Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

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nirakaro
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Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby nirakaro » 21 Dec 2020, 11:53am

If you're trekking to the south pole, AIUI, you choose a diet of chocolate and butter – which seems like another good reason for not trekking to the south pole; climbers, I've heard, carry nuts & raisins for a summit attempt. What are the best things to carry on a bike?
Personally I like to make panforte, which is a hard cake made from chopped nuts, candied fruit, honey, sugar, flour and spices. I'm always looking for other ideas though.

Jdsk
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby Jdsk » 21 Dec 2020, 11:55am

Fat is always going to provide more energy than the same mass of carbohydrate or protein, about 37 kJ/g compared to 17.

Jonathan

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simonineaston
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby simonineaston » 21 Dec 2020, 12:48pm

I noted with wry amusement the last time I watched Steve serve up yet another MRE - in this instance one intended for prolonged cold-climate action... that the pack with the higher calorific value weighs less than the less energy-full, non-Arctic version! The difference of course is made up by it needing more water, however if you're surrounded by snow, I guess it's not an issue. :wink:
Mmm, freeze-dried custard with mixed fruit - sounds pretty decadent!
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hamster
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby hamster » 21 Dec 2020, 12:52pm

Jdsk wrote:Fat is always going to provide more energy than the same mass of carbohydrate or protein, about 37 kJ/g compared to 17.

Jonathan


A lot of people on ultra long-distance races use simple things like blocks of cheese.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 Dec 2020, 1:26pm

I used to take plain peanuts not roasted or salted. Various cured meat products like chorizo, salami or pepperoni. Mostly for evening snacks and emergency food between meals on the way that was for backpacking though. Lunch was usually primula type cheese or a better version in a packet/tub to eat with pancakes. That's lunch sorted perhaps with a Chinese import noodle packet. Dinner was a dehydrated food pack. Supper peanuts just before I turn in to give me plenty of slow burn warmth. Seriously peanuts can effectively update your sleeping bag by a few degrees, something which a liner really can't do. Thermogenesis I think I heard it called once.

Jdsk
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby Jdsk » 21 Dec 2020, 1:46pm

Thermogenesis means making heat... I'm not aware of any special property of peanuts in that regard. But they are about half fat by mass.

Jonathan

nirakaro
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby nirakaro » 21 Dec 2020, 3:30pm

Jdsk wrote:Fat is always going to provide more energy than the same mass of carbohydrate or protein, about 37 kJ/g compared to 17.

Jonathan

Yes – so taking it to the extreme, we'd just carry around blocks of lard that we could gnaw on. Setting aside the lack of appeal though, I suspect our digestive systems would pretty quickly rebel against such a diet. I'm curious to know, though, how far down that road we can go while still eating something reasonably healthy and reasonably appetising.


hamster
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby hamster » 22 Dec 2020, 10:04am

nirakaro wrote:
Jdsk wrote:Fat is always going to provide more energy than the same mass of carbohydrate or protein, about 37 kJ/g compared to 17.

Jonathan

Yes – so taking it to the extreme, we'd just carry around blocks of lard that we could gnaw on. Setting aside the lack of appeal though, I suspect our digestive systems would pretty quickly rebel against such a diet. I'm curious to know, though, how far down that road we can go while still eating something reasonably healthy and reasonably appetising.


Agreed! Digestion will be a serious problem. However it's similar to what people take on Iditabike as there is a minimum calorie requirement in supplies.

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pjclinch
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby pjclinch » 22 Dec 2020, 10:21am

It's not just about energy though, it's how accessible that energy is. Fat, as has been pointed out, is the most concentrated store of energy, but it's relatively hard for the body to get at it quickly: carbs tend to be your friend there, but in the case of refined sugars these can boost blood sugar so fast they can result in the body over-compensating with insulin so after a quick peak you get a bit of a trough. The overall profile of your exercise may mean that's good or bad. By "profile" I mean total energy budget and how you spread it around, so trekking to the pole is probably very steady, lots of energy needed but spread out. Riding up and down lots of hills is intervals with hard work followed by rest and then repeat. The polar work probably responds better to blocks of lard and the second to energy gels.

Also, it helps if it's something you like. I've had occasions where I've worked my way through something pretty grim because I knew I'd need the energy, and it's a pretty horrible thing to have to do. Overall I'd much rather have reasonably effective food that I actually like eating than amazingly effective food that's unappetising and is a chore to eat (that's at the taste-buds level, before worrying about the biochemistry of digestion). Rochelle Gilmour commented during some commentary this year that she had really enjoyed not eating any energy gels since she retired!

