The nutrition world has gone crazy
None so much as the Low Carb, High Fat, Ketogenic craze as of late. (Yes I know it’s been around since whenever)
I actually saw someone trying to defend their meal choice of 150g of ground beef and 3 large slabs of butter as, get this; healthy and banging on about how more metabolically efficient they were despite the fact that they were reporting larger body fat gain.
In the same group there was a person saying how they ran their first 50 mile ultra on “salt water and eating nothing other than a small chunk of flap jack and a bite of banana at mile 40”
But then they wondered why the room was spinning and felt like crap later on in the race.
It’s called bonking!
Not that metabolically efficient then.
Now, I don’t mind people experimenting with nutritional approaches, done a lot of it myself, but not to the point where its harmed my training or recovery,
but I was pushing a few boundaries.
Thing is when a nutrition approach negatively affects performance, recovery and health it’s time to ask yourself,
*is this actually working?
*am I actually following it right?
*Is this some sort of stupid trend?
*am I being conned into buying supplements and meal replacements?
* why did I start this in the first place?
Now I’m not saying there isn’t a benefit to health to fasting or low carb. What I am saying is it’s not strictly affective for overall performance.
But say that to the low carb, ketogenic crew and you’ll get a torrent of unpleasantness in return.
They defend their way of life with un-sinkable dogma. Even when faced with the current facts that eating this way is NOT that healthy or performance advancing they shut you down
Head in the sand, chicken licken mentality. It’s wrong and I believe it’s a ticking health time bomb.
Here’s what we do know
=>High fat, low carb, medium low protein diets can improve blood sugar markers for the better.
=>They can improve the body’s ingested upregulation of fat as fuel.
=>They are not superior for fat loss
=>They are not automatically anti inflammatory
=>Done badly, and they often are, they lack important vitamin, minerals, phyto nutrients, fiber and prebiotic fiber that help us stay healthy.
=>Are often way too heavy in calories – if you’re trying to drop body fat you want to keep an eye on calories.
Butter and heavy cream in coffee for instance?? <= #Justsaying
Here’s a thing to consider
Just like carbohydrates quality and food choice matters when it comes to saturated fats. There is a difference between how your body digests and processes foods from avocado, nuts, cheeses to butter.
And here’s a thing to consider beyond that.
High fat, hyper caloric diets will make you fat and make you as unhealthy as do very high carbohydrate hyper caloric diets.
But the big question for me is this.
Is a high fat, low carb, ketogenic diet good for building high class performance in Triathlon?
The answer to that is NO!
In-fact they really suck at delivering premium fuel. I’ve said this before and it’s good to ram it home.
To develop performance, you need to be able to improve power and you need carbohydrates to get the best in those sorts of training sessions.
Strict high fat, low carb just doesn’t cut it.
But here’s the thing. High fat, low carb approaches to certain training sessions have been shown to improve metabolic flexibility and increase mitochondrial content.
I know what you’re thinking, but you just said.
Hang on let me expand,
you’ve read this far.
So, can you have your fat and keep carbs?
Well yes you can but you have to periodise your meals to suit the training. That takes a lot of thought and preparation. Frankly getting that right is hard and the performance gain is minimal.
So is there a better way, or should I say easier way to get more metabolically flexible, good fueling performance and recovery from your nutrition?
Well yes there is and its really, really simple.
Eat all your meals from whole, natural foods, combine the carbohydrates, fats, proteins, a ton of greens with vibrant colours in veg and fruit.
I know right, that simple.
You see combining all of these together slows down the GI of foods, stabilizes blood sugars and gives you a massive broad spectrum of everything you need.
I know healthy right.
Plus, and here’s the brilliant thing about eating this way. You don’t have to demonise any food group which means everything is now back on the table.
Unless your allergic or intolerant to it (Onions get thee away from me, I get horrendous stomach pains with them)
If you need to demonise ONE thing. Focus on excess calories.
You see calories matter BIG TIME when it comes to fat loss and health. Stick within your daily budgets, eat the way I’ve just described, you’ll have a ton of energy plus you’ll look lean and healthy too.
And no I don’t have a supplement to sell for that.
Thanks for reading
Simon de Burgh
2 X Winner of Gym Based PT
Level 2 British Triathlon Coach
Performance & Nutrition Director
PS: If you want to get these facts in BIGGER detail follow this link to the ISSN paper to their position stand to diets and body composition. I warn you its long and unbiased.