Ketogenic diet - okay for top athletes?

Discussion in 'Dieting / Supplement Discussion' started by repsakv, May 22, 2018.

  1. repsakv

    repsakv White Belt

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    You hear so much about the ketogenic diet and how much benefits it has. To be honest, it's too strict for me and i wont try it.
    But just out of curiousity, despite the hype it seems like top athletes are not adopting the diet. Why is that?
    Or am i wrong and does somebody know examples if athletes who are keto?
     
  2. beat...people...up?

    beat...people...up? Orange Belt

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    If you dig deep enough into even those rare athletes who claim to be keto, you'll find they supplement with carbs during or around their competitions. (Even bodybuilders who keto diet to get to the stage often take in some simple carbs for muscle fullness day-of).

    You know how the body's energy systems work, right? So basically you have three types of activity:

    1. Purely anaerobic (relies upon creatine phosphate and is used in efforts of roughly 6 seconds or less)

    2. Anaerobic-glycolytic (relies on anaerobic glycolysis--meaning it does use glycogen, which comes from carbohydrate--medium duration of up to 2 minutes effort)

    3. Aerobic (ATP in this case can come from both fatty acids AND glycogen stores, depending heavily on intensity, so that you can burn more or less fat vs. carbohydrate for fuel; at lower intensities you burn a higher percentage of fat)

    It's #3 that is most interesting, because some endurance athletes have tested as using a huge percentage of fatty acids vs. carbohydrate as their energy substrate during aerobic exercise. If you are running/cycling/whatever at 70% of your V02max or below you can probably take in minimal carbs, for instance. But if you are putting forth a greater effort then you will need some carbohydrate for fuel as you'll tip into more glycolysis. This also depends very heavily on the individual. Some people burn more fat and some burn more carbohydrate during aerobic efforts.

    Interestingly, neither super-short efforts (creatine phosphate pathway) nor super-long efforts (low end of aerobic ATP synthesis) require [much] glucose. It's the ones in the middle (that anaerobic-glycolytic, or even HARD aerobic efforts that are, because they are hard, shorter in duration) that do need more glucose to accomplish. For instance, I don't think a mile runner would do well on a ketogenic diet because they are working at near-100% of their aerobic capacity--impossible to reach burning solely fat for fuel.

    Considering that most grappling matches are about 5-10 minutes long, they are indeed mostly aerobic. They are quite intense, though, and so most grapplers would do better with some carbohydrate as fuel. I don't think many people are at 70% of V02max effort or below in a tournament setting.

    Cyclical ketogenic diets are probably the most any elite athlete would do. AFAIK. I say this will likely be true EVEN IF they publicly claim otherwise.
     
  3. physiology

    physiology White Belt

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  4. therealdope

    therealdope Steel Belt

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    cyclists now are super crazy about their weight. It makes a massive difference climbing. OTOH - when you're on the road for 5+ hrs, carbs and simple sugars are the only thing that will keep you from bonking.

    An old Italian guy who mentored me when I was 14 is from a northern area of Italy. He weighed something like 140lbs (max) when he raced and I remember him telling me that for very long races (6-8hrs), he would take a thin steak and stick it in his jersey. He said he chewed on it the entire race. Don't think any modern cyclist does that but it's interesting that this was his go-to food for long races.

    FWIW - he said that it was just lightly browned on the outside.
     
  5. beat...people...up?

    beat...people...up? Orange Belt

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    That sounds fascinating but I can't get over the image of a rare steak bleeding on someone inside of his cycling jersey.

    Then again, the Mongolian Empire's cavalry used to stop and drink the blood of their own horses when they ran out of other food, so...
     
  6. therealdope

    therealdope Steel Belt

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    He claimed he stuffed in the FRONT of this jersey and woulds just pull it up to chew on it.

    Funny story, the evil guy in the Kevin Costner movie American Flyers was based on this guy. The character's name is exactly the same except for one letter. It makes sense since the films writer raced at the time when this guy came to the US from Italy.
     
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  7. physiology

    physiology White Belt

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  8. physiology

    physiology White Belt

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    Physiologically speaking, ketones are not as effective as glucose to provide fuel for very intense muscle contractions. And while the average Joe who doesn't train that hard might not notice it, for someone who knows what it means to work hard, it can make a difference. <--------THIS SAYS IT ALL.
     
  9. Ultra O’Dia

    Ultra O’Dia Green Belt

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    I remember my first bonk. Lol. I didn’t know what was happening at all. I was in great shape in an MMA/CrossFit under thirty minutes hard pace way, and decided to go on a 200k bike ride, having been riding my new bike on local hills, hard, but only maybe 20k max.
    I asked a woman how far it was to the next town about 100k in, rather than stop at the tiny gas station there, she said 10k. It was more like 20, and at about ten I started to lose it. I was cursing her, nearly crying, ready to lay down in the ditch and die. Absolutely no idea why this was happening. To my way of thinking, my lungs and heart were fine, my legs were there, and it was a flat section. Had no clue about glycogen.
    Got to a Walmart, went in for the age old go tos - tuna, protein bar, nuts....... what the fuck is that! It’s a lemon meringue pie! All of a sudden I was a hummingbird, my body knew it needed sugar. So, I sat outside and ate a pie and a two litre of lemonade. Didn’t touch the tuna. Made it the last 80k.
    Immediately told my paleo buddy, after I researched what the fuck had just happened. We argued until we watched the CrossFit Games a year later, where they did a longer race, about an hour long. Those guys were basically walking the last mile, or a lot of them... likely the paleo ones.
    I doubt Keto is good for real athletic competition. Fine for losing weight, and probably fine for personal bodybuilding.
     
  10. therealdope

    therealdope Steel Belt

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    You would be surprised how many beers at the Ceeps have kept a UWO cross country runner in a race :rolleyes:
     
  11. Frode Falch

    Frode Falch Gold Belt Professional Fighter

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    You need carbs to work hard.
     
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  12. Myprotein

    Myprotein White Belt

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    For health purposes - Keto
    For performance - eat carbs
     
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  13. Savant21

    Savant21 Blue Belt

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    It's doesn't make sense how people say you can't build muscle on a low carb diet. The old school bodybuilders of the 70s (Arnold's era) ate low carb, exercised intensely & built muscle (they only took testosterone, they didn't take HGH & insulin). They were bodybuilders & "not real" athletes but they ate low carb & still built muscle & were athletic overall.
     
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  14. harn123

    harn123 White Belt

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    It has also side effects like dizziness, craving for sugar, constipation, low blood sugar. So should we switch to Keto diet?
     
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  15. Sharon Peters

    Sharon Peters Sassy Belt

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    I'm keto most of the time and you can look in my workout log and tell what days i worked out after a cheat day. Carbs>Steroids
     
  16. Bluesbreaker

    Bluesbreaker Brown Belt

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    Okay for kids with epilepsy.
     
  17. dizzydean

    dizzydean Blue Belt

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    I went on the keto diet 2 weeks before a jiu jitsu comp. What I noticed is that keto is great for reducing anxiety levels. I hardly had any pre-comp jitters, I had a good confident mindset. I did pretty well in the comp. I think it helps with endurance. The experts do say that keto is not great for explosive spurts and that it will take 3-6 months to be keto adapted and be at peak performance. I think everyone is different, some utilize glucose efficiently and if you do, you might as well just stick to it. I primarily tried the keto diet as my blood sugar levels were borderline pre-diabetic. Listen to Dom D'Agostino at JRE podcast.
     
  18. JDB

    JDB Brown Belt

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    No, its terrible, especially if your sport is cardio intensive.
     
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