Many are cutting back on their carb consumption for the purpose of fat loss. This has been effective since many carbohydrates in the market today are overly processed and have very little nutrition plus the fact that carbs are turned into glucose in the body and any that is not used for energy turns into fat. In general, carbs spike insulin levels and cause weight gain.
There are, however, carbs that are good for you and boost energy levels and endurance Will you hurt your athletic performance by eliminating these types of carbs from your diet?
Cutting carbs is good for people with carbohydrate intolerance, or insulin resistance.
This means that their body cannot process carbs effectively and it ends up being turned into sugar. This is usually the case with those who are obese, or overweiwhtt or those who have diabetes and very slow metabolism. Athletes, on the other hand, have trained their body through consistent exercise, to use up these carbohydrates for fuel and so none of is tunred into unhealthy sugars that may cause blood insulin spikes.
In fact, if an athlete is embarking on a bout of prolonged exercise they absolutely need carbohydrates to keep them going, as do those who engage in regular exercise and especially vigourous workouts.
Many athletes, when they know they will be doing an intense athletic event, will eat extra carbohydrates. This is called carb loading. If they fail to provide their bodies with enough carbs to sustain them, they will eventually be running on fumes and won’t be able to perform well in this event. The body cannot switch midway from using carbs for fuel to using fat for fuel, if this is what it is used to.
The same holds true for those who practice intense workouts, such as high intensity interval training ro CrossFit. So, yes, a low carb diet can hurt athletic performance.
Low Carb Intense Performance Is Possible
There are those, however, that considered finding a way to allow athletes to survive on a low carb diet. Dr. Jeff S. Volek and Dr. Steve D. Phinney are two such individuals. They have been doing research to find a way for athletes to train their bodies to be able to sustain long periods of exercise without the use of a high carbohydrate diet.
These two doctors are pro the low carb Atkins diet, or ketogenic diet. In fact, they co-authored the book, New Atkins Diet For A New You. They believe that eating a high fat, high protein, and low carbohydrate diet is the healthiest way to live and that athletes should be able to benefit from it as well.
They published their findings in their new book, The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance.
In this book, they explain their simple plan to athletes on how to train their bodies to use stored fat for fuel during marathons or soccer matches where they would normally have stuffed their bodies full of carbohydrates. The doctors admit that at first athletic performance will suffer until your body adapts but that after using their diet for 2 weeks or more, these athletes will see an improvement.
One person who reviewed their book suffered from Type 2 Diabetes and was a marathon runner. His diagnosis made it very difficult to allow for carbohydrate loading for his marathon running, since his diabetes made him very insulin resistant. After reading this book and implementing the recommended diet the reader commented that he ran two of the worst 5k races of his life, followed by rapid improvements week by week. Eventually he was able to knock off almost 2 minutes from his 5K PB.
This research might give hope to people who have high insulin resistance for whatever reason who have stopped themselves from any athletic endeavors because they feared they couldn’t perform well without a high carb diet and they knew that a high carb diet could be potentially dangerous to their health.
Granted, it may take a while to train your body to become a low carb athlete but by reading this book and giving this new method a try you may find that you are able to perform intense exercise and even run a marathon without carb loading.