On page 64 of the July/August 2016 issue of Men’s Health is an article entitled The New Endurance Fuel by Brett Israel. It is not on line yet – but – is worth reading.

The article tells the story of Zach Bitter, an endurance athlete who sought a way around the “Bonking” which commonly occurs after two hours of intense exercise when a person’s glycogen stores are depleted. It is a tale of finding and adapting to a Ketogenic Diet and becoming fat adapted. Zach Bitter found significant success once he was Fat Adapted.

Absolutely nothing new in this Article – other than it is sandwiched in between lots of carb heavy recipes and stories. 

In research from Ohio State, elite ultramarathoners and Ironman distance triathletes who consumed very few carbs burned more than twice as much fat during prolonged exercise as high-carb athletes did.

“Research from Ohio State” referenced without footnoting. Guess whose research – Dr. Jeff Volek. I’ve previously written about his books:

  1. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity, April 2012. 162 pages.
  2. Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Beyond Obesity, May 2011. 302 pages.
  3. Westman, E.C., S.D. Phinney, and J.S. Volek. The New Atkins for a New You. Fireside, New York, NY, March 2, 2010.
  4. Volek, J. and Campbell A. The Men’s Health TNT Diet. Targeted Nutrition Tactics. Rodale Books, Rodale Books Emmaus, PA, Oct 2, 2007.

Since one of his books was a Men’s Health publication, I’m surprised they didn’t reference him. 

Another book that sings the same song is: What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat. Schofield, Grant; Zinn, Caryn; Rodger, Craig. The Real Food Publishing Company Limited, 2015. 

This Article defines a Ketogenic Diet as 80% fat, 15% protein and  5% Carbs. Men’s Heath Nutrition advisor, Mike Roussell, Ph.D. recommends that an endurance athlete allow for an eight week period to become fully fat adapted prior to entering an event. No quarrel there.

The article also credits a Ketogenic Diet with enhancing weight loss, helping to fight cancer and improving memory in the elderly.

In attempting to be fair, the author included this quote:

I haven’t yet seen evidence that the ketogenic diet provides a superior approach,” says Louise Burke, Ph.D., of the Australian Sports Commission.

Still, Zach Bitter remains supportive. “I believe a ketogenic diet has allowed me to train harder.”

NOW THE FLIP SIDE

I found this on one of the news gathering services: Can You Trick Your Body into Burning More Fat? By Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | August 11, 2016 11:20am, published on the Live Science site.

I am not going to provide a synopsis of the article – only to say that it is the expected flip side. I did find it interesting that both articles quoted Louise Burke.

In some of the most definitive work on this subject, Louise Burke, an exercise physiologist at the Australian Institute of Sport, and her colleagues conducted a study of low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets for elite race walkers. Her work has found that low-carb diets reduced performance.

Elite Race Walkers – the operative word is “race.” Check out the book – What The Fat? Sports Performance: Leaner, Fitter, Faster on Low-Carb Healthy Fat, referenced above. The authors present a significant argument for integrating a ketogenic diet with a carb boost for races. Their thesis presents one of the most balance approaches on this subject.

Beyond that, low-carb diets are often difficult to follow. Consuming no carbs means no fruits, veggies or whole grains, Manore said. One of the competitive race walkers in Burke’s study took to eating sticks of butter, according to a recent interview.

Yep – no whole grains – or at least very limited amounts – but no veggies  – huh? I’ve never eaten more veggies since starting to eat this way. No fruit – a half truth – limited fruits – intelligently eaten.

“Most athletes hate it. They can’t stay on it. They don’t feel good,” Manore said. “It’s just not practical.”

Hmmm – I can stay on it, feel great and find it a very practical way to eat my veggies and selective fruits. 

 

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