Is The Keto Diet Worth It For Cyclists? | Ketosis & Cycling Part 3

all right so fully out of ketosis and we've had a couple of weeks to get into a more traditional style of eating glucose is officially powering my brain again instead of ketones i do miss it a little bit but i've been eating plenty of carbohydrates to make up for the heartbreak i've been able to put the weight that i lost during ketosis back on and generally speaking everything seems to be back to just about normal so for today's video i wanted to bring some closure on the first two videos that we put together my journey from going from high carb down to low carb and then doing that monster ride in a fully ketogenic state to shine some light on this i asked three experts in ketogenic and high fat diets to speak with me those three experts are brianna stubbs brianna is a wealth of info surrounding ketones she's a research scientist and has been working with exogenous ketones extensively brianna's also quite the athlete a two-time world champion rower and an oxford graduate i also asked nigel mitchell to sit down with us and nigel is a nutrition expert who's worked with some of the top cyclists in the world at team sky and most recently at education first nigel also worked with the team here at gcn to create the vegetarian cookbook a plant-based cyclist generally speaking nigel knows his stuff we also chatted with zach bitter and zach is an endurance runner who holds the world record for the most miles ran in 12 hours and the fastest hundred mile run in the world zach's a well-known high-fat athlete who's achieved some pretty impressive results i'm super grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with all of these experts and i want to thank them again for their time so let's jump straight into it first off a question that i think everyone wants to know how professional riders might be using the ketogenic diet to train that's the question on everyone's mind so i threw the question to nigel and he had a lot of insight into what top level athletes are doing with this diet so the ketones themselves what we know is that ketones can be a pretty effective fuel for both the brain and the muscle so if we've got the ketones there the body can use it to fuel so we might go okay for the for the high performing athlete it's going to be really good to get the body producing ketones because as we know we don't store a lot of carbohydrate that even super lean athletes store enough fat for fuel so so if we go okay we can get the body producing ketones we can use the fuel that's going to be good so that's one of the rationales the problem is that to get the body to be producing ketones we've got to have the body believe it where it's in the navigation state and one of the things that there is interesting is in the past when we've been doing looking at controlling the amount of carbohydrates that we might use with riders we've monitored ketones within a long ride and actually what we can see sometimes that riders just are getting elements of key buses just in normal training so riders themselves at times will probably be dipping into elements of ketosis without even thinking about it so back to your question what works the way that i've always been trained and looked at sport is that we try to look at what we'd call like a performance solution so what is the problem we're trying to achieve and then working backwards from that so if what we're trying to do is to have an athlete that's got a much greater aerobic engine than looking at trying to improve the efficiency of the fat metabolism then that's one of the things you want to do the other thing though when we're looking at cyclists in particular elite cycles what we see there is that they still need to maintain that glycolytic that high energy that carbohydrate burn as well so what we've got to try and work on is getting a balance where we're improving that fat burning the body's ability to break down the fat produce some ketones but we've also got to maintain and conserve their ability to use glucose and we see this when we're looking at you know we've just had uh the dolphinae where we've had all these summit finishes just been unbelievable and the power the riders are putting out in those last cases incredible and they're only able to do that by having sufficient carbohydrate nigel's explanation really does hit home because as we first showcased in my first video my personal experience was that my threshold improved my vo2 max power decreased so then i asked nigel about metabolic flexibility and the idea that an athlete has the ability to switch from fat to carb like an on off switch when one runs out the other one comes online i think that there's a trainability aspect with everybody if we if we look at the literature we can see the research does show by change in these environments we can look to change either that some of the the gene expression that's helping to show that we're getting this improved this changes within in the uh might you know lead into the mitochondrial change we can see that people can get these changes whether or not then that really results in some performance down the line is difficult because from a pure research point of view it's very difficult to to really design a study that will really demonstrate it for the elite athlete and that's the the problem with it but it's coming back to say many many protocyclists will be dipping into these low carbohydrate states at times we've won the train i mean the typical when we've got a pro rider their typical type of training block would be a two or three day block