As humans, when we have the ability to switch back and forth between using fat (and some carbs) and using pretty much just carbs as a fuel source, we are said to be ‘metabolically flexible’. Sometimes this is also called being ‘fat-adapted’.

Metabolic flexibility is the ultimate for the high performing human as they can take advantage of different fuel sources when and where they need them.

The six reasons LCHF will improve your performance in life (and sport) are:

  1. You will be mentally sharper – using ketones as a fuel for the brain helps with concentration, cognition, and you won’ fall of the “glucose cliff” every few hours.
  2. You won’t run out of fuel – fat is a big fuel tank and you can access it easily when you need to.
  3. You will be leaner – because you can manage your hunger and cravings better, you won’t crack into the sugar under pressure.
  4. You will tolerate more pain – OK it’s emerging research, but new evidence shows how high blood sugars make you tolerate less pain. Adenosine, a neurotransmitter seems to be part of this process which is not completely understood. LCHF can help both with chronic pain and perhaps acute pain.
  5. You will recover faster and your immune system will be better. Stress and exercise produces free radicals (reactive oxygen species or ‘ROS’) which you need to clean up. Antioxidants are part of this process. First, a good whole food LCHF plan is full of antioxidants.  Second, when you burn fat you produce less ROS. And third, new research shows that when you are in nutritional ketosis your body engages its own antioxidant system. That’s right – you produce your own antioxidants but you need to be low carb to do so.
  6. You will have fewer gut/stomach issues. Eliminating grain seems to have big benefits in reducing bloating and you’ll feel great.  You won’t have to shovel down gels and other sports drinks when you exercise for longer periods.

That’s my top 6!


Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • S. Larsen says:

    And yet you don’t cite a single study that shows improved race performance on a high fat diet compared to a high carb diet. In fact you don’t cite any studies to support any of the above point. Seems to be conjecture at best.

    • What The Fat? says:

      Hi S,

      do sports people at the top of their game get an advantage by switching to a low carb diet? Maybe, we’ll try to find studies on it. Do sports people (or anyone else) who are struggling with their performance or capacity to exercise due to insufficient cardiorespiratory fitness get a benefit? I think there is more evidence for that.

  • emma says:

    I’m a doctor myself contracting in Ophthalmolgy and practicing Natural Ophthalmolgy and a convert and adherent of Weston A Price. I was at Grant’s talk in Tauranga on Monday and was inspired. Please would you send the reference for the article on CHO restriction in Nutrition journal. Also have you some papers or reviews available on the LDL rise that some patients on the ketogenic diet have and what other analyses can be done on their apo proteins etc that can help alleviate anxiety about cholesterol deposition and cardiovascular disease. Thanks

    • What The Fat? says:

      Hi Emma, I will ask Grant for the references. In the meantime, I should stress that LDL rise of any great extent in adults isn’t something that’s yet been reported during ketogenic treatment of obesity, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.
      It’s something that’s been seen in a relatively small proportion of people who are lean, active, and healthy and who thus aren’t usual subjects in medical diet trials, but who may be interested in the ketogenic diet for other reasons. Such people have, however, often been subjects in fasting studies, and we see the split clearly then; LDL, if elevated, drops after a few days – and never rises – when obese people fast, but rises when lean healthy people fast.
      An exception is during rapid weight loss – LDL can rise eventually, even on a low fat, calorie restricted diet, as here.
      Because medicine doesn’t usually interest itself enough in healthy people, we’re still trying to work out why this difference exists.
      The ApoB/ApoA1 ratio is considered most reliable for cardiovascular disease prediction in a normal population, as is the TG/HDL ratio. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in people with fasting TG/HDL ratios (in mg/dL) below 2 seems to be rare, even in heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia where the mean LDL is around 6 mmol/L (as in this study).
      In a high risk individual with high LDL (that is, where risk is defined by factors other than LDL alone) you would want the Non-HDL to HDL ratio (similar to ApoB/ApoA1) to improve; this is what we would expect in such a case on LCHF. The question we need to answer is whether healthy people can really be harmed by the exact same thing that improves the CVD risk prognosis and overall fitness in the most at-risk individuals, given that healthy people don’t feel impaired in any way if their LDL rises for this reason.

      • What The Fat? says:

        Hi Emma, here’s the reference

        Grant says that the average rise in LDL on LCHF isn’t meaningful, that said many do get an upward movement (some down too), what this means isn’t clear…. in the context of metabolic syndrome or diabetes, the LDL count can go up because the LDL particle size increases, which is generally believed to reduce atherogenic risk. If the TG/HDL ratio goes down, it’s safe to deduce that LDL particle size will increase, but depending on the factors that were supporting the LDL level in that individual, LDL level can still go down at the same time.
        When triglyceride is low or ideal, the Iranian calculation of LDL is more accurately reflective of real LDL levels than the normally used Friedewald equation; there is an explanation and a calculator here.

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