Being a self-aware hiker, I have gotten very much aware of some big facts, or myths as I should call them, about hiking nutrition. These myths, over the years, have been blown out of proportion. Many people have come to believe these urban legends, but here's the truth about some of the most common ones.

"All foods types are no different from each other"

One of the biggest nutrition-related myths with hiking is that there exists no difference between carbs, proteins and fats. But the reality is just the other way around; food is not to be messed around with. Every food type differs from the other one, carbohydrates are absolutely different from proteins. Hydrogenated oils and the dreaded trans fats are to be avoided while hiking, as they are not meant to be consumed instead of more healthy foods. At the same time, poultry and eggs have a higher level of the venerated omega 3, which is the best thing your body needs when you are up on hiking.

The Liquid Diet Myth

The most common myths of all is that you ought to be taking a liquid diet, which includes water or an energy drink. This, in reality, is utterly useless, and instead drinking water mixed with salt would help your body in retaining water, as well as warding off hyponatremia if you are out in hot weather. NaCl, aka "salt", is considered crucial because it helps in maintaining your blood pressure, in balancing fluids, and even helps to activate your muscles. Whereas bottled sport drinks contain nearly no salt, they are high on sugar content, and this does not help in transmitting nerve impulses or activating those muscles.

Energy bars keep you going

It is nothing close to reality to say that nutrition bars or energy bars are a great source of energy fuel. They contain sugars which can cause blood sugar levels to go up and down. On a hard trail run or on ski tour, one should turn to natural sources of sugar like fruits, honey and maple syrup for a quick energy boost. One of the best things to have while going up on a trail is a sandwich, which won’t let you get exhausted easily. Spreading some peanut butter on two slices of brown bread is going to give you high amounts of energy to continue with your hike. This way it wouldn’t waste a lot of your energy either.

Dehydrated foods are nutritious

Although frozen foods are easy and cheaply available, they still do not have nutrients good enough to help you during hiking. Whereas on the other hand, freeze dried foods are more nutritional, they are more fresh than the frozen foods and dehydrated foods. It is generally well known that when dehydrated foods are cooked or heated for the first time, they tend to lose their nutrients. Freeze dried foods maintain the food’s cellular walls and retain the health benefits which are necessary for hiking. According to what I have seen and noticed in my own experience, freeze dried foods last for much longer periods of time than dehydrated foods or frozen foods.

Believing such myths wouldn’t help anyone in becoming a better hiker. To hike, all you need is to believe in yourself.