Lets begin with introducing what is ketosis and how to achieve this state. Well, Ketosis is a condition where your Ketones levels are high within your body. These molecules (Ketones) can be seen as alternative fuel for your body, and usually this alternative fuel is used by many organs in the body when its necessary.
Perhaps many of you know that the body is counting on three main macro nutrients as fuel source such as the carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Mainly, the carbohydrates and fats are the primary energy sources, and the protein is utilised as well but in lesser degree.
However, once in the blood stream these macro nutrients get processed and they are broken down to their simplest building blocks, in other words carbohydrates are broken down to glucose, fats to fatty acids, and protein to amino acids.
Mostly, the body uses glucose as well as fatty acids as energy fuel, but our brain relies only on glucose due to the fact that fatty acids cant diffuse into the brain. But in many circumstances such as being in fasted state, our body has a deficit of glucose which eventually our body activates its mechanism to use ketones as alternative fuel.
In the classic Keto diet, the macro nutrients usually consist of 80-90% fats, 10-15% protein, and carbohydrates roughly 5%. You can consume these fats in different forms such as coconut butter/oil, olive oil, nuts, fatty fishes and others. The protein can be acquired through fatty meats and fish, and carbohydrates should be consumed from vegetables.
Usually prior to starting the diet, the body should be in fasted state for 1-2 days. This type of diet is used for therapeutically purposes, and strict control and calorie consumption monitoring is required. When used therapeutically, most people see effects after 2-3 months after its start.
Looking at Keto diet used in sports, its important to mention that there are many variations of the Keto diet and this type of diet is recommended to replace the medium-high carbohydrate consumption, in order to improve sporting performance.
Even though there are a lot of researches on Keto diet and also there is a lot of contradiction. Looking at offroad cyclists that were on Keto diet, it is observed improved VO2 max and the oxygen flow in VO2 Lactate Treshold. On the other hand, it is observed better results in power output in the group that was on consumption of normal quantity of carbohydrates (Zajac, A., et al., 2014).
In another research where keto diet was used by artistic gymnasts for 30 days, there is no difference in power output, but decreased weight loss and lower bodyfat % is observed (Paoli et, al., 2012). Most of the scientific data suggest that Keto diet has the following identical outcomes such as:
- Low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet regimen can help the improvement of the body composition mainly through weight loss and the excess fats, but its not optimal for building muscle mass
- When optimal sporting performance is pursued, including aerobic and anaerobic physical activity, it is necessary to consume atleast moderate quantity of carbohydrates.
To conclude this, it is important to state that the most important aspect of following a diet regime is to find out the most convenient, delicious and healthy way to adhere in order to achieve the desired goals.
Paoli, A., Grimaldi, K., D’Agostino, D., Cenci, L., Moro, T., Bianco, A., & Palma, A. (2012). Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 1-9.
Zajac, A., Poprzecki, S., Maszczyk, A., Czuba, M., Michalczyk, M., & Zydek, G. (2014). The effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism and physical performance in off-road cyclists. Nutrients, 6(7), 2493-2508.