has been integrated into my thought processes for application on a much wider scale, for which I thank you.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Keto on 01/20/2012 22:18:59 MST Print View


Thanks for posting about this.

I started Keto this week, and I've already been thinking about how I'm going to tackle hiking—specifically long days or multiple day hikes. Right now I'm on the back end of the "Keto Flu" (sluggishness, mild headaches), but things are looking up.

When you first started keto, were you doing much hiking? Any tips for doing longer days? Were you bonking at all when first starting? Carb-up on big hike days? Right know I think I'm just going to have to take it easy until the initial symptoms mellow out.

And just curious, what kind of foods are you eating while on the trail? Mostly nuts, seeds, cheese, dehydrated/stable meats, avocados? Have you experimented with ghee?



Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Re: Paleo on 01/21/2012 19:01:27 MST Print View

So to start off with, I want to say that everything I know about Paleo I learned in this thread. That being said, I've spent the last 21 days doing the "21 Day Kickstart" to vegan eating. Now this isn't going to be a comparison, but you guys have talked about all kinds of studies and nutritional stuff, and my question is this: Vegan is supposedly so much more heart healthy in part because you drastically reduce your intake (and increase your release of) blood cholesterol. So have there been any studies that show how/if the Paleo diet affects things like cholesterol, triglycerides, and other indicators of heart disease?

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Paleo on 01/21/2012 20:46:00 MST Print View

Heather, take a look at the articles and forum discussions in Mark's Daily Apple. It is replete with the information you are seeking. Mark Sisson, who started and heads the website, has really done his homework on the nutritional background of all the diet information he recommends. Also, take a look at It is a website that has been going steadily since 1997, long before most people were talking about the paleo diet. There is a lot of research linked to there.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Keto on 01/22/2012 11:51:44 MST Print View

Yes, I bonked big time. Especially at week 4 where I actually thought I was going to die. I was simply deficient in potassium from the water loss at the beginning of switching to fat-burning mode. A few supplements and I felt better.

As for foods when I go hiking:

If I day hike, I have no need for food. I eat breakfast and then don't need to eat the rest of the day either during or right after the hike. I have noticed that on hiking days, if I eat something along the lines of canned salmon and sweet potatoes (lower fat, higher carb) I can hike faster than if I go for something like bacon and eggs. So now on easy hiking days I keep the carbs low and just accept that I'll be a little slower than usual but on big adventure hikes I'll up the carbs a bit for breakfast so I can go faster.

On backpacking trips I have had success with beef jerky and coconut oil "candy" I made with dark chocolate melted with coconut manna and coconut oil with a little bit of nuts. Kind of melty and messy though. I've used some creamed coconut stuff to make a curry. It's like a brick of semi-dehydrated coconut milk. I need to experiment more to make it tastier. I ate it with rice noodles and used regular curry powder, but something more Thai-spiced would be better. I bring hard cheese and salami/sausage/pepperoni and that actually makes a pretty good breakfast.

I don't need to eat quite as much food when backpacking when I eat this way. Of course, that could be because I still have weight to lose and thus can "eat" my reserves.

Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Re: Re: Paleo on 01/22/2012 13:38:52 MST Print View

Thanks Miguel. I'll check it out. :)

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Keto on 01/22/2012 15:29:51 MST Print View

Awesome! Thanks for the tips.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Paleo on 01/23/2012 12:00:40 MST Print View

The Paleo diet makes perfect sense to me, it is what we are genetically wired to. I have read a lot about this since the first post.

