A new research has found that a keto diet is bad news for some athletes who turn to the diet to boost their performance.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is essentially a low-carb, high-fat diet, which forces the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, and it achieves this by starving the body of carbohydrates.
Once the human body is in a state of ketosis, it starts producing ketones through the liver, which becomes the main source of energy for the body.
A lot of people turn to this diet to lose weight, and many endurance athletes have found success with the ketogenic diet because fat is a more efficient source of energy as opposed to carbs. However, a new study, published last month in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, has found that a ketogenic diet can negatively affect the performance of certain athletes.
Keto Diet Affects Athletes' Anaerobic Performance
A new study conducted by Saint Louis University found that athletes of high-intensity, short-duration sports might see a decline in their performance levels while on the low-carb, high-fat diet.
Researchers from Saint Louis University examined the anaerobic performance of 16 individuals, including both men and women, on a low-carb keto diet as opposed to a high-carb diet over a duration of four days.
The results revealed that candidates on a ketogenic diet did not perform as well as those who consumed more carbs. Those who were on a low-carb diet performed between 4 and 15 percent lower than the high-carb group, depending on the anaerobic exercise task performed by them.
The author of the study Edward Weiss pointed out that the results are significant for athletes of sports that are dependent on short-burst anaerobic activities. These include any sprint-based activities in sports such as soccer and basketball as well as short but intense sports like a 100-meter sprint or a triple jump.
He added that the study "probably also applies to many aerobic activities, as other studies have demonstrated that high-intensity aerobic exercise performance may be compromised by low-carb diets — including keto."
Weiss also warned athletes against following a keto diet until and unless there are "compelling reasons" to turn to a low-carb diet. He noted that further research will provide more insight into the advantages and disadvantages of a ketogenic diet for athletes. Until then, he has recommended them to "err on the cautious side."