How does the ketogenic diet affect athletic performance?

There is controversy in the scientific and popular communities about the effects of the ketogenic diet on performance.

The reported benefits of a ketogenic diet for athletes are:

  • You can go for longer. The increased ability to burn fat during exercise gives you larger fuel reserves. 
  • You recover faster post-workout.
  • Improved body composition.
  • Greater well-being and less inflammation.

Why nutritional ketosis might detriment athletic performance:

  • Some studies have reported a reduced ability to perform high-intensity exercise.
  • Feelings of subjectively lower energy.
  • Decrease in exercise efficiency.
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  7. Caryn Zinn, Matthew Wood, Mikki Williden, Simon Chatterton, and Ed Maunder.

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  9. Youm, Y.-H., Nguyen, K.Y., Grant, R.W., Goldberg, E.L., Bodogai, M., Kim, D., D'Agostino, D., Planavsky, N., Lupfer, C., Kanneganti, T.D., et al. (2015). The ketone metabolite [beta]-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nat. Med. 21, 263-269.

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