The role of the ketogenic diet in exercise performance

Evan E. Schick
Physiology of Exercise Sport (PEXS) Laboratory, California State University, Long Beach, California, 90840


Muscle glycogen storage and degradation are nearly universally accepted as crucial metabolic processes for ensuring adequate intramuscular energy levels during prolonged, high-intensity activity. However, a growing body of data illustrates that alternative substrates, such as ketone bodies, may be equally as effective in transducing energy during exercise. Ketosis, wherein ketones serve as the primary oxidative fuel, can be achieved nutritionally through a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet (KD). Though the KD is unequivocally successful in facilitating weight-loss with minimal sacrifice to lean mass, current research indicates a complex role for the KD in both anaerobic and aerobic exercise performance.
This review discusses:

1) the mechanisms behind KD adaptation, and the effect of KD adaptation on

2) glycogen metabolism,

3) aerobic exercise performance and

4) anaerobic exercise performance.

Key words:

low-carbohydrate, high-fat, metabolism, athlete

Full article:

The role of the ketogenic diet in exercise performance


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