Jun 25, 2018
Almost a century ago, two inquisitive Danes by the names August Krogh and Johannes Lindhard offered one of the first insights into what today, we consider a cardinal tenet of Sports Nutrition practice; which is: When looking to perform at one’s best, having enough available carbohydrates is essential for endurance performance.
The two Danes found that the amounts of fat and carbohydrate used for energy during exercise varied with the amounts consumed in the preceding diet. As a result, they found that carbohydrates produced more energy for a given volume of oxygen consumed compared to fat during exercise.
Despite this understanding, recent intrigue in the field of Exercise Metabolism has looked upon circulating blood ketone levels as an energy source that could enhance performance by providing an alternate oxidative substrate for exercising muscle; sparing our limited stores of muscle glycogen. This is attained by consuming a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. However, such results on exercise performance haven’t lived up to their anecdotal hype, when put under the microscope in Science. The majority of studies have demonstrated that carbohydrate use during exercise becomes impaired in such conditions. As a result, in the presence of high-intensity exercise, the use of ketone bodies and fatty acids for energy doesn’t offer the same performance improvements compared to the consumption of a high carbohydrate diet.
Echoing results from almost 100 years ago.
However, this has led to researchers exploring supplemental ketones as another strategy to alter aerobic energy use, but this time, without manipulating dietary carbohydrate intake.
Initial research has looked promising, but what impact would a ketone supplement have when used with world class elite cyclists studied under race-like conditions?
Would such a supplement offer any benefit in this scenario?
Find out in this episode.