Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

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Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Fri 03 Dec, 2010 7:59 pm

My aim in selecting foods for bushwalking in the past has always been to select energy dense foods such as cheese, salami, chocolate; great flavour, no cooking needed, compact, and durable.

Perfect for raising your cholesterol!

My challenge has been to find replacements that lack the fat but are still high energy. So far I have largely been unsuccessful, although nuts are an obvious healthy choice.

Anyone have any other ideas?
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Fri 03 Dec, 2010 8:48 pm

I guess the idea would be to not necessarily to avoid fats altogether but instead be more selective; polyunsaturated vs saturated or trans fats. eg oily fish
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Orion » Sat 04 Dec, 2010 4:37 am

Nuts have a lot of fat, but of a different variety than meat/cheese.

Check the actual values in a reference book or on the internet. You might be surprised to learn that many types of salami and cheese have lower energy densities than candy like taffy or power bars. Moisture trumps fat content.

If you want high energy density and minimal fat go with dry food. A sack of sugar is pretty good, but palatability is the problem. Some people can eat those energy bars all day... I can't. Sometimes a little extra weight is worth it in my opinion.

Also: Pure ethanol is fairly energy dense.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Sat 04 Dec, 2010 7:10 am

Orion wrote:[*]Check the actual values in a reference book or on the internet. Also: Pure ethanol is fairly energy dense.


Hi Orion

I gave up taking the cask of port with me years ago. :) Found I was too dehydrated in the morning, even though I enjoyed the camaraderie the night before!

Did a little research on the internet (Google: high energy low fat food) as you suggested and found a few resources which I have summarised with a few quotes below. The results were a little disappointing .

1. "Fat is the most energy dense food, giving you 9 calories on energy per gram (other food types give you 4)"

Love this quote which supplies great misinformation. PS Last time I studied diet I thought energy and calories were synonymous and didn't know that vitamins and water give you pure energy.!

"Quick Low-Calorie High Energy Options: Fruit
# People on-the-go can select low-calorie high energy foods easily. Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie, fat-free energy boosters. Apples, bananas, pears, kiwi, grapes, baby carrots and broccoli florets are all packed with vitamins and water for pure energy. For an added twist, mix fruit in low-fat yogurt or dip vegetables in low-fat ranch dressing."Read more: Foods Low in Calories & High in Energy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_4842798_foods ... z175EBKfRK

2. "The athlete’s diet (approved by Deakin University Australia)
An athlete’s diet should be similar to that recommended to the general public, with energy intake divided into:

* More than 55 per cent from carbohydrates
* About 12 to 15 per cent from protein
* Less than 30 per cent from fat.

4.Body Size and Shape (Australian Institute of Sport)

Still nothing which gives the energy dense characteristics of fat!! Maybe I was hoping for the impossible. : Maybe a few days of high fat food in the cause of pack weight reduction is OK!(
Last edited by Bush Walker on Sun 05 Dec, 2010 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Orion » Sat 04 Dec, 2010 7:45 am

"Still nothing which gives the energy dense characteristics of fat!!"

No, nothing is as calorically dense as pure fat. But lots of low-fat foods are as dense or denser than many fatty ones. You really need to look at the particular foods that are practical for you in the bush; things that can be carried easily and are palatable and acceptable nutrionally for you. Then look up their energy densities. You'll find that some things aren't what you presupposed and you can make some fine tune adjustments to your menu.

For example, typical cheddar cheese has about the same energy density as dry roasted garbanzo beans. Cheese is mostly fat but also has water. The beans are dry, very low in fat, have lots of complex carbohydates and some protein. A decent on-the-go snack if you like the flavor but definately not as satisfying as cheese.

I wish there was a magic answer as my energy needs seem to be on the high side compared to other walkers.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Sat 04 Dec, 2010 8:03 am

Orion wrote:"No, nothing is as calorically dense as pure fat. But lots of low-fat foods are as dense or denser than many fatty ones. You really need to look at the particular foods that are practical for you in the bush; things that can be carried easily and are palatable and acceptable nutrionally for you. Then look up their energy densities. You'll find that some things aren't what you presupposed and you can make some fine tune adjustments to your menu.


Thanks I'll look up some tables. I think the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet book may be a suitable reference.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Liamy77 » Sun 05 Dec, 2010 3:13 am

dried banana chips are low GI and tasty.... i think variety - so bring the nuts etc too
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Sun 05 Dec, 2010 6:56 am

Liamy77 wrote:dried banana chips are low GI and tasty.... i think variety - so bring the nuts etc too


Liamy77: You right about the dried fruit; they are high in energy per gm. I think dried peach may be even better than banana/gm

Found a good Australian Food Chart which supports Orion's suggestion that alcohol is a low fat, high energy "food". 7kcal/gm compared to fat of 9 kcal/gm, with protein and carbohydrate a distant 4 kcal/gm.

