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Can A Very Active Person Be On A Ketogenic Diet?


That’s a very common question I hear…People who are very active often believe that without carbohydrates, they won’t be able to sustain the energy levels they need to have effective workouts or to perform well in competitions and events.

I listened to an excellent podcast of Ben Greenfield as he interviewed surgeon, engineer and relentless self-experimenter, Dr. Peter Attia, about this very topic: whether it is possibly to be extremely active and eat a low carbohydrate diet.

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to keep yourself in a “ketogenic”, low carbohydrate state and still swim, bike, run, lift and do other extreme sports and activities, then this audio will answer all your questions.

Click here to open the Ben Greenfield podcast in a new window

Here are some of the questions Ben asks Dr. Attia:

  • How did you come to start your website, WarOnInsulin.com, and what is it you’re trying to achieve with it?
  • You appear to keep yourself very fit. What does a typical week of exercise look like for you?
  • For any given day, especially on these exercise days, about how many carbohydrates do you eat, and what does your diet look like?
  • And, what do you eat before and during a long workout, like a long bike ride?
  • What is the science behind how your body is able to accomplish so much exercise with so few carbohydrates?
  • What research has been conducted on people exercising very long, very hard or both while eating low or no carbohydrates, and what has been observed in the research?
  • Is there a “maximum” amount of carbohydrates that would be considered healthy for frequently exercising individuals, such as enough carbohydrate to keep liver glycogen stores full?
  • Was this style of eating an easy transition for you, and how can people expect to feel if they try to combine high volume or high intensity exercise with carbohydrate restriction?
  • Have you found a “ceiling” for how long or how hard you can go while in a carbohydrate restricted phase?
  • Do you feel or have you observed a need to include carbohydrate re-feeding periods, whether specific days of the week, periods of the exercise year, or seasons in which you may eat more fruit or more carbohydrates than usual?
  • Have you found that particular dietary supplements or strategies help active individuals to succeed with or adhere to a low carbohydrate diet?
  • Some studies have shown low insulin and a low carb diet to reduce thyroid function or cause leptin resistance. Is that true, and if so, is it an issue?

A Bit About Dr. Attia

Praise The Lard shirtCanadian, Dr. Attia, is a relentless self-experimenter who has spent the last two years examining the role of nutrition on all aspects of personal performance. He is a former McKinsey & Company consultant, surgeon, engineer, calculus teacher and an author of numerous medical and research papers.

Dr. Attia received his medical degree from Stanford University and holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he also taught and helped revamp the calculus curriculum. He did his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He also did a fellowship in surgical oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Attia’s website, which we discuss during the interview, is EatingAcademy.com.

You can find all of this content and more resources at its original source on Ben Greenfield Fitness.


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