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athletic performance on the keto diet I’m gonna be playing devil’s advocate here why because I want to give you an unbiased look at things I’m not here to just preach at the keto diet is great or preach that one way is better than the other I want to look at the data I want to help you make an educated decision yourself so I playing devil’s advocate and looking at studies that might lean away from the keto diet versus studies that lean towards the keto diet I think we get a good solid answer so many people are coming out and saying that on the keto diet you lose athletic performance that you just don’t perform as well your anaerobic peak performance goes down and that is not the way you should live well let’s take a good deep dive in this and let’s figure it out at the end of the video hey if you haven’t already make sure you hit that subscribe button we got new videos every single Tuesday Friday and Sunday here on the Internet’s and leading performance and nutrition channel for not just the ketogenic diet and fasting but for all walks of life when it comes down to nutrition also make sure you check out Haile calm so you can make sure that you get the premium performance prepare all that I’m always wearing my videos ok so let’s go ahead and start with a study that is actually against the grain of what we’re talking about with keto I actually want to lead off with a study that says that keto is not good for performance so this study was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and physical fitness okay and it took a look at 16 men and women and here’s what I had them do these 16 men and women it broke them up into either four days of low carb or four days of high carb first off let me break that down four days of keto and four days of high carb okay we’ll talk about that in a second so then what I had them do is it have them do something known as the Wingate and aerobic test and the yo-yo intermittent recovery test okay so these are two studies that typically measure anaerobic activity so it had both groups consuming the same amount of calories so the same amount of energy just some of them were on a keto style some are on a high carb okay so what they found after these performance tests was that the keto group ended up having a 7% decrease in peak power and ended up having 6% less overall mean power okay so I hear you that’s a very interesting study but there’s one glaring problem that I have to break down here four days four days on a keto diet as those of you that know keto know that day four you’re not even in full ketosis yet in fact you’re probably in the heart of the keto flu you’re not feeling your best you’re definitely not fat adapt and you’re definitely not utilizing fats yet so in my opinion this study is completely null and void because these people were just on a low-carb diet they’re in that ambiguous gray area between their body being able to use carbs and use fat in fact their body was probably trying to use carbs but there was nothing left because they were right in that gray area where they were about to get into ketosis so in my opinion not really fair they were using urine test strips to see that they were indeed in ketosis but that’s not the end-all be-all if you’ve seen my other videos so let’s go ahead and let’s lead into another study that talks about muscle building and how the body preserves muscle and ketogenic diet because I think they all kind of work together so this study was published in the International Society of sports nutrition okay and it took a look at a high carb group versus a low carb group both of which were resistance trained men okay so they had them go for 11 weeks on either high carb or low carb and they measured their overall muscle mass and fat loss at the end of these 11 weeks well they found that the keto group had a two point one kilogram greater increase in muscle mass in the high carb group not a two point one kilogram increased a two point one kilogram greater increase than the high carb group but they also found that the keto group had a zero point seven kilogram greater fat loss than the high carb group whoa whoa whoa you’re telling me that the keto group built muscle and burn fat at the same time okay so let’s just back up for one second and let’s think about that first study that talked about a decline in performance hypothetically let’s say that that study is totally accurate and holds merit across the board unless you are really aiming for performance personally I wouldn’t care if I had a six percent loss in mean power if it meant that I was actually gonna still build more muscle and burn more fat I could live without the six percent if I knew that I was going to be achieving those kind of cosmetic physiological results so not saying that the first one is null and void entirely but I’m just saying that if we’re looking at this realistically then yeah who cares okay but the question still remains what about athletic performance I mean if you’re an Olympic athlete or you’re someone that really needs to perform you want to know that you’re getting the best possible fuel that’s where this next study comes in that was published in the journal metabolism this study took a look at 20 athletes and the thing I really liked about this study is they did it right okay they took 20 athletes and they had them go on either a high carb or a keto diet for 20 months 20 months to make sure that they truly got the full gist of whatever diet they were on 20 months of keto is gonna get you keto adapted this isn’t four days of keto and calling it heat oh so then what they did is after these 20 months they had each respective group consume a three hundred and forty calories shake prior to a workout now the low carb group ended up having a three hundred and forty calorie low-carb shake and the high carb group had a three hundred and forty calorie high carb shake same energy they just different macronutrients of course well guess what at the end of the workout they found that the keto group ended up utilizing 2.3 times more fat as a fuel source than the other group okay but that doesn’t really talk about performance but what they did find was that both groups used the same amount of carbohydrates for fuel wait a minute I’ve thought about this in another video before but here it isn’t a little bit of a different context so you’re telling me that the keto group used just as many carbs as the non keto group when exercising so something kind of doesn’t add up here what’s actually going on well no this is actually a cool thing and this is the benefit of keto you actually become dual fuel you see even though there were not carbohydrates coming in through the diet the keto body was able to still create glucose through different pathways for energy so even though the keto group utilized fat as a fuel source they also use carbs as a fuel source which therefore goes to show that when we need that anaerobic energy from glycogen and we have it still even when you’re in keto because the body preserves the glycogen for utilization in times like this the other thing is that when you’re on keto you have a very cool ability to be able to take your lactate which is literally just the exhaust from your workout like it’s the cells create lactate as a by-product you’re able to take that and have it go through what is called lactate glyco neo Genesis and create glucose create energy also go through what’s called the Cori cycle which is similar to the Krebs cycle but slightly different and create energy again so yeah you have this heightened