Sustained elevated blood glucose is toxic to those cells in the pancreas that make insulin, the loss of which - wait for it....- further increase sustained blood glucose levels. Do yourself a giant favor and stop eating junk food now, whether you are touring or not. It is as stupid as smoking.
A huge bowl, with several scoops of ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or some other topping, and of course, liqueur. I think the first two were a chocolate/coffee (mocha?) and rum combo, and the last is a chocolate and mint liqueur. And in the second photo, the ice cream on the plate is called spaghetti ice cream ... they shape it like a huge bowl of spaghetti.
On several days during our time in Europe in 2012 ... that was lunch.
I understand junk food cravings and the ease with which those are fulfilled, but I don't think it's a good idea for long term consumption. I like my pancreas. I'm married to a type 1 diabetic athlete so I'm a little more aware than most of quick carbs in the diet, and with diet in general. Of course, all things in moderation--including moderation. Machka's ice cream creations sure look good.
I've also hiked the AT, along with the PCT and CDT, and have toured cross country more than once. It's hard to avoid junk food on trips like that, but I do my best. (On my AT hike, I met a well-known hiker (the name would sound familiar, I'm sure) who attempted a JMT hike with nothing but Little Debbies brownies. He didn't make it.)
I guess the thing you have to really look at is two things. Do you need the energy? When do you need the energy?
If you need the energy right now you better get it from sugars. Sugars are the first thing to be consumed by the body. The second thing is complex carbs, they will also be the second thing to be used. The last thing to be consumed and used by the body is fat. The higher the fat content of a particular food the longer it will take the body to consume it...and hence the lower the fat the quicker you will get any benefits from the sugars or complex carbs. Fat is also a much slower form of energy as well. You can't ride/run/swim/whatever as fast when your using fat(bonked) as you can when you are using carbs.
I fess most of the stuff I eat while I'm on a trip is generally not pure sugars. When I'm out riding around home doing a 150-200 mile day I'll eat sugars left and right. On a trip I fess I normally eat McDonalds, high carb, high sodium food. I want the sodium to help with avoiding dehydration. I just saw on the 128 miles I rode yesterday how easy it is to become dehydrated even on a 50 degree day. Last night was pure he!! thanks to getting dehydrated yesterday due to not taking in any easy to consume sodium throughout the day. The higher the fat content the slower the body will process the sodium, the carbs, the fat, the sugars, the anything.
Lunchtime on a trip I normally will go for the sugar route that way I'll have the energy when I need it...now, not tomorrow.
Eating fruit on a trip can give you important vitamins and minerals you won't get in processed foods but they don't give you any calories. Do the research. if you want to stave a craving, great go for the fruit. Don't be surprised if you find another hunger craving to shortly follow though. You will still find yourself losing weight while on a long distance trip even though you are eating a ton of fruit. It has the nutrients that you are losing but it doesn't have the calories you are losing.
Bagels and bread, complex carbs do have the calories and they will take longer to process than simple sugars. When you stop to get something to eat you have to ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Are you tired/slowing down quite a bit/lacking the energy. If you are you and you still have a lot of miles to make for the day you better look to simple sugars for your source of food so the body will give the your energy fast. Again, make sure to watch how much fat the food contains...the higher the fat the longer it will take you to get the sugars to give you the energy. If you are feeling fine but know you need to take in some calories go for the complex carbs.
It's like I said it all depends on when you need the energy. Make sure you know what lies ahead along the road, is it a flat stretch of tailwind or a long steady climb coming up. Plan ahead of time and you'll have the energy you need.
Anytime you start to notice a reduction in average speed, not related to topography/headwinds more than likely you are running into one of two problems, dehydration or your starting to burn fat. Make sure you are drinking enough and getting enough sodium and then the dehydration issue won't be a factor.
Remember when eating, eat the simple sugars first, the complex carbs second and the fats last. I would do the exact opposite at supper time though. I would eat the fats first so they don't try to keep me awake at night(the buzz) like the burning of simple sugars would.
If you don't want to lose weight you have to replace the calories. Yes, some calories are better for you then others but the problem is some foods don't provide any calories so you would have to eat an unedable amount of the food to get any benefit from it. Try downing 4 or 5 big watermelons at one sitting and then you'll get the idea of what I'm talking about.
I try to eat the same things I do at home,just more of it.
Eat a big breakfast,medium lunch and a small dinner.....sometimes I'll eat 2 breakfast and 2 lunches.
Cherries are my favorite snack on the bike....They are like super fuel for me.I'm not sure what's in them but my body LOVES cherries when I'm putting out lot's of effort.
Last edited by Booger1; 04-02-14 at 01:54 PM.
Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein
Most North Americans carry a nice supply of emergency calories around the middle. Until that supply has been depleted I really don't worry about energy levels or calorie intake. My uncle on the other hand is built like a professional bicyclist and eats small amts of calorie dense foods every 45 minutes.
After 4 weeks in a warm climate I have probably lost 10 pounds and the calorie intake jumps to around 5k a day.
Have I ever lost too much weight? Yes, 9 days of bananna pudding poo accompanied by gas while hurling your carcass up and over 12-14000 foot passes will do that to you. Managing food intake at high elevations 10k+ is a beast. Eat -ANYTHING- and the energy level in the legs drops to nothing as the body shifts resources to the gut.
I don't have a hard time getting enough calories. The more fit I get, the more efficient it seems. My weight stays pretty steady. I eat oatmeal cooked in soy milk with some dried fruit for breakfast. For lunch I typically get a foot long tuna or veggie sandwich at subway and eat a couple cookies with it. Then I pack half of that for dinner. On the bike I snack on God knows how many nuts along with more dried fruit.
But I'm eating because I'm hungry. Not out of discipline.
The posts here show a pretty wide range of opinions. All people are different in how many cals they need per day, but I agree with every single post about water. You really can't drink too much when it's warm outside.
Dehydration will kill you. I don't understand the juices, gels and bars. As already stated they are expensive and have too much sugar and for the most part are pointless.
Always have more water than you need and always have some easily consumable food with you. My favorite is Mars bars, but they don't travel well in the heat. My best advice is always have something with you that you like to eat. If you don't like it, you won't eat it and are more likely to bonk.
That is not true, albeit a very common mistake. Look up Hyponatremia. The body can only absord and process just so much fluid. I've seen lots of people slug down huge amounts of water and fluids while working outdoors in the heat, thinking they were doing the right thing, and they just end up sick. Sometimes you just have to slow down and take it easier, you can't always just drink more fluids to combat the heat.
The trick when riding is to eat high-energy foods that are quickly digested like fruits and berries. On a relaxed tour this isn't a problem since you can just shift down a gear and give a heavier meal sufficient time to digest.
'75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 45k+ miles and still going!
'84 Univega Gran Tourismo
'84 Univega Viva Sport
'90 Schwinn Woodlands
Huffy MTB - for trips to corner store
MTB of questionable lineage aka 'Mutt Trail Bike'
You have to have to potassium(sp?) and sodium to go with the water or you will just sweat and piss out the water and nothing will be left behind to keep you from getting dehydrated.
I think it will be impossible to replace all the calories used each day on a tour lasting weeks, especially on hot days, climbing days, and tough days when you are fighting head wind. Weight loss, and muscle loss is gonna happen. I asked this question because I wanted to ride to NY from CA.
I now now think planned rest days are mandatory to replenish calories and to avoid fatigue, rather than go every day until you bonk and your body just quits.