Keto for Athletes

Keto for Athletes

July 28, 2019 0 By William Morgan


Information provided in this
presentation is intended for your
general knowledge only and does not
constitute medical advice. I am a medical
physician at the Reno Orthopaedic Cinic
and the owner and developer of Dr.
Ni’s OC2. OC2 is a combination of
vitamin D3, calcium citrate, magnesium and
creatine monohydrate for total frame
support. There’s a lot of buzz about the
ketogenic or keto diet. The keto diet is
a diet that is very low in carbohydrate
intake and high in fat and protein. The
idea is that on a ketogenic diet it’s
easier to lose and maintain weight by
using a fat source instead of a
carbohydrate source for energy fueling
your cells. But for athletes, sports
medicine has traditionally favored
carbohydrates. We’ve recommended for
years that you get in carbohydrates
before, during, and after exercise or
competition. This is because
carbohydrates are a fuel that’s readily
available to our muscles and allow them
to contract. So what happens when
athletes change their fueling from
carbohydrate or glucose-based, to fats or
ketone based diets? Well it turns out
that the research is showing that a keto
diet may help you if you’re an endurance
athlete but work against you if you do
high-intensity or anaerobic sports. In
two recent studies athletes eating a
high carbohydrate diet outperformed
athletes eating a low carbohydrate diet
when tested in activities requiring
short bursts of energy. But interestingly,
those same athletes taking in a high
carbohydrate diet underperformed against
athletes taking in a keto-like or low
carbohydrate diet when tested in
endurance activities. Plus, athletes on a
low carbohydrate diet
also showed improved exercise training
and lower body fat content. So it seems
pretty clear that if you’re not an
endurance athlete, eating a low
carbohydrate diet may actually harm your
athletic performance. But if you are an
endurance athlete does it make sense to
switch to a keto diet to gain the
benefits that we see in the research? I’d
say the answer is “Not so fast.” For one
thing there haven’t really been enough
studies to draw those concrete
conclusions. The numbers of individuals
studies have been low and there have been
some alarming effects that have been
seen in some of the research, including
elevated LDL (cholesterol) levels and loss of lower
extremity strength in studies that have
gone on for longer than 12 weeks. Plus it
appears that muscles may not recover as
well when fueled primarily by ketones.
So the answer to the question “Will keto
benefit me as an endurance athlete?” still
remains unclear. I hope I’ve answered
some of your questions about the current
state of our knowledge about keto and
athletes. And if you’re interested in
learning more about sports performance
please check out my related topics on
exercise, nutrition, creatine and other
topics.