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Caloric Deficit on the Trail
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Caloric Deficit on the Trail on 05/23/2014 10:20:05 MDT Print View

This is an excerpt from an New York Times article on weight loss originally published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. (A free registration/login is required to read the NYT article.)

"Researchers in Spain and Sweden had 15 healthy but overweight Swedish men restrict their calories to about 360 a day, a reduction of approximately 1,800 calories. What calories they did ingest came in liquid form: Some men drank mostly sugary carbohydrates, others a high-protein drink. The men also exercised — a lot. Their days began with 45 minutes of cranking an arm-pedaling machine for an upper-body workout. Then, as a group, the men strolled for eight hours across the Swedish countryside, with only a 10-minute break every hour. They were allowed as much of a low-calorie, sports-type beverage as they wanted during their walks.


"Most of the men “were surprised that it was easier than they thought it would be",.... Some of the subjects experienced “minor problems with pain in the joints” and blisters on their feet, according to Calbet, but none dropped out or complained of hunger."


"After four days, the men had each lost almost 11 pounds, with nearly half of that coming from body fat; the rest of the loss came primarily from muscle mass. The researchers had anticipated that the high-protein drink would protect people against muscle-mass loss. In fact, the losses were the same, whether the men had been given sugar or protein." [emphasis added]


Does this extrapolate to lean, fit, trained hikers?

Maybe not directly, but it does seem to imply that you need Real Food, and plenty of it, even if you don't feel hungry, if you want to avoid catabolism of lean muscle mass.

Edited by greg23 on 05/23/2014 10:24:25 MDT.

J Mag
Re: Caloric Deficit on the Trail on 05/23/2014 11:29:25 MDT Print View

I think it implies that if you are getting less than 10% of the calories your body needs you are going to lose a lot of muscle mass.

Edited by GoProGator on 05/23/2014 12:37:42 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Caloric Deficit on the Trail on 05/23/2014 11:43:35 MDT Print View

I hope the participants were well-compensated. That soounds hellish, no matter the claims that it wasn't THAT bad. Eeesh.

Edited by spelt on 05/23/2014 11:44:19 MDT.

Shawn Bearden
(ShawnB) - F - MLife

Locale: SE Idaho
study on 05/23/2014 15:30:55 MDT Print View

From the actual study (not an article on the study):
"Although most of the subjects tolerated the intervention relatively well, all complained of muscle and joint pain, individuals who are less strongly motivated would probably not tolerate this type of intervention."

Ketosis during starvation has been considered one cause of the paradoxical anorexia (loss of appetite) that may occur during fasts. This may explain why the subjects did not report the level of hunger that the average person looking at this protocol might expect.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Caloric Deficit on the Trail on 05/23/2014 15:43:49 MDT Print View

Very interesting! Thanks for pointing this out, Greg. :^)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: study@Shawn on 05/23/2014 17:17:09 MDT Print View

Had the subjects ingested enough carbs(~30% of daily caloric requirement at walking pace) to support body fat metabolism for ~60-65% of their daily caloric requirement, and complete protein equal to 5-10% of their total caloric requirement, would they have suffered significant muscle mass loss?

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 05/23/2014 17:31:05 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/29/2015 14:51:00 MDT.

lean tissue loss on 05/23/2014 18:39:27 MDT Print View

It is well known that on restricted calorie intake you lose significant lean body tissues.

As much as 65% lean body tissues has been measured in studies before.

No , protein intake does not protect against this. Even on a high protein diet. It is somewhat better than a low protein diet however.

As someone that used to bodybuild and diet to lower body fat to low levels, without aid of drugs, I know this very well firsthand.

In fact, even while doing aerobic cardio, and lifting weights to create a nitrogen demand, and consuming high protein diet, the recommended rate of fat loss not to lose too much muscle, is 1-2 lbs per MONTH. And yes, you can still lose some lean tissues at that rate as well.

Edited by livingontheroad on 05/23/2014 18:42:36 MDT.

J Mag
Re: study on 05/23/2014 20:21:15 MDT Print View

I love my daily 16 hour fasts :)