Nutrition on the Trails

Two women eating sandwiches on a hike

July is National Park and Recreation Month! If you like hiking, here are some simple nutrition tips:

  • Stay energized by eating carbohydrates. Carbs give you energy, especially for long hikes. Examples of carbs include dried fruit, cereals, or granola bars. Aim for 30–60 grams of carbs per hour for hikes lasting 1 to 2.5 hours, such as an apple, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a cup of pretzels. For longer hikes, eat 60–90 grams of carbs per hour, like 2 bananas, 2 granola bars, or a bagel with cream cheese.
  • Eat protein to build muscle. Carbs are not the only thing you should eat while hiking—protein is also important to eat! Some examples of foods with protein are meats, nuts, and beans. Protein is important for muscle strength during hikes.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water regularly, even if you are not thirsty. If you go on longer hikes or it is hot outside, you may need sodium. Sodium helps the body hold on to water. Aim for 300–600 mg of sodium during long hikes. You can get sodium from salty snacks or electrolyte drinks.

Take-along Trail Mix is a great snack option for hiking because it has carbs, protein, and sodium. Happy hiking!

Source: National Library of Medicine, go.iastate.edu/7WWAPE

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto (Ketogenic) diet promotes weight loss by causing ketosis. Ketosis is when the body breaks down fat for energy. This happens every day, depending on what and how often we eat, but the keto diet increases ketosis frequency, which can lead to weight loss.

moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are restricted to 50 grams or less per day. For reference, a large apple has 25 grams, half a cup of beans 22 grams, and 1 cup pasta 45 grams. Those on a Keto diet are restricting grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt.

Cutting board with vegetables

What’s the problem? First, the body needs carbohydrates for energy. Second, restricting carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less can reduce the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from plant foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains). It is not for people with issues with their pancreas, kidneys, liver, or thyroid.

Is it safe for someone with diabetes? That depends on the type of diabetes as well as other health conditions a person has. It is possible the Keto diet may help with weight loss and blood glucose control, but sometimes it makes diabetes worse. People with diabetes should consult their diabetes care team before making any dietary changes, including Keto.

Source: Eat Right, go.iastate.edu/LLRMCR

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