and uh you know most normally most riders are doing like a three day block where the on the first day this is the day where they'll be doing more intensity within the training that they're doing and you know they'll be uh the bodies will be really quite uh restored with carbohydrate and as they're going through those three days then naturally their bodies will be a little bit more depleted so very often when they get to the third day they're all ready and quietly to the state and a lot of riders will actually use that to do either any faster or some form of the controlled carbohydrate day so what they're actually trying to do is is what i would call like concurrent training so you've got some of the work on the earlier days which is really much more glycolytic burning the carbohydrate and then on the other days the real is trying to drive much more of that fat metabolism and this is this is the model that many of the pro riders uh work on at the moment some of the other models can be where people will do uh like a again at different stages in the season that may do a longer period of controlled carbohydrate where they'll be looking at reducing the amount of carbohydrate in the diet for for two or three weeks at a very early stage within uh within their uh within their programme but i have the times when i've been working with riders that have been really training for some really long races like paris bay and uh san remo where we've been where we have brought in these elements of a lower carbohydrate within the weekly cycle but but not on a daily basis and that's mainly say to try and maintain that top end which the need but it's also to try and protect the body a little bit as well i also asked nigel what does he think makes one diet work for one person so well but not at all for another uh but yeah i mean i see it all of the time where you'll get different people that will respond differently to different types of diet but we see the same with training as well jeremy you'll get different people they'll respond differently to different stimuluses from training and again when people have looked at that we do know that there is a different uh different gene and phenotypes for people from it from an exercise point of view so i think if we boil it right down to the the genetics there's a big component but for sure what we're actually will have a massive effect on it as well lastly i asked nigel about his thoughts on eating 150 grams of carbohydrate per day in a low-carb ketogenic state when i was training multiple hours a day in ketosis i had no trouble seemingly staying in ketosis even though i was eating a more well-rounded diet and including a bunch of carbohydrates people seem to think that a ketogenic diet is is avoid carbohydrate and that's not the thing a ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet and a low carbohydrate availability so if you're doing a lot of exercise then actually you can still become ketogenic and having a little bit more carbohydrate and i have seen people get really screwed up with this whether oh no there's got to be less than 50 grams of carbs a day it's going to be this and again people are doing it if they like you don't look at investing in some monitoring they can monitor to see actually what is the level they need to be taking to to keep that ketosis while still not necessarily completely avoiding carbohydrate completely nigel brought a lot of info to this his understanding of what top level athletes are doing with the style of diet and how they're using it to train for big long road events like milan san remo and the three-day concurrent training model and how he's seen the diet used in real time super insightful but now we're going to talk with zach bitter who has a lot of first-hand experience with this diet and so my first question to zack of course had to be as a fat adapted athlete why why switch to fat from carbohydrates i got into like endurance sport nutrition probably in about the same way most folks do when they start taking that seriously and you just kind of look at like what is the kind of standard protocol and and you did when i went back and you still do today you see a lot of information about kind of moderate to high carbohydrate approaches a lot of kind of whole grains fruits vegetables and that sort of stuff as being kind of the foundation of your nutrition protocol and you know i did that throughout college when i competed in track and cross country in the first couple years into my ultra marathon running career but uh as i kind of got into what was essentially my first racing season for ultra marathons uh i i started to notice that i just wasn't functioning quite right more so outside the workouts than inside of them i just had like huge energy swings throughout the course of the day i was struggling to sleep uh that sort of stuff um was starting to kind of pop up and these were foreign to me historically i had been a really good sleeper my whole life up until that point and things like that i never really noticed i had huge energy shifts and things and you know i thought like it was a good chance it was probably my training lifestyle if anything but i also was really enjoying that and ultra running was kind of new to me and i didn't want to just give up on it or scale back on it as kind of my first option so kind of in tandem to that i had also started listening to a lot more podcasts and things and uh as a way to kind of justify them on hours i was spending out there on the road running i figured if i can learn something while i run this two-hour morning run before work i can i