I don't need to lose weight, and all my vitals are low (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.). The time to look into this kind of diet is not after you have a problem, but to prevent any of these problems from occurring in the first place.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
pemmican etc on 01/24/2012 12:56:07 MST Print View

Piper S, took me a while, but I finally started making pemmican. Wonderful food, great flavor, when I made it I had prepared myself for a flavor like a meat candle, ie, tallow with dried meat, but it came out more like meat candy. The trick is simple: grass fed beef, ideally, fat rendered keeping it under 250 degrees the whole time, easy with thick bottomed pan and thermoter, as much fat cut from the leanest cuts of beef, dried until crackable, thin strips, then grind in blender to form what looks sort of like beef primaloft, then mix, form into patties or sheets in plastic bags. You can actually see more or less good grass fed beef, the fat on it is white, very white, and renders clear/yellowish, with an excellent flavor. I can think of no better trail food, the cost is about 8-10 a pound if you find reasonably priced grass fed beef, they will usually give you the fat for free, 3 pounds meat makes about 1 pound dried, and fat renders to around half the weight of the starting fat. There's a reason that early American explorers and Indians valued pemmican so highly, it was the best trail food in existence, and probably still is, hard to imagine anything better, dense, calorie rich, great protein, and it tastes great.

I also tried coconut oil based on your comments, virgin, and have to admit, my expectations of good smooth tasting oil was shattered by a sort of gross waxy texture that in fact resembles a coconut candle to my palate, and which almost made me throw up although I did get down a spoonful. Given it cost $6 a pound think I'll stick to either olive oil or rendered fat (have to get cholesterol checked of course to make sure that's ok).

To me, re the ongoing discussion of paleo or whatever else, that's just so complicated, and I wouldn't look for real answers here, just questions that are worth following up if you are interested in such things. One thing is certain,the Inuit did not get diabetes until they started eating our starchy carbs, and their weight was what it needed to be for their climate. I come from farm stock in Norway, and a big chunk of my family has diabetes, so I don't really think there was much adaptation to high carb diets. It's worth noting that potatoes are the worst offenders, and Norwegians love their potatoes, a relatively recent import from South America historically speaking. To me, diabetes is the real answer to what constitutes a healthy diet, if it appears in big numbers in any study group that eats carbs, and not in a low carb group, then you have your answer. Wish the early invaders of South America had been a bit more interested in the cultures and food and health over grabbing the gold and leaving, that's a place you could have seen if there was real adaptation to those fairly starchy diets over time, or if they had the same issues we do. I do know that the South Eastern US tribes that grew corn showed much higher rates of dental decay than tribes who depended more on hunting / gathering, ie, lower carb, and almost no starches.

I was also impressed by Stefansson's writings and views on diet, very interesting stuff. But the range of diets if you just keep it to the Americas and their original native populations is pretty wide, and it's also important to remember that the Inuit eat the contents of the stomachs of the animals they eat, and the livers and all that, in a fresh states, and that's almost impossible to emulate in any non rural setting any longer, even with access to living non agribusiness infected livestock, so as a model it's essentially impossible to duplicate in any town/city setting. Other than the far northern groups, everyone else ate varied diets, that's what 'hunter gatherer' means. But I tend to agree with the logic, there's a huge difference between eating fresh complex foods and heavily modified starches grown with man made chemicals and oil/gas products/byproducts in soil that is really not much more than a glorified hydroponic grow medium. I specifically avoid the term 'genetically modified' because all human developed/optimized grain ever grown is genetically modified (ever seen the first corn 'ears'? tiny things, hard to imagine anyone even seeing something worth maximizing by patient crop selection).

There's more than a little irony in people going out to be in 'nature' then filling their bodies with total industrial generated garbage like sugar powders and 'power bars',, to me that makes zero sense, in any way, I want to be in nature, not outside of it, and that starts with what I eat and drink, ie, what's in my body. Can't be perfect, but nobody needs to be perfect, just a decent try is all that's needed.

Edited by hhope on 01/24/2012 13:59:17 MST.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Keto on 01/28/2012 23:02:57 MST Print View

Tell me more about this potassium deficiency.

I'm at week 2, and just snowshoed uphill for 3 miles. I felt just peachy hiking, but when we stopped I got seriously dehydrated (unusually so), leg cramps (maybe the dehydration, but I've also been reading about potassium or magnesium deficiencies associated with keto?), and a low blood sugar dizziness. A snickers bar helped the last one (and didn't knock me out of ketosis apparently).

