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The effect of the ketogenic diet on athletic performance

The ketogenic diet has spread widely in the Arab world, and it is a diet based on reducing carbohydrates and increasing fats in nutrition, but some recent studies have proven that this diet will negatively affect the health of those who follow it, especially athletes.



Importance of carbohydrates for athletes:

Some researchers emphasized the existence of some negative aspects of the ketogenic diet, especially for athletes, because carbohydrates are of great importance in building muscle and performing exercises better, and because carbohydrates help in recovery after exercise, and stimulate the body to produce insulin, which contributes to Nutrient delivery and absorption. Carbohydrates also play an important role in anaerobic energy systems and are the primary fuel sources for strenuous exercise. Carbohydrates improve neurotransmission, fatigue resistance and mental focus during exercise.



The effect of the ketogenic diet on athletes:

During a ketogenic diet, the body becomes more efficient in using fats as fuel due to a lack of carbohydrates, which is known as fat adaptation. A sharp decrease in carbohydrates causes a rise in ketones produced by the liver from fatty acids, and these ketones provide energy body in the absence of carbohydrates.






As it turns out, the ketogenic diet has a close relationship with the muscle glycogen ratio, where carbohydrates used as an energy source are broken down into glucose to provide the energy needed to perform exercise, and for long periods of time all studies have shown that carbohydrates will greatly help athletes and improve their health, and But it is unfortunate that the body can only store glycogen for two hours, and then lose energy and feel tired, and in the case of a ketogenic diet, fatigue continues for a long time.



During exercise, the quality of the fuel varies according to its intensity. Researchers have noticed that fats provide some energy that is released slowly when exercising, while carbohydrates provide a much greater amount of energy when performing those exercises, and this is known as the “crossover effect,” Studies have found that ketogenic athletes burn the most fat, up to 70% of their maximum, while athletes on high-carb diets burn only 55% of the fat.



Criticisms of the ketogenic diet:

There are many criticisms made towards the ketogenic diet, as its effectiveness is short-lived, and most of the lost weight in the beginning is water weight only, as the water retained is liberated by the dissolution of glycogen, so the weight drops relatively quickly once this water is lost, and that diet works on Loss of a large percentage of the body’s muscle mass, thus generating a feeling of chronic fatigue and exhaustion, and the body enters a period similar to starvation, and weight stops dropping suddenly without any idea of ​​the reason behind it

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