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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Ketogenic Diet for Improved Sports Performance

Have you heard about the health benefits associated with the Ketogenic diet? This diet has become a hot topic in sports nutrition, and many athletes are now choosing to live a carb-free lifestyle as a result of the nutritional science around the subject.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

In early 2000, the Ketogenic diet found its fame as a reworked concept of the Atkins diet. A ketogenic diet consists of eating foods high in fat and protein while eliminating all forms of carbohydrate. Typically, a modified ketogenic diet will contain a 65% to 70% fat profile, with the balance of 30% made up of protein. Only trace amounts of carbohydrates are allowed, and it is imperative to keep your daily carb intake under 25 grams.

How Do You Induce Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when the body no longer has any glycogen available to fuel metabolic functions. The glucose contained in carbohydrates is the source of glycogen. By eliminating carbs from your diet, you will slowly deplete the levels of glycogen in your blood. During this phase, you will experience a substantial loss of body weight. This weight loss occurs as water weight sheds from the body. Carbs hold on to 4 grams of water for every one gram of carbs ingested. As you are no longer eating carbs, this water weight drops off quickly, usually within the first week of beginning the diet.

For the initial four days, you will feel lethargic and low on energy as your glycogen levels deplete themselves. After four to five days the body will realize there are no incoming carbohydrates to turn into energy. The body then signals the liver to produce ketones from dietary fats and body fat to fuel metabolic function. These ketones flood the bloodstream with readily available energy to replace gluconeogenesis.

After the first week, you will feel restored and energetic; this is how you will know you are in ketosis. Your body will continue to produce ketones as long as you continue to avoid carbohydrate. If you do consume more than 25 grams of carbs, the body will convert back to gluconeogenesis, and you can expect to feel bloated and lethargic until the body has produced enough glycogen to fuel metabolism
Healthy Foods for a Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic diets rely on quality fat sources. The next time you head out to pick up your New England Patriots tickets, stop past the grocery store and pick up a few of these food items to help you get started with your keto diet.
•    Extra-virgin coconut oil.
•    Almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts.
•    Nut butter of the above.
•    Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
•    Avocados.

Ketogenic Diets and Sports

Ketogenic diets can be used successfully with athletes as well. Keto diets are rich in protein, the macro nutrient associated with muscle repair. Quality fats also provide extended energy release throughout the day, allowing the athlete to train harder for longer. Research into the keto diet has shown that it strengthens the immune system and prevents disease and health disorders from occurring.

Ketogenic diets are ideal for athletes that need to cut weight or lose body fat. Since the body converts body fat stores for fuel in ketosis, athletes can benefit from becoming leaner while not losing strength or performance.

Wrapping Up

Ketogenic diets are not suitable for everyone. While it exhibits promise in athletes, everyone is completely different and what works well for some, may not work at all for you. Try it out as an experiment and see how you perform after making the transition to ketosis. Remember to log your results and keep a diary of your daily diet. If you need any help structuring your diet, search for information online or speak to your nutritionist.