The panforte sounds good.
When I finally got round to riding a century I took a box of flapjacks made to a recipe suggestion passed on by Emma Pooley (who obviously knows a thing or two about serious bike riding, but it turns out also about baking). Rather than the sugar and butter of the standard recipe, which is very nice but not brilliantly balanced for athletic nutrition, she suggested a mix of condensed milk and shredded apple as the binder for the oats. Add a load of raisins and that turned out to be a really good recipe where I could happily dip in to the supply at every pause, get some benefit and not end up hating it.

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pjclinch
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby pjclinch » 22 Dec 2020, 10:27am

hamster wrote:
Jdsk wrote:Fat is always going to provide more energy than the same mass of carbohydrate or protein, about 37 kJ/g compared to 17.


A lot of people on ultra long-distance races use simple things like blocks of cheese.


According to Ian Walker, ultra-distance cycle racer and North to South Europe record holder, the perfect food for that (but not necessarily anything else) is the "7 Days Croissant" (see https://www.7days.com/en/croissants/)

Part of the appeal is contextual: easily available from petrol stations across Europe and a heady mix of carbs and fat that you can eat without stopping. He does point out that any relationship to a good bakery croissant is somewhat notional, and one needs to bear in mind the energy requirements for hundreds of miles a day, day after day, are well beyond what most of us need.

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hamster
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby hamster » 22 Dec 2020, 11:29am

Agreed on Panforte. The Veloforte bars are exactly that and certainly are my fuel of choice on long multi-day rides. Personally I cannot bear gels.

st599_uk
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby st599_uk » 22 Dec 2020, 11:30am

pjclinch wrote:It's not just about energy though, it's how accessible that energy is. Fat, as has been pointed out, is the most concentrated store of energy, but it's relatively hard for the body to get at it quickly: carbs tend to be your friend there, but in the case of refined sugars these can boost blood sugar so fast they can result in the body over-compensating with insulin so after a quick peak you get a bit of a trough. The overall profile of your exercise may mean that's good or bad. By "profile" I mean total energy budget and how you spread it around, so trekking to the pole is probably very steady, lots of energy needed but spread out. Riding up and down lots of hills is intervals with hard work followed by rest and then repeat. The polar work probably responds better to blocks of lard and the second to energy gels.

Also, it helps if it's something you like. I've had occasions where I've worked my way through something pretty grim because I knew I'd need the energy, and it's a pretty horrible thing to have to do. Overall I'd much rather have reasonably effective food that I actually like eating than amazingly effective food that's unappetising and is a chore to eat (that's at the taste-buds level, before worrying about the biochemistry of digestion). Rochelle Gilmour commented during some commentary this year that she had really enjoyed not eating any energy gels since she retired!

The panforte sounds good.
When I finally got round to riding a century I took a box of flapjacks made to a recipe suggestion passed on by Emma Pooley (who obviously knows a thing or two about serious bike riding, but it turns out also about baking). Rather than the sugar and butter of the standard recipe, which is very nice but not brilliantly balanced for athletic nutrition, she suggested a mix of condensed milk and shredded apple as the binder for the oats. Add a load of raisins and that turned out to be a really good recipe where I could happily dip in to the supply at every pause, get some benefit and not end up hating it.

Pete.



There's a show on Amazon Prime where a Tour de France chef takes you through planning and making stuff for long rides. She hates the glucose gels as they give you a big hit, followed by a big drop as the body reacts. They're just about ok for a TdF cyclist sprinting but not good for the recreational cyclist. She says you'd be better off with a slice of German cake (which is less sweet than British cake) as it has fat and lowish GI carbs.

Personally, I have a low carb diet and use chocolate brownies with really dark chocolate, lots of nuts, powdered almonds instead of flour bound together with dates. Comes out at about 10g carbs per slice.
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scottg
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby scottg » 22 Dec 2020, 1:43pm

Jonathan[/quote]
Yes – so taking it to the extreme, we'd just carry around blocks of lard that we could gnaw on.[snip][/quote]

Seal blubber, works for the Inuit.

Took a friend on tour, once he discovered Ritter Sport bars at the train station, he was set. :)
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LittleGreyCat
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Re: Food with maximum energy for minimum weight

Postby LittleGreyCat » 23 Dec 2020, 8:15pm

My high fat low carbohydrate treat is chocolate truffles.

300 ml double cream
300 grams dark chocolate
50 grams butter

Just heat the cream until almost simmering, turn off the heat, add the butter then slowly add the chocolate stirring gently.

As it cools you can form it into balls or pour it into a silicone mould (ice cube moulds work).

This is very high fat and also very tasty (to me).
Main problem is the tendency to melt in warm weather.