After reading Lars’ interview with Valerie Peterson in last week’s newsletter I did a little research with two scientific organizations.
A position paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance by the American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada says, “Although there has been historical and recently revived interest in chronic adaptations to high-fat low carbohydrate diets, the present evidence suggests that enhanced rates of fat oxidation can only match exercise / performance achieved by diets or strategies promoting high carbohydrate availability at moderate intensities, while the performance at higher intensities is impaired.”
Put simply, a high-fat low carb diet is no better than a low fat high carb diet for endurance riding and a high-fat low carb diet is worse for harder riding such as weekend hard club rides.
You can download the full Position Paper here.
The Mayo Clinic says, “While the ketogenic diet may be recommended for some people with uncontrolled epilepsy, the high fat content — and especially the high level of unhealthy saturated fat — combined with limits on nutrient-rich fruits, veggies and grains is a concern for long-term heart health.” A high-fat low carb diet does reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. With very careful food choices you can minimize saturated fats; however, the Mayo Clinic still isn’t recommending a ketogenic diet for the general population.
With nutrition and many other aspects of cycling we’re each an experiment of one. A ketogenic diet might work for you.
A footnote: Peterson is a certified Bulletproof nutritional coach. Bulletproof is a company selling food and drink supplements, proteins, coffee and more. Bulletproof promotes a ketogenic diet to sell products and make a profit.
For more information see my 17 page eArticle Nutrition for 100K and Beyond, which cites a dozen sources. It is one of three articles in the bundle Nutrition Training and Riding. The other two articles are Beyond the Century, training for long rides, and Mastering the Long Rides, what you need to know in addition to training and nutrition.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written over 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.