can count it as a success so uh that's when i was i think first introduced to a high fat low carb approach two or three weeks i started feeling a little bit better like more consistent on my runs and then by four weeks i was running pretty consistently at kind of an aerobic pace at the same pace at heart rate basically of what i had been doing when i was following a moderate to high carbohydrate approach and then it just kind of became an issue or a situation of okay now how do i navigate a periodized training schedule with this because you know anyone who's followed a periodized training schedule usually recognizes that like one day does not equal the next in terms of what your nutrition is going to maybe look like because you may have days where you have a huge ride or a huge run in my case and then a day where you have a rest complete rest day and those are going to require different things and different ratios of of macronutrients and stuff like that so probably over the next i would say year and a half to two years i kind of fine-tuned kind of where i would fit within the high-fat low-carb category during what phases of training uh to kind of come up with what i've been doing for almost 10 years now obviously the next question that we all needed to know is what does a day of eating look like yeah so if it's kind of an easy day i'm probably going to be leaning pretty heavily on two main meals i'll usually do like a meal kind of like mid mid to late morning and then another one kind of an evening for dinner so it's kind of like a big brunch and a big dinner and uh i eat pretty intuitively i'm very aware of kind of what i'm eating for the most part and how much of it just from just experience more or less but i don't necessarily think like okay i hit 1500 calories therefore i'm done with this meal i usually eat until i'm satisfied and if that happens to be 1500 calories it's 15 if it happens to be a thousand it's a thousand and uh i kind of let that drive my hunger drive and my appetite drive a lot of that stuff um so an easy day typically is gonna just i probably won't have a whole lot of snacking so those two main meals will make up the most of it so i might have like uh like eggs with some uh some mayonnaise or something like that typically i like to get mayonnaise that's cooked in coconut oil if i can find it but um that sort of stuff uh cheese i'll have maybe some yogurt uh if i'm gonna bring in a carb source for that meal i might have like a potato or some berries or melons or something like that but on an easy day i'm probably keeping that a little bit lower versus if i was doing a bigger day or a higher volume higher intensity day i might add in a little more of those kind of potato or fruit-based kind of carb sources uh to a small degree um for dinner usually you know i'm kind of rotating around some stuff some kind of staples tend to be like salmon some sort of like red meat like steak or a roast if i throw it in a slow cooker with that sort of stuff i might steam up some broccoli uh to kind of put some of that that meat and animal fats onto that um depending on how hungry i'm in i'm bringing some like seeds nuts and that sort of stuff i'm still hungry after that but those are kind of some some basic kind of foundational things that find their way a lot of eggs a lot of seafood uh red meat um are kind of big ones dairy products are big ones extra virgin olive oil seeds nuts that sort of stuff kind of layer in pretty pretty frequently on the back of this i had to ask zach what he was eating during a workout so i described to him what i ate during my five hour ride and this is what he had to say whether you did it on accident or not you kind of found yourself in a pretty good spot because one i think you do have to be mindful of that just because you are burning higher rates of fat you've improved your fat oxidation rates and could lean on body fat as kind of an intra-workout fuel source you do have to be cognizant of just like how that's developing over time so you go and do a couple big sessions and and under eat or give yourself or don't bring in enough energy and over time you get in that situation where you're starting to lose weight you're getting you know under under a a good healthy weight for what you're trying to do from a performance standpoint so i think just even just from a logistics standpoint it's easier to try to eat stuff during some of those longer workouts uh in order to not have to try to make up as big of a calorie debt at the at the back end of it and when you look at like a five hour ride you know that's that's half your day almost like so you you also kind of remove a full meal out of your day by just being out there and then it's like it makes that eating window that you have left even smaller so for me what i like to do is um it's gotten way easier to be honest since i started because now the high fat low carb ketogenic diet has gained enough momentum where there's just a lot more products out there that are more conducive to that type of uh strategy and usually if it's a big workout or a long workout or a race i'm gonna stay away from carbohydrates for breakfast i'm gonna stay away from them for about 45 to 60 minutes during that session and if i'm going to eat something i'm going to take in there like a fat source i'll do that in the morning and i'll do that during the first hour or so of the workout or the race and then i'll start bringing in once i kind of get to that point then i know i'm i'm i'm oxidizing a high enough amount of fat where if i do bring in small amounts of carbohydrate throughout the rest of