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In this question Suitable food for high altitude trekking Wedapashi asks about food for high altitude trekking. Also, in this question, there is a discussion about engergy bars. One of the answers given by whatsisname mentions that Jerky can be carried if "you have unlimited access to water".

In wake of the above mentioned discussions, do energy bars/drinks have a possible dehydrating effect? Is it a safe bet to carry energy bars/nutrition bars for high altitude treks where a threat of dehydration is already high due to the loss of moisture while breathing? (I believe jerky is out of question on high altitude treks)

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A lot of people, including me, experience a loss of appetite at high altitude. To deal with this, I find that I need to bring a variety of food, and also food that I find enticing. I wouldn't bring a type of bar that didn't seem appetizing to me at home, and I wouldn't bring more than one of the same type of bar. –  Ben Crowell Nov 1 '13 at 3:26
    
Energy drinks won't present a dehydration problem, so I'm not sure why you have included that. And energy bars come in various guises from a dry, trail-mix type through to bars coated in yoghurt or chocolate with soft fruit in the middle, so I think the question may be a bit broad to answer effectively. –  Rory Alsop Nov 1 '13 at 10:28
    
@RoryAlsop Energy drinks are not "hydrating" as well. Hence the question. I understand that there are different types of energy bars. But if no type energy bar can lead to dehydration, it can be provided as an answer and that would clarify the point raised. Cheers! –  Unsung Nov 5 '13 at 6:38
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@RoryAlsop Energy drinks often contain caffeine, which is a natural diuretic and can dehydrate you. –  crasic Nov 6 '13 at 18:42

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Energy bars (and protein bars, power bars, etc) are typically dehydrated in order to improve shelf life as well as increase the ratio of calories/nutrients to weight. Their longevity and energy per ounce make them ideal foods for hikers and mountaineers, but your body will require some additional water to metabolize the nutrients and ingredients. However, the amount is no where near as much as beef jerky will require to digest, which is both dehydrated and extremely high in salt and nitrates.

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