ATLCX (Episode 37): Ben Greenfield | Ketogenic Diets And Exercise Performance
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In Episode 37 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts,” we are pleased to address the topic of “Ketogenic Diets And Exercise Performance” with one of my fellow health podcasters who just so happens to be a low-carb triathlete named Ben Greenfield. Carbohydrate loading has become so deeply-ingrained (all pun intended!) in our culture for endurance athletics these days that hardly anyone questions whether or not it is the most effective means for fueling exercise performance. But ketogenic diet researchers like Dr. Stephen Phinney and self-experimenters like Dr. Peter Attia have discovered a new paradigm that could quite possibly be the future of fueling exercise activity–using ketones as an alternative and much more preferred energy source for fueling exercise. We were pleased to have a bona fide expert on this topic in sports scientist Ben Greenfield from “Ben Greenfield Fitness” (listen to my interviews with Ben in Episode 609 and Episode 457 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast) joining us in EPISODE 37 to talk about the important topic “Ketogenic Diets And Exercise Performance” that aired LIVE on January 31, 2013.
Listen to Ben Greenfield take questions about low-carb and exercise: Traditionally, sports performance relies on glucose for fuel Glucose is a great fuel source for doing sports/workouts But there is a health vs. performance trade-off here If you load up your body with carbs, insulin gets turned out Blood sugar fluctuations are the norm and that is harmful Insulin insensitivity sets in and free radicals produced Fats become oxidized and increased levels of triglycerides Sugar is like a “drug” on exercise activity, but not needed We can rely on fatty acids for fuel (like ketone bodies) It’s very difficult to get away from carbs for fuel But the body can create ATP-based energy in keto-adapted state We need far less levels of glucose than we’ve been told If you’re going to have glycolitic efforts, you still need it But the glucose requirements are still very minimal He’s made the switch from high-carb triathlete to low-carb He’s racing faster now and not damaging his body anymore The carbohydrate fermentation is no longer happening Listen to ultra-marathon runner Tim Olson on The LLVLC Show You have to be careful with nut butters that are roasted Better to have a few raw almonds than roasted almond butter Omega-6 fat concentration in these can be harmful Novak Djokovic and Kobe Bryant seem to be keto-adapted Many people don’t know muscle is comprised of fat cells too You can grow muscles by eating more dietary fat Even my reduced amount of protein intake, I put on muscle Maximum performance is going to rely on fuel and body comp Ketogenic diets come in handy for proper weight management Pushing yourself to lactate threshold without glycogen depletion Goal of ketogenic diet isn’t to deplete body of glycogen Body can take ketones and convert them into glucose for energy Your body can tap into what’s stored away in the muscle itself For an ironman athlete, 150g carbohydrates/day is upper level Ketogenic diet is not synonymous with liver/glycogen depletion You’ll be able to tap into storage carbohydrate even in ketosis If you’re eating zero carb, then perhaps that will cause issues What kind of foods he consumes in 40-150g carbohydrates Sweet potatoes, yams, fruit, white rice, seeds, nuts, raw dairy Fermented soy and sometimes a sprouted quinoa, chia seeds What a Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) is and its purpose It shows what your primary fuel source is: carbs vs. fat The test can be influenced by what you ate days before Yes, women can succeed on a higher-fat intake naturally Study examining ketogenic diet in elite gymnasts Whether artificial sweeteners can impact ketosis There are potential gut toxin effects damaging gut flora That could technically impact your carbohydrate absorption There’s no data that it impacts exercise performance He doesn’t consume any sports foods with artificial sweeteners Sarcoplasm is the fluid that surrounds the actual muscle Muscle has glycogen, but can use fat stored for fuel too You’re putting the body into a state to tap into fatty acids It will spare the glycogen until very high intensity reached What rhabdomyolysis is and why it’s harmful A high-protein diet doing an ironman makes you susceptible Higher protein intake leading up to the event can be bad Don’t get anywhere near 200g protein to give body what it needs Try getting about .7g per pound of body weight Use ketone strips before and after exercise to test ketosis You want to be at 1.0 millimolar ideally to fuel exercise He uses pre-digested amino acids during his races Some MCTs as well as UCAN SuperStarch helps as well Whether carb-loading later in the day is best Getting your carbs spread before, during and/or after exercise Shoot for 200-250 calories worth of carbs during training A day prior to the event, some extra carbs is good to do Depending on the marathon, you may not need the extra carbs What is different about doing ketogenic diet for ectomorphs Ectomorphic types are able to tolerate more carbohydrates Robb Wolf’s posts on ketosis/performance Part 1, 2 & 3 Just because a sport is glycolytically demanding… That doesn’t mean you never use glycogen for energy in ketosis If people have not become fat-adapted, you can feel blah There’s a temporary dip in performance in ketogenic state But getting plenty of sodium balance and other things He plays tennis just fine because he gives himself enough fuel His creates glycogen from protein, ketones and “sane” glucose The body can create 400 calories of glucose from ketone bodies Listen to Paul Jaminet in Episode 36 of ATLCX The higher the intensity of the race, the worse ketogenic is Optimal ketone zone is 1.0-3.0 millimolar during the race If you are not showing any ketones at all, you’re sugar-burner Non-starchy vegetables should not be interfering with ketosis It could be a protein issue if he’s eating too many He’s testing his urine but not his blood ketones Ketoacidosis is about 10.0 millimolar and with Type 1 diabetics I’ve seen some 4.0 readings and higher–but not close to 10.0 There’s no added benefit of going above 3.0 before exercise If you want to feel really good, don’t get super high in ketones We don’t know if this is an issue for non-Type 1 diabetics Even Tim Olson isn’t doing ketogenesis per se in running Usain Bolt won’t be getting the burst of energy in his racing Ketogenic diets are not necessary for exercise performance Check your method of measuring ketosis for accuracy If you are doing intense exercise fasted, you break down muscle Test your body fat percentage to see if you’re muscle-wasting If body fat doesn’t change and lean mass drops, losing muscle Taking 5-10g essential amino acids (it’s about $50 per bottle) You could train 20 hours/week for an ironman race in ketosis Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of glucose Stay relatively low-carb during the day, then carbs at training It’s possible to gain muscle on a low-carb diet If you’re doing 60-90 minute sessions, you should cycle carbs This might push you out of ketosis on those lifting days You’re still not “shoving as many carbohydrates” as you can Maximum of 150-200g on these super lifting days On an easier day of exercise, very low-carb is the norm You still build bone and strength doing higher reps Lifting lower, heavier weights will develop “boulder” strength Listen to Ben Greenfield’s outstanding health podcasts Come to “Become Superhuman” conference March 8-9, 2013 Enhancing your body, health and mind is the goal of this His Ironman Canada quest with minimalist training, ketosis He wants to “biohack Ironman” race competition We will be gone for the next couple of months I’m writing a book on reading cholesterol test resultsJOIN BEN AND JIMMY AT THE BECOME SUPERHUMAN EVENT
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How did you like what you heard from Ben Greenfield regarding the role ketosis can (and perhaps should) play in maximizing your ability to perform in your chosen exercise activity? We always appreciating hearing what YOU think and you can do that in the show notes section of Episode 37. This was our final episode of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” for at least the next couple of months while I’m writing my new book, so be sure to check out the archives section in case you missed any of our outstanding previous episodes. I promise when I return in a few months we’ll have more amazing topics and expert guests for you to enjoy.
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