The keto diet is often not the performance boosting mechanism it is claimed to be, according to Dr Mark Evans, postdoctoral researcher at University College Dublin. The keto diet has been touted as a way to take of advantage of the body’s large fat stores to fuel exercise for longer and improve exercise performance, however, it’s important to consider how intense that exercise is going to be. For a person to follow a ketogenic diet they must get 80-85% of their calories from fat, consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and the remaining 15% of their calories from protein. If a person can reach a ‘ketogenic state’ then they will be able to take advantage of their fat stores and the argument is that they will have access to more energy. Based on the evidence so far, reaching a ketogenic status means you might not impair your performance at lower intensities of exercise but is likely to be detrimental to high intensity performance. Dr Evans believes a lot of the studies testing the use of ketone supplements on athletic performance have been confused with studies on people following a keto diet. His studies concentrated on raising ketone levels in the blood by supplementing the person with ketones which is very different to the person following a keto diet. The person is still taking in a sufficient amount of carbs for high intensity performance but they are taking on supplements to elevate their level of ketones.
Lightbulb Moment: To truly be following a Keto diet, dieters’ risk cognitive function impairment due to the limited carbs allowed by the diet. What researchers are finding is that it is not the keto diet that helps athletes, but the addition of ketones to their diet that helps performance. Trying to figure out how keto fits into your business? Culinary Tides can help.