Food for Potential Energy
One of the most important aspects of hill walking or trekking and adventure holidays is to maintain your calorie intake to keep pace with the terrain & amount of equipment you are carrying.
The best ratio for active people is:
50-60% Simple carbs. like sugar & sweets are
quickly converted into glucose for instant energy use. Complex carbs.
i.e. oats, wholemeal bread take longer to digest and are better as a long term energy source.
These provide longer stores of energy. Do not exclude fats i.e. a fat-free diet, as they are essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
These take days to metabolise but are essential for
the body's repair processes.
Important too is to take as much water as you can carry, because
water is rapidly lost through sweat and is essential to metabolise foods. Due to sweating, many electrolytes will be lost, especially potassium (the best replacement source is a banana). Even a 5% dehydration can result in a 20-30% reduction in metabolism, resulting in decreased performance e.g. headaches, weakness, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite. If your urine is clear, ok but if it is noticeably yellow then you are dehydrated. Dehydration creeps up un-noticed so remember to drink regularly even though you may not feel thirsty. Alas, alcoholic and caffeine containing drinks are not
recommended, unless you are in shelter at the end of the day! Alcohol increases the peripheral blood circulation leading to rapid heat loss and the dangers of hypothermia. Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics causing excessive water loss, leading to a downward spiral of dehydration.
Don't eat snow! It takes more energy to melt snow in your
mouth than any increase of energy gained through increased
metabolism. Melt it first.
Organic food supplements are just that - they are produced from
organically grown food and not synthesised in a lab. Extra exertion depletes vitamins & minerals, requiring additional vitamin intake. As it would be impractical to take fresh vegetable on a hike, the best way is to take your organic supplements. Organic vitamens (as opposed to the cheaper synthetic types) include the phytofactors found in vegetables, which assist in the efficient usage of the main vitamin, whereas synthetic vitamins are not so readily absorbed, resulting in expensive urine!
The above guide advises on food for sport energy & walking calories. If you have any specific enquiries please seek the advice of your own nutritional adviser.
Mike Jozefiak - Interested in organic nutrition, organic supplementation & health (amongst other things!)