Why The Keto Diet Will Hurt Your Climbing

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The ketogenic diet is the best way to kill Your hopes and dreams for mountaineering. When you jump on this diet wagon, your weak fingers slide off those slopes as if they were coated with bacon grease to secure the food plan. why?

First, it’s helpful to know what a ketogenic (or ketogenic) diet is. Ketosis is the metabolic state that the body enters when eating a very low-carbohydrate diet that contains about 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is usually about 60-80 percent fat, and about 10-30 percent protein. One medium-sized apple contains about 25 grams of carbohydrates. This is worth half a day’s worth. This is a very low carbohydrate intake, especially for active climbers.

When your diet is made up of very few carbohydrates, it looks for other ways to metabolize the substrate to fuel the demands of life. This is when ketosis occurs. Ketones are basically the substrate that the body uses as a fuel, not the preferred glucose. Ketosis is not a condition your body likes — it is a difficult metabolic adaptation that occurs with a lack of sufficient carbohydrates.

From a mountaineering point of view, ketosis is not a good idea. Your brain and skeletal muscle prefer carbohydrates as a fuel source. Limiting to only 20-50 grams per day is a recipe for fatigue.

At lower intensities, your body uses both fats and carbohydrates as a fuel source. If you work in excess of 60% of your maximum effort, your body will use carbohydrates. Climbing qualities usually switch strength back and forth, such as performing long trad routes at a powerful core or performing boulder problems with a dyno. Carbohydrates are needed for these high-intensity efforts. If your body is consuming fat and protein with very few carbohydrates, it is difficult or impossible to be strong. If you are a speed climber, forget about it.

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Low-carb diets also slow down training adaptation. Carbohydrates are the key to empowering and promoting recovery during training.

Decades of research on ketogenic diet and athletic performance have shown no improvement in performance. According to the survey:

  • Performance is the same, but the percentage of perceived movement increases
  • Poor performance
  • Power reduction
  • Increased fatigue

The ketogenic diet has several other drawbacks that limit food choices. Grains, beans, lentils, fruits, and many vegetables are omitted. This can lead to the following:

  • Digestive problems
  • Poor heart health and high risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Low dietary satisfaction and adherence
  • Eating disorders
  • Limited food choices while on the go, comp fuel, van living, or backcountry adventure

When it comes to weight loss, it’s true that the ketogenic diet can be a way to lose weight. But it’s more complicated and subtle than just “going to Keto” or dropping a pound. When your body uses its glycogen stores to fuel your daily activities, it happens the first weight loss, which is simply the weight of water. Glycogen (a storage form of sugar in muscles and liver) is stored with water, so when these stores are exhausted, water is washed away. magic! (Actually not.) Within a few days you will lose 2-5 pounds of water.

Beyond the initial loss of water, a true fat loss, like any other diet, occurs on a ketogenic diet only if you are deficient in calories. There is nothing special or advantageous to the ketogenic diet for weight loss.

Avoiding the availability of low energy is an advantage over weight loss for climbing performance.

So wipe off that bacon grease, get a pasta dinner and crush the project.

Marisa Michael, MSc, RDN, CSSD are board-certified specialists in the sports diet and Nutrition for Climbers: Fuel for Transmission.. She is a member of the USA Climbing Medical Committee and has a private practice in Portland, Oregon.Find her online nutritionforclimbers.com Or on Instagram @realnutritiondietitian For nutritional instruction, workshops, and writing services.

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