Some ideas from this source:
Beverages: Milo, Ovaltine, cocoa and drinking chocolate are by far the best/gm
Canned sardines and tuna in oil rate highly in terms of energy content, but you have to check that the oil is not saturated ie not vegetable.
Muesli looks good, but if its toasted, then it has a high fat content.
Dried fruit are high in energy/gm and an ideal bushwalking food
Gelatin is great, if you can think of a way of adding it to your food eg make a jelly
Sesame seeds sprinkled on food is a great source of energy
Lollies: jelly beans (my favourite), sesame bar and other sweets are very high in energy
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Re: Low saturated fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Bush Walker » Sun 05 Dec, 2010 9:27 am

I guess the real challenge for me is not to reduce all fats in my diet but rather to lower saturated and trans- fats. The other fats, mono-, poly- are OK eg those found in fish and nuts.

The alternative to carrying a pack filled with scroggin, is probably to forget my arteries for a week and go with the delicious metwurst, parmesan and chocolate I have always taken on walks.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Swifty » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 4:29 am

You're walking, right? You're probably burning 6000 calories a day and consuming about half that. Eating "fat" is of no consequence: it gets burnt first.
Restricting fat intake is for the sedentary lifestyle on a couch. You needn't worry.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby daveintas » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 3:07 pm

Bush_walker wrote:Last time I studied diet I thought energy and calories were synonymous and didn't know that vitamins and water give you pure energy.!

I have a laugh everytime I see the 'low-sugar energy drinks' available. It seem that 'stimulant' (i.e. caffein and guarana etc.) is becoming confused with 'energy'.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby climberman » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 4:03 pm

Oats are very high in energy for their fat content. Typically around 8.5% fat and 1600kJ+/100g. This is why meusli bars, for example, are full of energy. Porridge and muesli also.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby climberman » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 4:32 pm

Rice is also not too bad, at around 450kJ/100g, cooked. It also is a great meal to cook, dehy, and then rehydrate on the trip. Goes better with other dinner meals than oats.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby corvus » Mon 20 Dec, 2010 9:20 pm

Beef Jerky(or Biltong)
High protein /energy ,low fat (high sodium) got to be the Hi energy food that is underrated albeit very expensive to purchase retail however cheap as when you make your own :) and can be done in the Oven as well as a dehydrator.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby mikethepike » Tue 28 Dec, 2010 2:33 pm

Orion wrote:
"No, nothing is as calorically dense as pure fat. But lots of low-fat foods are as dense or denser than many fatty ones."

That statement can only apply when the relevent foods are compared on their 'fresh weight' basis and not their 'dry matter' ( nil water) basis. Food nutrient value tables will give both values or indicate the water content for each food item tabled so that comparison on an 'as eaten' basis can be made. On a DM basis, a food with a higher fat content will have more energy than one with less.

The question that I ask is - what's wrong with fat on a bushwalk anyway? Saturated fats are blamed for hardening of arteries and heart disease in contemporray western society but I believe that the relationship is lifestyle dependent. Oldtimers who worked long physically hard days (eg people 'on the land' ) generally had much higher dietary fat that modern recommendations suggest (an inch of fat on the steak was the accepted norm) yet heart disease wasn't the problem then as it is now. Re obesity, fat is often blamed but overeating is often the dominant factor. The story is a bit complicated by the fact that fatty foods are highy palatable but studies have shown that people moving to a lower fat diet don't necessarily lose weight because they compersate by eating more food - the body's intake-satiation feedback and control system is responsible for this and may unfortunately get a bad setting in any stage of life from in utero to and during adulthood. And in support of this, I heard recently that low carb beers have no effect on bodyweight! :? Sob! Sob!

I suspect that saturated animal fats may have taken a lot of the blame for health problems arising from trans fatty acids and which used for example, once be very high in some of the cheaper margerines. Still it pays to hedge your bets and few of us now work long physically hard days so we have olive oil at home ('homemade' from feral olives) as this oil is high in the good monosat'd fatty acids and has a long history of use.

In summary, I think that if you're out on an extended walk in miserable conditions (read wet, cold and windy), you may need all the fat you can get and while you're about it, all the artificial colours, flavours and preservatives you can get your hands on! :lol:
Last edited by mikethepike on Tue 28 Dec, 2010 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby mikethepike » Tue 28 Dec, 2010 3:04 pm

Swifty wrote:You're walking, right? You're probably burning 6000 calories a day and consuming about half that. Eating "fat" is of no consequence: it gets burnt first.
Restricting fat intake is for the sedentary lifestyle on a couch. You needn't worry.


I think that this is what I was trying to say Swifty but you've done it in a couple of lines!
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Orion » Wed 29 Dec, 2010 2:51 am

Mike, I don't know if you misunderstood my point or are just making one of your own. But I wasn't advocating a low fat diet while bushwalking. I am not knowledgeable enough about nutrition to make dietary recommendations. And I suspect that, unless bushwalking is your occupation, it probably doesn't matter that much what you eat during bushwalks as long as it is palatable and digestible. What matters is what one eats the vast majority of the time, which for most of us is when we're NOT out walking.