that workout or the rest of that race i'm not going to be compromising my fat burning rates to to a notable degree i'm kind of actually dually uh leveraging that to to some sense if it's a big race that i've been peaking for i'm still usually targeting close to about 40 grams of carbohydrate per hour um when i was high carb i was probably doing closer to like 70 80 maybe even 90 grams per hour so it's uh it's a pretty big drop in what i'm needing to defend my muscle glycogen relative to that uh if it's a long enough effort like a race where it's all day then i'm to try to mix in some whole food sources too just so i'm not just taking in pure liquid calories because sometimes you're taking all those liquid calories and it just gives your stomach a little bit of a ride near the end and you you don't want to necessarily tolerate it as much so some of those uh like i'll do like anything from like i've done like banana chips which is just bananas cooked in coconut oil um even like potatoes dipped in like oil and salt and things like that as like whole food options um rice cooked in bacon is another one i've done in the past is a kind of a whole food option uh there's there's a kind of a variety of different things cashews i've done that stuff before just nut butters you know there's even companies now that make little sachets of nut butter that you can kind of bring with you if you want to kind of use that as a fat based fuel source too so um if it's a short enough workout where it's less than like say maybe six hours then which sounds silly to say a six hour short workout but if it's that short i can usually lean pretty much off exclusively on liquid calories and not have to worry about kind of logistically planning for whole foods but once i start getting into the double digit hour range i'm going to want to start mixing in some some whole foods in most cases in order to just be a little more mind mindful of the digestive the digestive side of things i've done this thing now for about six weeks uh going on seven here where i've i've you know been eating primarily fat and i've been getting towards or in a ketogenic state for the last probably four weeks now straight through so i'm looking at this and i'm saying do you think that in the future if i were to go back to let's say a moderate carbohydrate diet that now my ability to burn fat or my body you know training my body up a bit um to be able to understand when it runs out of glycogen at two hours two and a half hours of cycling or running in your case you know does the body then now know oh i know what to do better do you think that that's something that's realistic and i mean we understand it to be true but do you think it's do you think in reality it is yeah i think um i think you're i think there's probably a lot of individual variants with that um they all i think i think the interesting thing to look at would be finney's original cycling study where i think he's working with a nano fours four cyclists and the with the results you almost have to look into that study like into the layers of it because if you just look at the the final like averages it doesn't necessarily tell the picture because within that you had um i believe i remember correctly one cyclist that that did like worse than average and other cycles way better than average and that kind of averaged out to be kind of um where this study ended up pointing to and you know so you can get that individual variance where some people just thrive on it and other people just can't seem to quite get things to click so my guess would be like you know maybe somebody who is just a higher fat oxidizer to begin with whether that be training induced genetic um you know anything else is they're going to be probably more likely to be able to navigate that by going back to a moderate carbohydrate or high carbohydrate diet and there may be folks that are doing moderate high carbohydrate diets that have very high fat oxidation rates just in general because of some genetic predisposition or some training induced stress but we do know from the faster study though that you can drastically improve your fat oxidation rate by introducing dietary fat in your diet in place of carbohydrate sources so um i do think like i mean it's a moving it's like a it's it's a sliding scale versus an all or nothing type of thing um which is why i still do keep some carbohydrate in my diet because i don't necessarily want to push that scale all the way to one side um so if you but if you do start if you would decide to eat like say like a 90 carbohydrate diet you'd probably have a hard time oxidizing fat at a high rate uh regardless of your history but i'm guessing a little bit at that yeah well i think it's i think it's interesting just because the just because the idea that you know someone could train up metabolically like they could become more metabolically flexible which was originally one of my reasons that i stated that i really wanted to do this and that i think a lot of people might consider this for cycling it's that that flexibility that training of your metabolic system to be able to understand that once it runs out of a certain fuel instead of crashing with your blood sugar going straight down into the dumps right that your body is like i know what to do here it's possible too because i think you you maybe see that sometimes in the reverse direction as athletes age and they're no longer able to tolerate the carbohydrate load that they were taking on historically uh and they almost just do it by default in order to kind of push their career forward or continue