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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS

Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport


Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2018 Apr 04

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08318-4

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet impairs anaerobic exercise performance in exercise-trained women and men: a randomized-sequence crossover trial

Kymberly A. WROBLE 1, Morgan N. TROTT 1, George G. SCHWEITZER 1, 2, Rabia S. RAHMAN 1, Patrick V. KELLY 3, Edward P. WEISS 1, 3

1 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA; 2 Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA; 3 Doisy College of Health Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA


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BACKGROUND: Low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets cause mild, sub-clinical systemic acidosis. Anaerobic exercise performance is limited by acidosis. Therefore, we evaluated the hypothesis that a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet impairs anaerobic exercise performance, as compared to a high-carbohydrate diet.
METHODS: Sixteen men and women (BMI, 23±1 kg/m2, age 23±1 yr) participated in a randomized-sequence, counterbalanced crossover study in which they underwent exercise testing after four days of either a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (LC; <50 g/day and <10% of energy from carbohydrates) or a high-carbohydrate diet (HC; 6-10 g/kg/day carbohydrate). Dietary compliance was assessed with nutrient analysis of diet records, and with measures of urine pH and ketones. Anaerobic exercise performance was evaluated with the Wingate anaerobic cycling test and the yo-yo intermittent recovery test.
RESULTS: The diets were matched for total energy (LC: 2333±158 kcal/d; HC: 2280±160 kcal/d; p=0.65) but differed in carbohydrate content (9±1 vs. 63±2% of energy intake; p<0.001). LC resulted in lower urine pH (5.9±0.1 vs. 6.3±0.2, p=0.004) and the appearance of urine ketones in every participant. LC resulted in 7% lower peak power (801±58 vs. 857±61 watts, p=0.008) and 6% lower mean power (564±50 vs. 598±51 watts, p=0.01) during the Wingate test. Total distance ran in the yo-yo intermittent recovery test was 15% less after LC diet (887±139 vs. 1045±145 meters, p=0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: Short-term low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets reduce exercise performance in activities that are heavily dependent on anaerobic energy systems. These findings have clear performance implications for athletes, especially for high-intensity, short duration activities and sports.


KEY WORDS: Performance-enhancing effects - Exercise nutrition physiology - Diet, carbohydrate-restricted - Sports performance - Anaerobic metabolism

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Publication History

Article first published online: April 04, 2018
Manuscript accepted: March 9, 2018
Manuscript revised: February 16, 2018
Manuscript received: October 23, 2017

Per citare questo articolo

Wroble KA, Trott MN, Schweitzer GG, Rahman RS, Kelly PV, Weiss EP. Low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet impairs anaerobic exercise performance in exercise-trained women and men: a randomized-sequence crossover trial. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2018 Apr 04. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08318-4

Corresponding author e-mail

ted.weiss4@health.slu.edu