The Keto Diet for Athletes: How Low Carb Should You Go?

A lot of controversy surrounds the traditional ketogenic dieting practice – especially when it comes to performance athletes. Can athletes eat a keto diet?

If you asked me five years ago whether the keto diet would ever catch the mainstream, I would have said never in a million years.

I’ve been doing one form of the keto diet or another for over 6 years now and with great benefit.

It’s helped me overcome ulcerative colitis, maintain a lean body, and it pulled me away from the 6 meal a day bodybuilding paradigm.

But the truth is that I’m a bit annoyed by the “Cult of Keto” that’s popped up around the dietary movement. We’re seeing a lot of overnight social media gurus without any real nutrition training doling out advice.

This leads to a lot of cookie cutter recommendations. For example, I read a lot of blogs telling people that if they go over 30 gram of carbs a day or over 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, they’ll never get into ketosis.

That may cut it for a 50 year old overweight man whose pre-diabetic, but what about athletes?

The truth is that athletes, especially strength and combat athletes, require enough protein and some carbs if they are going to be able to perform. The goal here isn’t just to get into ketosis. It’s to leverage fat adaptation for increased strength, endurance, and recovery. This is why we see so many athletes crashing and burning when they follow popular low carb recommendations.

But how many grams of protein and carbs can athletes sustain while still being able to benefit from fat adaptation?

To answer this question, we’ll explore one of the most important studies of the benefits of keto-adaptation for athletes over the past few years.

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