I am not an elite athlete nor ultra-marathoners nor Ironman distance triathletes.
I do know that there are many out there. (I live with one.)
If you are competitive and very fast in triathlons, runs, swims, bike rides, and workouts, I know you take performance very seriously.
If this is the first time you have read or even heard of ketones, this is my attempt at distilling a boatload of information that you are bound to be amazed by. Consider this to be the first step for you to rethink all things Carbs.
You will be shocked.
Sky-high levels of carbohydrate intake
If you open any textbook on human performance, read any magazine article on workout nutrition or review any research produced by the world’s leading exercise and diet science institutes, and you’ll see the same two pieces of standard advice churned out with robotic-like repetition:
Standard Piece of Advice #1: Before any big workout days, eat seven to ten grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily for optimal performance. On any other days, eat five to seven grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.
So how many carbs is that? Let’s do the math. 7-10 g/kg of carbohydrates is about 3-4.5 g/lb. So in the 24 hours before a heavy workout day, a 150-pound male would be advised to eat roughly 450-675g of carbs. And that’s 1800-2700 calories of carbs per day – the equivalent of 38-56 slices of bread. Or 17-25 bowls of cereal. Pick your poison.
And on any average day, even a non-workout day, you’d be advised to eat around 2-3 g/lb, or 300-450g of carbs. That’s 1200-1800 calories of carbs per day. So if you were eating a relatively typical 2500 calorie per day intake, you’d be looking at about 50-75% carbohydrate based diet.
Standard Piece of Advice #2: Ensure that during exercise, you keep your blood glucose levels evaluated by consuming the majority of those carbohydrates are from fast-burning carb sources such as sugary drinks, gels, and bars during both prolonged activity (like a long run) and also intense activity (like weight training).
Just think about it: when was the last time you ate a Powerbar before a workout? Had a big smoothie before you hit the gym? Finished up a workout and dumped some kind of powder into your blender (check the label, and you’ll probably see maltodextrin and/or fructose as primary ingredients)?
My partner and I did the simple math and worked out that he had been practically overdosing on Gu (a popular energy gel) for his sports, especially long runs, for more than two years on the average intake of 124 gm sugar a day ( the equivalent of 31 tsp sugar). No doctors would confirm our theory but we know that the metabolic damage has been real and he was well pre-diabetic, along with gut issues of bloating, gas, fermentation, wildly fluctuating energy levels, inflammation, and growing mid-section fat.
What makes me almost sick to the stomach is that such standard advice, cereal for breakfast, Gatorade for a refill, plus a sugary fruit smoothie, is the common message being preached worldwide to kids and adults by exercise nutritionists and scientific bastions of diet research. It will certainly take some time to reverse such status quo. I am sure it will.
Most sports people are convinced that carbs are the ultimate nutrition and fuel to help you hydrate, energise, and recover when pushing yourself and your body to the limits. Carbs is what your body needs to go longer and farther.
This is NOT true.
More and more nutritional science suggest that Ketones are emerging as a far better fuel.
What are Ketones?
When you keep carbs intake low, your body switches to burning fat for fuel and your liver begins to convert some of that fat into energy molecules called ketone bodies.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where most of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis where blood glucose provides most of the energy. Ketosis is characterised by serum blood concentrations of ketone bodies over 0.5 millimolar with low and stable levels of insulin and blood glucose.
Many successful ultra-endurance athletes have switched from a high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate diet.
The research of Dominic D’ Agostino, University of Florida researcher and scientist suggests that diet-induced ketosis from a high-fat, low-carb intake, especially when combined with the use of nutrition supplements such as powdered ketones or MCT oil, can vastly reduce the need for the brain to use oxygen to burn glucose. This is because the brain can use up to around 75% of its fuel from ketones. The basis of the finding is that a ketone-fed or a fat-adapted brain can be better equipped to withstand low oxygen availability and potentially support longer breath-hold times.
As exercising becomes more intense, ketone uptake in the athletes’ muscles increases, and during long-distance (endurance) workouts, their muscles rely heavily on ketones as the primary fuel. Only during high-intensity interval training, such as sprints, do the muscles prefer glucose. That’s because during short, intense bursts of activity your muscles work anaerobically, meaning without oxygen, and since ketone cannot be broken down without oxygen, your muscles are prevented from using ketones for fuel.
Fueling your body with ketones can improve oxygen efficiency, stamina, strength, endurance and recovery.
Prepare to have your mind blown and check out this podcast with Dr Dominic D’ Agostino on why extreme Navy Seals are adopting ketosis, and increasingly the extreme athletes.
You will learn how ketosis can be used to control diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and other metabolic syndromes.
You will also learn how ketosis can enhance blood vessel dilation and wound healing and improve your oxygen efficiency with ketone intake.
You will learn how ketones can be used to enhance mental performance and not just exercise function and how busy executives (including you and me) can improve physical and mental performance by using the secret weapon of ketones.
You will be amazed (or shocked) by how easy it is by using the new supplements and methods to get into ketosis without extreme carbohydrate restriction, and without the inflammation, triglyceride and hormonal issues, or social discomfort, to be able to achieve a much more immediate and deeper level of ketosis.
Rethink Carbs and sugar damage.
Ketone is your new and superior fuel for physical and mental performance.
Essential extended readings and research:
‘Nutrition for Optimising Athletic Performance’ – a must-see lecture by Professor Jeff Volek is a Professor at The Ohio State University, USA
Check out Ben Greenfield’s article on Four New, Cutting-Edge Ways To Easily Shift Your Body Into Fat-Burning Mode & Ketosis. This article is a quintessential guide, a new reference for your training, your daily productivity, and your competitions.
Watch this presentation by Dr Peter Attia on Ketosis: An Advantaged Metabolic State: Human Performance, Resilience & Health for more in-depth science behind ketosis.
Welcome to the Keto Superhuman Club! You will discover more ways to eat, play and love Keto!