KETO & ENDURANCE ATHLETES
Can I write a keto plan?
I understand how the diet works (and doesn’t work), but when it comes to athletic populations, and yes, you endurance athletes this applies to you too...
Keto is not superior in enhancing performance.
When individuals severely restrict carb intake for an extended period of time, the body can adapt to burning fat as fuel, producing ketones that can provide the body and brain energy.
Putting aside the allure of keto for weight loss, let’s talk specifically about performance.
Endurance trained athletes might find keto attractive as the body has basically unlimited fat reserves, allowing it to pull calories from these stores and allow the athlete to keep going without “bonking” due to low levels of blood glucose (sugar).
However, here’s the deal, if you’re doing everything right in regards to keto, you may be able to obtain SIMILAR performance levels, at best, to following a high carb diet, during steady state exercise, however the oxygen cost of exercise increases as it takes more oxygen to release energy from fat as compared to carbohydrate.
You also are missing out on fuel for metabolic pathways that enable rapid bursts of high intensity activity.
That kick at the end of the race? None of the right kind of gas for that.
Transitioning to keto takes time and commitment to adapt the body properly…all the while performance suffers - headache, brain fog, fatigue, irritability, constipation, difficulty sleeping.
All in all - there’s an enormous cost and commitment required to successfully adopt a keto diet as an athlete…with the pay off being lower levels of performance, or similar, at best.
Sports Dietitian recommendation…pass on keto.
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