Muscular Development
Keto Diet Ketogenic Diet Fitness Health Image Credit: Muscular Development
Keto Diet Ketogenic Diet Fitness Health Image Credit: Muscular Development

Keto Diets Reduce Athletic Performance

A ketogenic or “keto” diet is high in fat, low in protein and low in carbohydrate. The diet promotes the metabolic formation of ketone bodies by causing the body to use fat (rather than carbohydrate) as its main energy source. The ketogenic diet forces the body to burn body fat rather than protein and carbohydrate because of low protein and carbohydrate intake. The enhanced fatty acid oxidation in the liver into ketone bodies has been shown to suppress appetite and enhance weight loss. Interest in the ketogenic diet has grown for weight loss and type 2 diabetes (JAMA, January 16, 2018). A very low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet causes the body to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

Steve Blechman



The most impressive low-carb study published to date in reference to health and body composition appeared in the journal Circulation in 2017. This diet study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology for the first time, measuring changes in body and organ fat during 18 months on a Mediterranean, low-carb diet. The Mediterranean, low-carb diet was significantly superior to a low-fat diet in decreasing fat storage, including visceral (deep abdominal) liver and heart fat. High visceral fat has been shown to increase metabolic syndrome, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials suggests that people on ketogenic diets tend to lose more weight than people on low-fat diets. In another 12-month weight-loss diet study, there was no significant difference found in weight change between a low-fat diet versus a low-carbohydrate diet (JAMA, February 20, 2018).


Unfortunately, ketogenic diets hinder exercise performance. New research from St. Louis University (Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness, April 2018) found that following low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets impairs anaerobic exercise performance in exercise-trained men and women. Participants did not perform as well during anaerobic exercise in high-intensity, short-duration sports such as spr

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