ability to create glucose from thin air when you’re on keto so of course you can still have good performance that’s why they found that both groups had good performance just one group used more fat but both groups use the same amount of carbs but hey to make matters even better both groups were able to restore their glycogen the same way even without consumption of carbohydrates in the keto group all right so I got one more study that I want to throw at you okay this one was also published in the Journal of metabolism this study is really cool because it took conditioned cyclists it took people that were already endurance trained and very high level cyclists and for one week they had them do a baseline traditional diet with like traditional carbohydrates and proteins okay and then after that they had them go for weeks on a ketogenic diet again I really like this study because not for days they had them go for weeks these scientists these researchers got the point they said okay we got to give a baseline and then we have to have them go for four weeks so to get a full solid effect with ketosis okay and then what they had them do is they had them do a spin or gamma Tour test so a cycling ergometer test they had them do this at baseline and then they had them do it again after four weeks of keto they wanted to measure their vo2 max well they found that conditioned athletes had no change in vo2 max so these cyclists have the same vo2 max when they were on ketosis than they did when they are running on carbs four weeks ago okay that just goes to show that if you’re a highly trained athlete your body’s gonna adapt either way okay but it gets even cooler they found the keto diet ended up making it so these athletes were able to increase their time to exhaustion by four minutes so they’d have the same kind of output the same vo2 max but they could go for four minutes longer than they could when they were running on carbohydrates they also found that keto group ended up oxidizing three times less glucose less glucose oxidation means less free radical damage and the body is able to recover better the thing that I really liked about this study is that even the researchers and the scientists that were involved ended up saying and I quote that there were dramatic physiological adaptations that occurred it’s like they were blown away that the body was able to adapt and utilize fats so easily and efficiently so I know this sounds like I’m just compiling a bunch of studies that are Pro keto but quite honestly I just wanted to bunk the fact that keto is going to cause the planning your performance I’ve been Kido and I haven’t been kitto before and honestly I’ve never noticed a difference in my performance I noticed when I’m Kido I have better endurance and I notice that maybe my stamina is a little bit better but overall my strength has never changed I think a lot of it we put in our own heads because we’re reading all the propaganda that’s out there but maybe that’s just my opinion anyway make sure you’re keeping it locked in here on my channel if you have ideas for future videos put them down in the comment section below and we’ll review create some awesome content see you soon
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Athletic Performance on a Keto | Pros & Cons- Thomas DeLauer…
Study published in the journal Metabolism- Elite endurance athletes who eat very few carbohydrates burned more than twice as much fat as high-carb athletes during maximum exertion and prolonged exercise. The study profiled 20 ultra-marathoners and ironman distance triathletes age 21-45 who were top competitors in running events of 50 kilometers (31 miles) or more. One group consumed a traditional high-carbohydrate diet, and the other a low-carbohydrate diet for an average of 20 months. On day one, the athletes ran on a treadmill to determine their maximum oxygen consumption and peak fat-burning rates. On day two, the athletes ran on a treadmill for three hours at an intensity equal to 64% of their maximum oxygen capacity. During this test, they drank water but took in no nutrition – before the run, athletes consumed either low- or high-carb nutrition shakes consisting of about 340 calories. On average, the low-carb runners’ peak fat-burning rate was 2.3-fold higher than the rate for high-carb athletes: 1.5 versus .67 grams per minute. And the average contribution of fat during exercise in the low-carb and high-carb groups was 88% and 56%, respectively. Another key finding: Despite their low intake of carbs, these fat-burning athletes had normal muscle glycogen levels at rest. They also broke down roughly the same level of glycogen as the high-carb runners during the long run, and synthesized the same amount of glycogen in their muscles during recovery as the high-carb athletes.
Why is this?
It’s believed that lactate and/or glycerol, which were two-fold higher at the end of exercise in low carb athletes (and then sharply decreased during recovery), may have provided a source of carbons for glycogen synthesis during recovery. Lactate conversion to glycogen could occur directly (lactate glyconeogenesis) or indirectly via the Cori cycle. Could be that lactate rapidly replenished liver glycogen and it has an ability to maintain hepatic glucose output in the face of limited exogenous carb intake. Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance runners. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Cycling Study – Metabolism-
To study the effect of chronic ketosis on exercise performance in endurance-trained humans, five well-trained cyclists were fed a eucaloric balanced diet (EBD) for 1 week providing 35–50 kcal/kg/d, 1.75 g protein/kg/d and the remainder of kilocalories as two-thirds carbs (CHO) and one-third fat. This was followed by 4 weeks of a eucaloric ketogenic diet (EKD), isocaloric and isonitrogenous with the EBD but providing less than 20 g CHO daily
Both diets were appropriately supplemented to meet the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals. Neither clinical nor biochemical evidence of hypoglycemia was observed during ENDUR at EKD-4 – results indicated that aerobic endurance exercise by well-trained cyclists was not compromised by four weeks of ketosis. This was accomplished by a “dramatic physiologic adaptation” that conserved limited carb stores (both glucose and glycogen) and made fat the predominant muscle substrate (at submaximal power)
Muscle Building Study – Keto vs Traditional Diet-
Study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at the effects of a ketogenic diet on skeletal muscle. The effect of this diet directly compared the effects of a traditional high-carbohydrate diet to the ketogenic diet.
Anaerobic Performance Study – Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness-
Study found that a keto diet can impair anaerobic exercise performance in exercise-trained women and men. 16 men and women participated in the study in which they underwent exercise testing after four days of either a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. Anaerobic exercise performance was evaluated with the Wingate anaerobic cycling test and the yo-yo intermittent recovery test.
The diets were matched for total energy but differed in carbohydrate content – low carb resulted in 7% lower peak power (801 vs. 857 watts) and 6% lower mean power (564 vs. 598 watts) during the
Total distance ran in the yo-yo intermittent recovery test was 15% less after LC diet (887 vs. 1045 meters)
Short-term keto diets reduce exercise performance in activities that are heavily dependent on anaerobic energy systems