their career and things like that uh but you know i think uh you so so i guess to answer your question i think if you maybe if you did say like a ketogenic diet or high fat low carb diet for like three years and then went back to a moderate carbohydrate diet it could kind of hit the reset button maybe if you were kind of flirting with a higher carbohydrate before that and losing some of that metabolic flexibility if that makes sense yeah yeah um so then let's talk about let's talk about a carbohydrate land type thing when you were right when you were running and you were being competitive and you were doing a lot of anaerobic like super high-end stuff and i and i think from some of the interviews and and research that i did before we got on that you do still do some high-end power and strength stuff um do you notice a massive difference do you notice i mean now that you've been doing this for the better part of whatever you said sounds like it's almost been a decade now you've been kind of eating like this um is there are you seeing your high-end power is it going up has it stayed lower have you learned to work with it within those constraints how what has your been your personal experience um so from things that made big improvements over that time is my aerobic threshold i can run much faster at my aerobic threshold than i would have been able to even back in college uh i can still run kilometer repeats or like vo2 max type workouts i like to target about a three minute interval for those and you know i still kind of start for me personally once i start dropping under three minutes i know i'm kind of adapting to that system of training a bit and that's that's i've still been able to kind of get there even with the reduction in carbohydrate um as long as i'm not going strict ketogenic and doing kind of high volume in context with it so for me i've always kind of used that i mean that's always been my goal is to improve myself as a runner so i don't necessarily want to follow a dietary track that's not going to help that for me it seems to have worked well within the conscious my training even when i'm focusing more on high intensity stuff like the vo2 max short interval sessions and that sort of stuff my lt like my lactic threshold continued to go up when i was in this ketogenic state right i tested my you know blood ketone levels still at one this was right at the beginning of being kind of getting into this ketogenic state for a few days but um you know there it was just wild to me that i did more power in a ketogenic state than i did when i was at you know a high carb state yeah i can't i can't really put words to it but it sounds like that was your that's also you know if you're at lt you're around there it sounds like that is that's that's prime for this type of diet yeah i think like my my pace at lactic threshold and my pace at aerobic threshold improved uh from from some of that could just be like you know longevity in the sport too there's a lot of different kind of levers being pulled when it comes to improvement uh but you know the the thing that i find that it's kind of kept me on it is my even my high intensity intervals have uh haven't regressed so uh that i think is a big uh you know that's a workout i think is important during my training plan but it's also a workout that's very unspecific to my race pace so uh i would have been maybe at a little more of a crossroads had that really suffered and i have to decide well do i really need it or is it something i can do without you know at a compromised level but for me personally it's it's gotten the same or even improved or stayed the same or even improved from from what i was doing earlier in my career when i was moderate high carbs so that's been kind of a reassuring a reassuring uh kind of sign in the training log i guess so this was a big revelation for me talking with both nigel and zach about how they used carbohydrates in their ketogenic approaches now from my personal experience when i was out there doing that super long five hour ride and i basically hit the wall at like three ish hours i knew that i was behind calorically and that's basically exactly what i suspected so when i was able to talk with zach that really reinforced my opinion about needing to eat while i was out there even though i was trying to go zero carb so lastly i asked zach some advice for what he would give to someone considering this diet yeah that's a that's a great question because i think like sometimes it's the mistakes are made early and that's what cost people their potential success with this approach and the number one thing i usually tell folks is if you can help it implement it in the off season because if you do a 180 on your dietary approach you're going to introduce a stress on your body so you don't want to necessarily introduce that when your body's already being stressed with a huge training load and things like that so pick a point during the year where you have a lower relative stress score uh however you may gauge that and that's probably gonna help you kind of get re get into the system and get used to the lifestyle and things like that uh before kind of trying to also add on workouts and things on top of it and it also kind of gives you a chance i think to follow more strict ketogenic diet at the beginning and just get an idea of what it's like to go that low in carbohydrate and either then once you've kind of done that for about a month usually that's when i'll start having folks get back into their training plan and once they get in the training plan we can start teasing out some