So an oral potassium supplement? Something else? Did you have similar symptoms?

I'd hate to have to take it this easy for another 4 weeks.

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 01/28/2012 23:05:10 MST.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Keto on 02/10/2012 10:28:52 MST Print View

For my potassium problems I have been bringing NUUN tablets on hikes, but on regular days I have a bottle of potassium tablets. Potassium + salt + magnesium seems to help me with cramps.

I found this good article on Robb Wolf's website today that has been up for a while.

This chunk here seems pretty relevant.

there’s a serious technical problem with carbohydrates as calorie packets. Contrary to their reputation as concentrated fuel, carbs pack a little less than half the calories of an equal quantity of fat. That can be thought of from two perspectives: 1) Using carbs as a primary fuel source requires carrying twice as much food. 2) Using carbs as a primary fuel source cuts trip duration in half.


There is no “carbohydrate as the primary fuel” strategy that allows absolute engagement with nature for more than a few days. An optimal exploraging strategy must maximize caloric density of carried food (by favoring fat over carbohydrates), and maximize calories foraged from the surroundings. Unless humans evolve to convert grass and wood to energy, this will primarily mean hunting and fishing, and limited sources of plant foods. The mix between carried calories and harvested calories is a balance between availability, legal restrictions, and responsible levels of impact. This balance will of course vary significantly by jurisdiction and ecosystem.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Keto on 02/10/2012 11:10:07 MST Print View

Cool, thanks.

Turns out that incident was also fueled by a cold coming on that I didn't know about at the time, but there was also dehydration: I was drinking my normal amount of water for winter hikes, but it turns out I needed much more. I find myself drinking much more water now anyway.

Now that I'm about 3.5 weeks in, and having taken some longer hikes, things have been evening out. But I'll certainly try some potassium/magnesium supplements—or maybe up my almond intake—1 cup of raw almonds has a days worth of magnesium and 40% daily value of potassium. Pretty sweet!

Now I just have to make some Ghee for my hikes...

Timo Rajala
Good experiences with lowcarb as a way to lighten pack and stay warm on 02/18/2012 05:33:53 MST Print View

Piper S., very interesting thread you started! There is so much reading so I have not read through all posts, just a few chosen posts here and there. I live in Sweden and here is quite much discussions in different forums on internet as well as on TV and radio programs about LCHF, Low Carb High Fat. It is becoming increasingly popular, and its easy to understand why. It simply works. You eat very good, natural food and without calorie restrictions. I am living a lowcarb lifestyle since about three years. I call it a lifestyle, not a diet, because I think a diet is something which is supposed to be a limited period of time, but I have no plans to change this healthy way of living :-)
My primary reason for this lifestyle is not because I am sick in any way, but because I want to stay healthy. I feel more healthy and stronger now, than I did back when I was 30 years old. I am 42 years now.

Your initial question was about staying warm when sleeping and how lowcarb can affect that? I think it affects one's warmth in several positive ways. First, after have been eating lowcarb high fat without calorie restrictions for a longer time (weeks, months) the body no longer feels the need to preserve the resources so hard (which happens with a diet with calorie restrictions, starving). This means the metabolism is working normally and thus your body is producing heat normally. Second, when living on lowcarb for a longer time your blood circulation improves gradually, hands and feets are no longer freezing so easily. I think the reason is effects of that the blood sugar and insuline levels are constantly at a stable, normal level, which leads to a lot of good improvements in the body.

Well, this was some of my personal experiences and opinions. I don't know if this was any contribution to the discussion, because so much has already been written, but I hope so.


Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
coconut cream brick on 02/19/2012 10:07:09 MST Print View

Piper, you mentioned something about a creamed coconut brick, like dehydrated coconut milk. What's that? Is it something you are making, or a specific product you are buying? I'd like to use coconut cream/milk powder, but they all have a little milk casein in them to help with texture. If there's another option I'd like to know about it.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: coconut cream brick on 02/20/2012 14:13:11 MST Print View

Timo, I got started on this diet when I saw the video on When he said it would calm my hunger I had to try it. More than a year after hiking the PCT I still couldn't get my hunger under control and I couldn't exercise without my hunger going haywire so I was gaining lots of weight. The Swedish diet doctor was right. It cured my insatiable hunger on the very first day. It was so incredible an experience I walked around in a daze wondering how to occupy my mind which was no longer filled with a struggle against eating and hunger.

As for the coconut cream brick, it's a product called Creamed Coconut. This is it:
Let's Do Organic Creamed Coconut
I got it at my local health food store. I still have not figured out how to make a decent backpacking meal out of it yet. This weekend's attempt was pretty bad, good flavor, but disappointing meal. Basically a soupy fat bomb was what I ended up with. Slept pretty darn warm afterwards, though.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Ketogenic diet on 02/22/2012 07:22:09 MST Print View

New research showing that glycogen stores (carbohydrates) in your brain are used after periods of exercise when blood sugar is depleted:

This is just one of thousands of things we don't know about how the human body functions. There is a large body of research that says an Atkins or Ketogenic diet is a bad idea, and the above article is just one example of how carbohydrates play a critical role in human health, and can in many ways that we don't think about or understand.

The third post of this thread talks about Eskimos and how they too were able to live on this diet. What Roleigh fails to mention is that the inuit have a decade's shorter life expectancy and have a higher rate of cancer than the average Canadian. (source)

I'd suggest that people find self control over weight in a more holistic way than this—this is simply a bad idea and extremely dangerous advice to be giving over the internet.

Edited by kylemeyer on 02/22/2012 07:22:42 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Ketogenic diet on 02/22/2012 07:47:27 MST Print View

Kyle, all the more recent research... the tons of it I've been reading for the past two years... is showing the opposite of what you are warning about. There are lots of people now who've been doing the paleo way of eating (which, by the way, doesn't eschew carbohydrates, but lowers how much you're eating... this is NOT the Atkins diet!) for a goodly amount of time... long enough for negative effects to show up... and very few people report any problems. In fact, most report phenomenal improvements in well-being and health check ups.

The growing body of evidence is showing that the advice to eat so many carbohydrates and lower fat intake is actually the dangerous advice, and a growing number of doctors are actually calling the government and medical community's recommendation to eat more carbs and less fat irresponsible, some even say criminal. As a diabetic whose LIFE depends on controlling my blood sugars and weight, this is the ONLY way of living and eating that has finally brought all the crazy blood sugars under control. It just makes sense.

As to your comment about the Inuit... not true. Until western diets entered the diets of almost all North American natives, from the Inuit to the Terra del Fuegans, cancer was almost non-existent. Early doctors who traveled ahead of the oncoming Europeans reported astonishment at the lack of diseases that were common in western diets, like heart disease, strokes, and cancer. They'd report maybe one patient a year, and that patient always tended to have unusual circumstances, usually pertaining to having started eating more European food.

The whole paleo and primal community is extremely conscious about the science behind what they eat; understanding nutrition and the way the nutrients work and being honest about all of it is the basis of the movement. Head over to Mark's Daily Apple's forum and take a look at all the discussions, filled with skepticism and experimentation. Even one of the leaders of the movement constantly asks members, many of whom are doctors and scientists, to evaluate and critique his ideas. It's a very healthy learning environment.

All that being said, I am still constantly learning about nutrition. One thing I've worried a lot about is getting the proper balanced diet, since I am not a dietician I worry about getting too much of one thing, and not enough of another. But that's what the paleo movement tries very, very hard to address... more than any other nutritional routine I've ever seen or learned about. Paleo isn't against carbs or a "low carb" diet per se; it has looked at different nutritional input and through the experiments and results, determined what seems to be causing the troubles. What they have found is the it is modern refined carbs that are causing most of the obesity epidemic and that fats do not cause the problems that so many untried people are claiming do.

Edited by butuki on 02/22/2012 08:04:16 MST.