KEMEPHY diet may be an effective dietary pattern for athletes

Scientists have characterized the effects of the ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts on gut microbiota composition in athletes. The study by researchers in Italy and Spain is published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition

Study: Effect of 30 days of ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts on athletes’ gut microbiome composition. Image Credit: Alesia.Bierliezova / Shutterstock


Human gut microbiota is a collection of trillions of microorganisms living naturally in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Interactions between these microorganisms play a crucial role in regulating metabolic and immunological processes.

The compositional and diversity of gut microbiota can be influenced by factors such as age, genetic background, birth delivery route, breastfeeding, antibiotic use, diet, and physical activity. Among these factors, diet and physical activity are the primary modulators.

Diet plays a vital role in sports nutrition, helping athletes maximize their fitness and performance. In addition, diet can influence athletes’ overall health and performance levels by modulating gut microbiota. Among various diet patterns, the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, is considered effective in maintaining body composition in athletes.

In the current study, scientists have investigated the effects of a ketogenic Mediterranean diet with phytoextracts on the gut microbiota composition in semi-professional soccer players.

Study design

The study was conducted on 16 semi-professional soccer players undergoing their regular training schedule (8 hours/week). The participants were randomly categorized into two groups, the keto diet group, and the western diet group.

The dietary interventions were continued for 30 days. Both diets contained the same amount of protein. Moreover, each participant was given three herbal extracts during the study period. The western diet provided to the participants differed from the typically high-fat, high-carbohydrate western diet.   

DNA extracted from participant-derived fecal samples was analyzed for gut microbiota composition by 16S rRNA amplicon…

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