Chris Case //

46 // Inside ketogenic and high-fat diets

If we had to summarize sports nutrition in one word it would probably be… controversial. Or maybe just confusing. Endurance sports guidelines tell us we need to pack in the carbohydrates. Then we hear about Team Sky and other prominent athletes resorting to a nearly carbohydrate-free diet. So which one is best, and frankly do we even need to be eating the same way a grand tour rider eats?

One thing that’s certain is that in the world of nutrition, “keto” has become a buzzword — and not only in the sports world. Terms like “ketogenic diet” have become some of the most searched dietary terms on Google. It’s even made its way to the most important forum of public opinion — the Saturday morning group ride conversation.

But what is a ketogenic diet? And in a sport where high-carb pasta dinners and simple sugar sports drinks have been the norm for decades, why are we even talking about a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet? Today we’ll delve into that subject.

First, what is meant by a “ketogenic diet” and what are ketones? Evolution felt there was an important reason we evolved to use them, so what exactly do they do?

We’ll discuss the difference between a ketogenic diet and a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet, and why the latter may be the more important one to discuss.

Are there potential health benefits, outside of performance, of trying a ketogenic diet? We’ll take a look.

What does the current research say about the ketogenic diet and sports performance? There are studies concluding contradictory things, and researchers have strong opinions on both sides.

Finally, if you’d like to try a ketogenic or high-fat diet, we’ll talk about the best ways to go about doing it, and also discuss why a less extreme high-fat/low carbohydrate diet may be better.

Our primary guest is a researcher who has become one of the most well-known faces of the high-fat movement — Dr. Timothy Noakes. Dr. Noakes has been at the center of endurance science and sports nutrition research for decades. He wrote, among other books, the very popular “Lore of Running” in the 1980s.

Primary Guest
Dr. Timothy Noakes, renowned nutrition scientist and author of “Lore of Running”

 

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