specific workouts we can start bringing back some carbohydrate sources uh sporadically around some bigger sessions or some harder sessions to see like what they need in order to maximize their workouts and and that's where there's a bit of variance so definitely treat yourself as an individual i've worked with people where uh they come off that kind of harder like low more strict ketogenic diet and they start doing the specific things in training some of those higher intensity sessions and uh you know i i tell them you're gonna want to bring back a little bit of carbohydrate around that or you might find yourself being flat in that workout and they go out and ignore me from the nutritional side of things and nail the workout anyway and i'm like well i'm not going to argue with the workout results if they're positive and then i have folks that you know they do they do get flat we bring back a little bit of carbohydrate it's usually always within the context of a high fat low carb diet still in terms of fat being the primary macronutrient and you know so there's usually a little bit of a range between person to person and there's going to be another emphasis in the event they're training for too i think a person who's trying to you know compete at a high level with a 5k versus someone who's trying to compete at 100 mile distances is looking at not only racing at a different intensity but also probably needing a little bit of different dietary approach throughout the course of the year in order to really maximize their potential all right so digging into this one a little bit one of the things that both nigel and zach also said is that this diet can cause a lot of stress on the body and when i tie that back to my own personal experience that i spoke about at length in the previous videos i also feel that this diet caused me a lot of stress my body wasn't used to the type of efforts that i was putting out with the type of diet that i was feeding it and in some ways it was hard for me to justify this effort because for me this was an experiment it wasn't a lifestyle that i was necessarily planning to adapt moving forward that i had to do for some reason there were incredible days mixed with some really hard ones because of the diet but anyways i want to thank zach for his incredible insight in how top level athlete uses this diet day in and day out so next up i was able to chat with ketone expert brianna stubbs all about exogenous ketones now if you're wondering what exactly is an exogenous ketone essentially there are ketones that are produced outside of the body versus endogenous ketones which our bodies make naturally so one of the things that i spoke with brianna about first is what exactly is an exogenous ketone and how they might be useful in endurance sport on a basic level exogenous ketones um are a little bit like gatorade but they have ketones in them instead of sugar so when you're in ketosis you're turning your own body fat into ketones and then those ketones are in your blood for energy as whereas if i reach through the screen and gave you an exogenous ketone drink right now the ketone levels in your blood would go up but they wouldn't have come from your own like infinite stores of fat and so it's it's like even though they've got this shared characteristic of high ketones in the blood how you've got there is really dissimilar and so um often people get kind of confused because because there's this sort of shared presence of ketones but especially when you think about the benefits of steady energy that you're going to get from being in ketosis naturally exogenous ketones doesn't necessarily give you that because you're not making ketones from your own fat stores so but all of that said we do know that when you have ketones in the blood they're available there to be used as an energy source for your body and a lot of my research now focuses on um non-energy roles of ketones in terms of how they can maybe modulate oxidative stress or modulate inflammation and help with recovery and all of these other roles of ketones so you get some of those um energy and signaling benefits without having to do you know be as diligent as i'm sure you're having to be to be on this diet but you don't get it's not quite the same um steady natural energy provision if you're going to be shortcutting and definitely not i see a lot of people talking about using exogenous ketones for fat loss and really um there's not there's not um good long-term studies just yet with people using exogenous ketones for weight loss so what we do know is um that exogenous ketones can help you control your appetite and actually i worked with a cycling trainer over in europe was using exogenous ketones to help support his athletes in a more intense training camp when they were also trying to come down to weight so you get this appetite control or satiation and that's been replicated a couple of times now um but actually the thing that i find super interesting is that when you drink ketones you actually kind of tell your body to stop producing as many ketones so you shut down your own fat release from your belly fat um because your body's got the ketones so it's sort of like a natural negative feedback loop so for me it's actually interesting thinking about you as a keto athlete right and i've had keto athletes use it exogenous ketones and it go both ways so sometimes a keto athlete will be like i took this exogenous ketone and i actually felt worse because um well they they don't know why but i think it's because drinking the ketones is switching down their fat release which is their main