Are you a runner looking to try a new diet? The Ketogenic Diet, or Keto, has been gaining popularity in recent years. This diet consists of consuming 80 percent of calories from healthy fats, 15 percent from protein, and only 5 percent from complex carbohydrates. This forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. Staples of the Keto diet include fish, meat, eggs, dairy, oils, and green vegetables. However, whether runners should try this diet is still up for discussion.
Studies have shown that the Keto Diet may improve athletes’ body composition and overall well-being, but not their performance. In fact, athletes may experience reduced energy levels and an inability to undertake high-intensity bouts of exercise when they first start the diet. One reason why performance may not be affected is due to ketone measurement. Many people who casually try the Keto Diet do not measure ketones and may not actually be in a state of ketosis.
Additionally, being in ketosis does not imply reduced muscle glycogen levels. Over time, the Keto-adapted athlete improves their ability to burn fat for fuel while still having glycogen available. However, whether runners should put their bodies in a state of ketosis depends on their individual goals.
A ketogenic diet may benefit a runner looking to improve endurance and increase their fat-burning capabilities. On the other hand, if a runner is looking to improve their speed and power output, a traditional high-carbohydrate diet may be more appropriate. Ultimately, the decision to go keto should be made under the guidance of a healthcare professional and with an understanding of the potential risks and benefits.
Ultra-runners, those who run great distances, may see the most benefit from the Keto Diet. This is because the Keto Diet emphasizes high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate intake, forcing the body to use fat as its primary source of fuel instead of carbohydrates.
As a result, ultra-runners may experience an increase in energy levels, improved mental clarity, and endurance, while minimizing the risk of bonking (hitting the wall) during long runs. However, it is important for ultra-runners to consult with a certified nutritionist or physician before embarking on the Keto Diet, as it may not be suitable for everyone and can come with potential risks if not followed correctly.
Since ultra-runners often enter into ketosis during their long-distance runs, this diet may help their body adapt to using fat as their primary fuel source. However, it’s important to note that it can take up to 12 weeks to be fully fat-adapted.
In conclusion, the Keto Diet may work for some runners, but more research is needed to study the diet’s full long-term effects. Runners should consider their goals and consult with a sports dietitian before switching to a new diet. Whether you decide to try the Keto Diet or not, it’s important to fuel your body with healthy and balanced meals to support your active lifestyle.