Today I’m kicking off a new blog segment called the “Journal Club.” 

In the Journal Club, we’ll examine a single research paper that holds significance to you as a cyclist. Whenever possible, I’ll select open-access research and include a downloadable link to a personally annotated PDF so you can dig into a full-text version and follow along.

In today’s Journal Club we’ll check out a brand new paper examining the performance implications of a Low Carb High Fat or “keto” diet. Is going “keto” likely to improve your cycling? Let’s find out.

Burke, L.M., et al., Crisis of confidence averted: Impairment of exercise economy and performance in elite race walkers by ketogenic low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet is reproducible [1]

Click to download the full-text of our Journal Club article.

Before we cover a few highlights from the study, let’s start with a bit of context.

Interest in Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) or “keto” diets as a method to improve endurance performance goes back decades [2]. While there are various approaches to “going keto”, the goal when applied to endurance sport is the same: increase your ability to use fat as an energy source.

Since fat is in nearly limitless supply even on lean athletes, the hope is that increased fat oxidation will free up glycogen for the most crucial moments of competition, ultimately improving endurance performance.

Let’s take a look at the specific keto strategy evaluated in this study [1]. 

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Written by Nate Dunn M.S.

Nate Dunn has spent his entire career in education and coaching. As a former teacher and now founder/head coach at Data Driven Athlete, he is most excited about helping cyclists discover their potential as they experience more great days on the bike.