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Can Keto Make You Run Further?

woman running on a outback road


Can Keto Make You Run Further?

Starting a new exercise and nutrition plan at the same time can be tricky. The new source of exercise can make you ridiculously hungry which can make control the eating part of the equation very difficult. But what if you’re already exercising regularly and want to try keto because you’ve heard it’s amazing for performance? If that’s the case, you’d be worried about the lack of carbs. Carbs mean energy, right? It can seem impossible to finance a 30-minute run around the block without the help of some of the traditional fuel that you’re used to receiving. It’s a step into the unknown and understandable that you could be a little nervous. To dispel these nerves, it’s important to put your mind at ease because the emerging science may say otherwise.


Nutritionists have been recommending a big bowl of carb heavy fuel prior to exercise for decades. Want power? Eat pasta. Rice if your friend. You need fuel. So, what if this traditional advice is completely wrong? We were after all wrong about how evil fat was for your health. Well, research in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition wanted to find out. And they didn’t just want to measure up regular athletes, they wanted to find things out about endurance athletes. They scientifically scrutinized 6 studies on the field and couldn’t find evidence for or against the ketogenic diet when compared to the high carb eating plan. All they said was more trials needed to be performed. It was a no result. Neither for or against, which is an answer in and of itself. The same paper does cite some research that ketogenic diets can reduce lactate accumulation after exercise which can improve recovery. That’s certainly a positive which many athletes ran with.  Who are you to argue with Chris Froome who won three Tour De France competitions on a low carb diet? Well, nobody can because those feats are unquestionably the pinnacle of endurance performance.


There’s not enough research to say whether it will work for everyone, but many experts suggest that it could take you several months before your body adapts to using a keto diet for endurance. If you’re a regular athlete who likes to run a little, burn a little fat and feel sharp then a ketogenic eating plan has everything going for it. If you play sports, then keto could give you the upper hand because your grey matter is equipped to burn and use ketones for fuel. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to support this viewpoint, but many athletes swear that a ketogenic diet makes them feel more relaxed yet focused. The perfect feelings for sporting excellence.

Everyone’s body will operate differently so what works for athlete X may not work for you. However, if you’re serious about your sport then it’s worth giving this alternative method a shot. There’s no doubt that eating this way will set you to your fighting weight, which will always have a beneficial effect. A leaner and lighter athlete will run faster, adapt quicker and tire out slower. It’s worth a try at giving the other macro nutrients a shot at the title.


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Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash.

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