Ketogenic diet for athletes, for which sports is it more suitable?
The keto or ketogenic diet is one that promotes ketosis and to achieve this, requires the maximum reduction of carbohydrates. Since this nutrient is widely used as a source of energy in our body, its practice needs to take extreme care in athletes. We tell you for which sports the ketogenic diet is more suitable.
Ketosis produces in our body a change of energy substrate, because in the absence of hydrates the body oxidizes fat to a greater extent. This is how even in athletes the keto diet can be carried out.
Long-term sports and aerobic dominance
In an activity of long duration and aerobic predominance such as a marathon, in the first moments blood glucose and muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates) are used as an energy source, to subsequently use fats as fuel.
But studies have shown that in the long term athletes develop an adaptation to the keto diet or low in carbohydrates and therefore, have similar levels of muscle glycogen and recover at similar times after physical exertion.
While fat burning is much higher and lipids become the main source of energy, performance could be reduced, especially in cases of dehydration due to excessive ketosis.
Since the body of an athlete consumes more energy, ketosis is reached and maintained more easily. And before an intense or long-lasting effort the formation of ketone bodies can be very high, the excesses being eliminated by urine and dragging water, so dehydration can occur more frequently.
So, it should control water intake thoroughly in those who eat a keto diet and even more so if they are athletes.
Keto diet and short and intense activities
In activities of high intensity and short duration such as a sprint, a speed race or skips for a short time, the quintessential energy fuel is muscle ATP It is used in the absence of oxygen and is stored in limited quantities.
In this case there could also be a metabolic adaptation to the keto diet to face intense and short efforts in the absence of hydrates but the reality is that ketosis is not a good friend of activities that require phosphogens as a source of energy.
So, it would be much more complex for a sprinter to have fast energy to use because the predominant fuel will be ketone bodies or lipids in the first instance, which are not effective in training or efforts that are performed at high intensity.
The foods of a keto diet for athletes
Since athletes have a more active metabolism than a sedentary person, they consume more energy and this promotes ketosis even with a percentage of hydrates greater than 10%.
That is, we can leave the state of ketosis with 50 grams of hydrates if we are sedentary while if we are athletes we may need much more to interrupt the formation of ketone bodies.
Therefore, in the keto diet for an athlete you can include more fruits and vegetables, especially the less starchy ones such as citrus fruits, green leaves, eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon or the like.
In addition, to obtain more protein and not use these as fuel we need yes or yes good quality foods that offer this nutrient such as Eggs, cheeses, sugar-free yogurts No flavors, or lean meats, fish and seafood.
The quality fats They should not be missing either because they fulfill a fundamental role not only as an energy source but also as anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants that help to cope with the oxidative stress of physical exertion.
And finally, it is key not to forget an adequate intake of water to prevent dehydration because of the abundant formation of ketone bodies and of course, we recommend the professional supervision so as not to fall into a ketoacidosis because of uncontrolled ketosis that may be more frequent in athletes than in sedentary people.