Does keto really improve sports performance??

Photo by Rachel Claire on

Theres a huge hype around Keto, its not just the fat loss.

A number of scientists and athletes alike say that low carb, high fat ketogenic diets can help optimize endurance performance!! shall we take a look at what the research says??

The scientific basis for this claim starts with the well established finding, that ketogenic diets, Can more than double the rate in which your body burns fat for energy at higher exercise intensity’s

As an example, on a high carb diet peak Fat oxidization or fat burning occurs at around 45-55% of aerobic capacity, in laymen’s terms that’s a low to moderate exercise intensity ( more commonly known as the fat burning zone?)

as we know when exercise intensity increases, through, your body’s primary fuel source shifts to carbs. this is the main reason nutrition coaches like me typically advise athletes to consume carbohydrate rich diets yet this can change on athletes who are as you may have heard the coined word (KETO-ADAPTED)

they can achieve peak fat oxidization at 70% of there aerobic capacity, this makes fat not carbohydrates the primary fuel source at competition intensity’s I know burning more fat sounds amazing of course but where and how does this effect athletic performance??

The rationale would be if your burning more fat for energy, you’ll conserve more carbohydrates and have a reduced need to refuel during long endurance events, even very lean people have 15x more energy from stored fat that carbs.

the reduced need to refuel decreases the risk of the bonk ( hitting the wall)

Theres less likelyhood of GI distress during exercise.

There is still a lot up for debate when it comes to keto diets but the most important question is


Upon a test where they had a number of cyclists on a higher carb diet and a number of cyclists on a keto diet perform to exhaustion at an intensity of 62-64% of there maximal aerobic capacity.. The keto group managed 151 minutes compared to the carb fed group at 147 minutes ( that four minute difference wasn’t statistically significant)

In conclusion the keto diet makes no significant change in endurance performance.

It also highlights that more fat burning doesn’t translate to better performance so the tradeoffs are simply preference, Of the individual

So basically the send off here is that some people do perform better on certain diets than others so its worth a try if your failing to find a suitable middle ground with what your currently doing to fuel your performances, so the keto practitioners may not be wrong when they share there amazing results on the diet, the key is to not be swayed if there exact diet scheme works for you the individual.


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