energy source right so when you go for your bike ride you're in ketosis you're really really relying on that fat release to keep your energy stable and if you take an exogenous ketone drink then in one iteration of the argument you're actually blunting that natural fat release but on the flip side your body is super attuned to making and burning ketones so taking that exogenous ketone sauce should be really helpful for you because you're really primed to burn it and so i've also had athletes using exogenous ketones who are in ketosis who find that it actually is like a beneficial and helpful for them um because it's not going to derail you in quite the same way as triggering off your like blood sugar response so if you are an athlete in ketosis and you drink go and take a goo gel or something like that then it's going to trigger blood sugar rice it's going to trigger a blood insulin rise and that's going to change your metabolism in a way that's really going to kick you out of that state as whereas when you drink an exogenous ketone drink you still get that energy but there's no sugar spike and no insulin spike so it's sort of it's definitely more of a keto compliant energy source for a keto athlete but it doesn't necessarily follow and we don't know yet if it's gonna be more or less helpful or even unhelpful um for an athlete who's um trying to follow a ketogenic diet because there is there is a scientific argument you can construct that would be like actually this might not be helpful for you but um how would how would i tell you and how would i tell an athlete on a mixed diet to use ketones so i think that um for an athlete on a low carb or ketogenic diet you know you i would recommend that you try it on an endurance ride and see whether you get um an improvement or you feel more like you're going to bonk because i couldn't tell you what's the deciding factor between people that have good responses or or not um and there's whereas for athletes on a mixed diet i'd say using it maybe just before and maybe after big long and sort of endurance efforts seems to be helping with providing energy and also sort of protect it protection during exercise but there's a lot of interesting data coming out around ketones for recovery as well and i think personally in my training using ketones to support these big workouts has been where i've seen the biggest gains so you know it'll be a really good strategy for athletes especially athletes in weight class sports um and endurance weight plus sports so like for me as a lightweight rower or if you're a climber and you're on like an when you're trying to do endurance on top of a caloric deficit ketones are probably quite a favorable source of energy because they're quite profoundly anti-catabolic so they help to um you know there are ketones involved to keep us alive during starvation and so part of what they do is they signal to our body not to break down protein um as quickly and so i think that this like anti-catabolic and some of the signaling things i mentioned in terms of inflammation and oxidative stress especially if you're on a work camp and you're up in the alps for three weeks or if i was you know i'd go on a camp to portugal like right in january and our mileage would be like up 50 and then we would have to come back and do a rowing machine you know like that kind of like two or three week overload block i really think that or or even you know competing in a stage race that goes on over a few weeks i think that targeted use of ketones like that would be very helpful or if someone's going to do like a three-day enduro or something like that i think you know helpful helpful for those longer events helpful for bigger training days probably not something that you absolutely need to use every day but in the same way as like you know i run and train for marathons and i wouldn't be taking gus or like carb juice with me on every every long run you know sometimes they do them faster so it's like what we're learning about nutrition is that um there isn't really like one dogma that works for everyone all the time and actually metabolic flexibility um is the goal and so for you it's like you know yeah sure ketosis for six months while you're doing your winter training block but then maybe you want to be um someone who does it really well as zach bitter he's an ultra endurance runner and he brings back in carbs around some of his bigger races and you know so i think um then maybe you don't lose that top end burning quite so much it's very interesting so i think um strategic use around bigger events and periodizing periods of exposure to ketones i think it's that's probably going to be where we net out all right that was incredible overview of what's going on with ketones and all the science around them super valuable insights there i've heard and read about ketones providing a real benefit in recovery for me in my experience during that five hour ride that i did at almost 100 miles probably the wildest thing that i experienced was that the next day when i woke up i whooped practically in the green meaning that i had a good recovery and i literally felt almost perfect the day after such a huge effort it so i have to agree that in my case whether they were exogenous ketones or ketones that my body produced and used with the recovery aspect it really did help i can't put towards how much that blew me away what what do you think about just eating a regular carbohydrate meal so someone that is eating let's say 400 grams of carbohydrate per day uh average right and then they decide that they want to take an exogenous