KETOSIS

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Stories -

A state where your body switches from us­ing car­bo­hy­drates to burn­ing fat for en­ergy. You need to be carb­starved, gen­er­ally eat­ing less than 50 grams each day, mostly through fruits and veg­eta­bles, to achieve it. Peo­ple who fol­low a ke­to­genic diet get roughly 70 per cent of their kilo­joules from fat, 25 per cent from pro­tein, and 5 per cent from carbs. WHO’S IN­TER­ESTED

En­durance junkies love the idea, be­cause even lean ath­letes have sig­nif­i­cant fat stores to burn. So they could the­o­ret­i­cally en­joy end­less en­ergy and never bonk again. Peo­ple have also been at­tracted to it as a weight-loss strat­egy.

THE CATCH

It’s re­stric­tive, dif­fi­cult to do prop­erly, and not proven to im­prove en­durance – it may even hin­der it. And be­cause mus­cles burn glyco­gen (stored carbs) dur­ing high-in­ten­sity ef­forts, some ath­letes strug­gle to pro­duce power on the diet (that’s why some strate­gi­cally eat starchy carbs dur­ing key train­ing and rac­ing blocks). You also risk long-term nutri­ent de­fi­cien­cies.

THE WORK­AROUND?

You can buy ke­tone sup­ple­ments. “These can pro­duce ketosis even when blood glu­cose lev­els are nor­mal, which po­ten­tially im­proves ex­er­cise per­for­mance,” says Robert Child, PhD, of Elite Sport Group in the UK. The prob­lem: “The taste is so bad it could pre­vent you from con­sum­ing enough of the car­bo­hy­drate-rich foods that are essential for at­tain­ing op­ti­mal en­durance per­for­mance,” he says.

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