Acute Ketogenic Diet and Ketone Ester Supplementation Impairs Race Walk Performance

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Whitfield, J
Burke, LM
McKay, AKA
Heikura, IA
Hall, R
Fensham, N
Sharma, AP
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PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine if LCHF and ketone ester (KE) supplementation can synergistically alter exercise metabolism and improve performance. METHODS: Elite race walkers (n = 18, 15 males and 3 females; V˙O2peak, 62 ± 6 mL·min-1·kg-1) undertook a four-stage exercise economy test and real-life 10,000-m race before and after a 5-d isoenergetic high-CHO (HCHO, ~60%-65% fat; CHO, 20% fat; n = 9) or LCHF (75%-80% fat, <50 g·d-1 CHO, n = 9) diet. The LCHF group performed additional economy tests before and after diet after supplementation with 573 mg·kg-1 body mass KE (HVMN; HVMN Inc., San Francisco, CA), which was also consumed for race 2. RESULTS: The oxygen cost of exercise (relative V˙O2, mL·min-1·kg-1) increased across all four stages after LCHF (P < 0.005). This occurred in association with increased fat oxidation rates, with a reciprocal decrease in CHO oxidation (P < 0.001). Substrate utilization in the HCHO group remained unaltered. The consumption of KE before the LCHF diet increased circulating KB (P < 0.05), peaking at 3.2 ± 0.6 mM, but did not alter V˙O2 or RER. LCHF diet elevated resting circulating KB (0.3 ± 0.1 vs 0.1 ± 0.1 mM), but concentrations after supplementation did not differ from the earlier ketone trial. Critically, race performance was impaired by ~6% (P < 0.0001) relative to baseline in the LCHF group but was unaltered in HCHO. CONCLUSION: Despite elevating endogenous KB production, an LCHF diet does not augment the metabolic responses to KE supplementation and negatively affects race performance.

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Medicine and science in sports and exercise

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© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Sports Medicine. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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Whitfield, J; Burke, LM; McKay, AKA; Heikura, IA; Hall, R; Fensham, N; Sharma, AP, Acute Ketogenic Diet and Ketone Ester Supplementation Impairs Race Walk Performance, Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2021, 53 (4), pp. 776-784