Ketogenic Diet

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Paoli et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:34 RESEARCH ARTICLE

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Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts
Antonio Paoli1,2*, Keith Grimaldi3, Dominic D’Agostino4, Lorenzo Cenci5, Tatiana Moro1, Antonino Bianco6 and Antonio Palma6

Background: Despite the increasing use of very low carbohydrate ketogenic diets (VLCKD) in weight control and management of the metabolic syndrome there is a paucity of research about effects of VLCKD on sport performance. Ketogenic diets may be useful in sports that include weight class divisions and the aim of our study was to investigate the influence of VLCKD on
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Recently Kreider and colleagues studied the effect of a specific exercise program in overweight woman with a VLCKD or normal carbohydrate content diet [17], but only few papers that focus specifically on the influence of VLCKD on sports performance have been published, and with conflicting results: showing benefits [18,19], no effect [20,21] or impairment [22,23].
The present study set out to investigate if a VLCKD could be useful for athletes, especially for those engaged in sports involving weight categories where weight loss without negative changes in the body composition (i.e. loss of muscle mass) and performance is often needed.
To the best of our knowledge no previous study has

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investigated the influence of a VLCKD on strength performance and on explosive strength performance in competitive athletes.


Nine high-level male athletes (age 21 ± 5.5), elite artistic gymnasts, were recruited for this study. Subjects competed in the Italian premier league for the CorpoLibero
Gymnastics Team ASD, Padova, Italy and include two athletes belonging to the Italian national team. The mean volume of weekly training was about 30 hours. During the
VLCKD period (30 days) the athletes were asked to keep to their normal training schedule. During a preliminary meeting it was explained that during the first three weeks it was necessary to almost totally exclude carbohydrates and a detailed menu containing
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