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Low Carb Diets In Sports
  • Arati Shah

  • 19, Mar. 2020

Low Carb Diets In Sports

Low carb diets often seem attractive from the purpose of weight loss and fat loss. However, although these diet help achieve those goals they do seem to have an effect on performance. So, a sports nutritionist or a sports dietitian can help plan appropriate diets for those wanting to improve their body composition without a negative effect on their performance. 

Of course there are potential health risks of these diets on the athletes: 

  1. If the diet is low in carbs, it is high in protein and fats. This is especially true when the intake of animal proteins is high they often contain high saturated fat and cholesterol in them which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in the long run. 

  1. Low carb diets tend to be low in fiber increasing the chances of constipation and other intestinal issues 

  1. There is a strain on the liver since the diet tends to be high in protein and fat 

  1. Low carb diets are low on the essential micronutrients, vitamins and minerals and the anti oxidants that play an essential role in recovery 

Besides these effects, there is an effect on the sporting performance: 

  1. If the exercise is of mild intensity the dip in performance is not severe. However, during moderate to high intensity training, the quality of training and performance can be hampered.  

  1. Similarly, if there are back to back training sessions, recovery becomes a challenge without sufficient carbs 

  1. And, there is a chance of lean muscle loss with insufficient carbs in the diet  

Now, there are many athletes who do consume more carbs than what they would need, under the misconception that since they are exercising they can eat as much as they want to. So, if their energy intake is high, they may have to reduce the amount of carbs to reduce the total energy intake. Along with this they may have to adjust their total carbohydrate intake too – meaning eating more of carbohydrates on the higher training days and lower on the days when the training intensity is low. 

Many athletes, during the off season or when nursing an injury put on weight, especially fat weight. As the season approaches or when they are nearing the start of their training after the injury, going on a low carb diets seems to be the fastest way of attaining the desired body composition. However, it can also backfire if it is not done in the right way. A sports and fitness nutritionist is the right professional who has knowledge in the field of sports nutrition, to take the athlete through the process in a healthy manner and without a negative effect on the sporting performance.