Even if you don’t fear fatty foods, you may have been reluctant to rely on them as fuel for exercise. A new review of scientific studies shows that a fat-heavy diet can work well for runners and cyclists, although it may take a few weeks for your body to adapt.
Image by Mandy Jouan
The standard advice for runners and cyclists has been to work plenty of carbohydrates into your diet, to keep your body stocked with glycogen to burn during exercise. But low-carb diets are gaining ground among endurance athletes, and a review of the evidence behind fat as fuel, published in the European Journal of Sport Science, concludes that high fat diets work well for this type of exercise. One of the authors, sports scientist Jeff Volek, endorses a diet of 85 per cent fat. (Standard advice, such as from the Institute of Medicine, recommends keeping that number under 35.)
There are some caveats: It may take a few weeks for your body to adapt to a high-fat diet (three weeks for cyclists in one of the studies) and it may never work well if you’re doing sports that require sudden bursts of power or strength, like weightlifting, Crossfit, or team sports like football. But if you’re gearing up for a marathon or a long bike race, bacon-heavy breakfasts might suit you just fine.
Fruit, Vegetables, and…Bacon? [Pacific Standard]