ketone supplement whether that is a salt or an ester so a liquid or a salt and they decide okay i'm gonna take this and then i'm gonna go out what happens inside the body that's a question that i have that i think is really important for people to understand does your body prioritize the ketone does your body prioritize the carbohydrate does your body say when you're going hard i'm going to use the carbohydrate but i'm going to spare it when i'm using the ketone what actually happens you actually got like really close with your description there so we think that and what we what we've seen happen in the study so far is that it you know moderate intensities of exercise that aren't that are glycolytic so that means using sugar but not anaerobic the body is able to kind of like pick and choose between ketones and carbs and so in our study from university of oxford we saw that the body seemed to be flipping over and burning ketones in preference to some of the carbs so so carbs are still being burnt but you're just losing a little bit of that carb burning and that was why we saw sparing in muscle glycogen so that's the stored energy as carbs and we also saw lower levels of blood lactic acid which is another marker that you're burning carbs and so um if you're if you go out if you wake up and you have your oatmeal and then your coffee and then you're about to go on your bike ride and then you also drink ketones your body's going to be burning those first probably um and sparing the carbohydrate for later so i mean just in terms of your body metering out what's available to you then if you just sort of start off your ride or your stage race day perhaps with those ketones on board then the theory is that you would spare um glycogen for later on now one of those studies that i did mention used to try to use a similar strategy where they pre-loaded with ketones in this um then the less intense uh part of the stage race simulated stage race and then they did a 15-minute time trial and sprint at the end and they actually didn't see any changes in glycogen so the jury's still kind of out there the theory would be the scientific theory and hour and early work suggested that you get ketones present and carbs the body will burn the ketones spare some of the carbs but it's not kind of totally clear cut just yet so um then what we we saw as well is as you start to increase the intensity the body is still able to go back to carb burning but that's a matter of debate in the community as well and this is something that's interesting to compare between ketone drinks and the ketogenic diet so on the ketogenic diet it's fairly well documented now that over time your body gets much better at burning fat you start to lose some of that carb burning capacity you get changes in your enzyme expression and changes in the enzyme activity that means that generally um it's accepted that you might lose some of that high-end sprint performance if you go into being in ketosis the whole time now you know there's arguments backwards and forwards but like generally that's that's what's accepted in space now with exogenous ketones we've seen people do um step tests and we've seen people do this is all like published in the literature do um sprint running tests and it doesn't seem like you get the same blunting of that top um end performance under most circumstances because some people have been concerned that if you were taking exogenous ketones maybe you would also get that same blunting because you have the ketones exerting a preference over carbohydrates so it's again if we you know and let's take a step back the scientific rationale for that is there and is reasonable it's not there in the data just yet so um it depends what level you're competing at and whether tiny points of percentages matter to you um and it just yes i guess it depends what point in your career you're in if you're a weekend warrior you probably wouldn't notice the difference okay so one potentially long-term impact from ketosis is one's ability to burn carbohydrate at the same rate in the future that was the part of the interview where i spun things down and i pretty much ran upstairs to start eating some baked potatoes straight away so that was it with brianna but she's now working with the buck institute on how exogenous ketones may be used outside of sport for example in traumatic brain injuries i'm really excited for the work that she's doing and i'm super grateful for the time that she gave us in her expertise those interviews were super fun for me to put together i hope that they shine some light on a lot of the questions that you might have had it certainly did for the questions that i had now in the last video i said that i was going to get my blood work run to see if there were any dramatic changes in any of my blood values and i'm happy to report that there was literally nothing that showed that the diet was detrimental to my health so between those conversations that we've had my experiences in the previous two videos i feel like it really did give a clear picture into the pros and cons of eating this way we've gone over just about everything that i can think of regarding ketogenic diet and sport we've tested it out we've lived it for a bit we've done about as deep of a dive as i think one could have ever imagined leave us a comment down below let us know what you learned what style of eating you pick for yourself what you think of the ketogenic diet now with all the info on the table i want to thank you all for watching and we'll see you next time

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