The problem with comparing foods via their dry weight is that so many common foods are not dry. What are you going to do, freeze dry your salami and cheese? (For the record, salami and cheese are standard foods when I walk, even though I know that they are not the most calorie dense choices).
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby north-north-west » Tue 04 Jan, 2011 5:35 pm

Swifty wrote:You're walking, right? You're probably burning 6000 calories a day and consuming about half that. Eating "fat" is of no consequence: it gets burnt first.
Restricting fat intake is for the sedentary lifestyle on a couch. You needn't worry.


Not exactly. Not all fats are equal.
You can be slim and fit and active and still have high cholesterol. This is partly genetically determined and partly due to the amount and type of fat in one's diet.
Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturates is generally good. Macadamias, for instance, while high in fat are very low in saturated fats. Healthy track snacks and the oil's great for cooking. Taste terrific, too.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Liamy77 » Wed 05 Jan, 2011 5:47 pm

and be slightly carefull of how much dried fruit you eat.... it maybe smaller and shrivelled but 30 apricots dry or not can have you diggin in your pack for your trowel and paper!
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby mikethepike » Fri 14 Jan, 2011 12:07 pm

Orion wrote:Mike, I don't know if you misunderstood my point or are just making one of your own. But I wasn't advocating a low fat diet while bushwalking.

I was making my own point Orion and was just trying to clarify the relationship between the fat and energy content of individual food items or complete rations. Re 'Low fat, high energy: the challenge" there is no challenge because it's an oxymoron.
Orion wrote:The problem with comparing foods via their dry weight is that so many common foods are not dry. What are you going to do, freeze dry your salami and cheese?

The reason I mentioned dry matter is because it's only by comparing foods of different dry matters that a lower fat food could ever have more energy than a higher fat food of the same weight and for this happen, the higher fat food would need to have more than double the water content of the lower fat one. So I was just covering my butt! Take your own dried beans vs cheese comparison. They may have similar energy content because while the dried beans contain much less fat, they also contain much less water but once you soak and cook the beans, a meal of those cooked beans will have less energy than the same weight of (chedder type) cheese. Apart from my butt-covering for the sake of the above discussion, water content of foods generally isn't a consideration as we all know as most bushwalking foods are 'dry' anyway or are processed dry enough so as not go mouldy as well as reduce their weight of water. The main exceptions might be artificially preserved foods which include salamis and luxuries like fresh apples but if you walk in semiarid places, a fresh apple weighs no more than a dried apple with the equvalent amount of water needed to be carried between dry camps.

The main practical value of being concerned with the fat content of your ration on an extended walk is that for a given intended daily energy consumption, a higher fat diet means less weight of food. For example, on a 10 day walk you would initially be setting out with 700 to 900 g less food if you packed a moderate 15% fat ration compared witha low 5% fat ration. The reason for the weight range depends on your food (energy) requirements which depend on your weight and resting metabolic rate, how long and hard the walking days, heat loss in cold weather and how much body fat you don't mind losing.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Orion » Sat 15 Jan, 2011 9:37 am

mikethepike wrote:...once you soak and cook the beans, a meal of those cooked beans will have less energy

True, but for most walkers the weight that matters is the pack weight, not the cooked weight.

...water content of foods generally isn't a consideration as we all know as most bushwalking foods are 'dry' anyway or are processed dry enough so as not go mouldy as well as reduce their weight of water.

I don't think this is true in general. I can think of many common "bushwalking foods" that contain a significant amount of moisture. The person who started this thread mentioned cheese and salami. There are many different kinds of both but the ones I most typically carry are 35-45% water.

The main practical value of being concerned with the fat content of your ration on an extended walk is that for a given intended daily energy consumption, a higher fat diet means less weight of food.

I agree. But palatability and digestibility are very important as well. Otherwise we would each just carry a platypus of vegetable oil as food.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Area54 » Sat 30 Jul, 2011 9:33 am

Dates and Licorice are a solid mainstay for me on audax rides. Jellied lollies are also good, but feel a bit plasticky day after day.
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Stibb » Sat 30 Jul, 2011 9:56 am

Yeah, dates are great little energy packets. Often a small handful of dates, cashew nuts and dried apricots is all I need for lunch.

Area54 wrote: ...Licorice...

*drool*
Oh, if I could only get real salty licorice (salmiak) here :cry:
My mum always ships a kilo or two for X-mas but I finish it in a couple of days resulting in serious tummy ache. It would be better if I could get it all year round so I didn't have to overdose :D
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Orion » Sat 30 Jul, 2011 12:36 pm

Stibb, I'm not a huge fan of the salty-ammonia "dubbel zout" dutch style licorice but my girlfriend loves it. She bought some at a little shop in Hobart the first time we visited. Are you sure it isn't still available there?
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Re: Low fat, high energy; the challenge.

Postby Stibb » Sat 30 Jul, 2011 12:56 pm

I'm picky. It gotta be Scandinavian :wink: But then again, in desperate times I could live with the dutch variety I guess :|
I haven't seen it here but I gave up looking for it ages ago. Might have to do a new search. *starts shaking in anticipation*
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