FTP #33: Louise Burke, PhD – Ketogenic diets for cycling performance: the future of elite endurance sports?

FTP #32: Andrew Jones, PhD – Dietary nitrates and endurance performance: Where do we stand?
July 29, 2020
FTP #34: PART 2: Louise Burke, PhD – Ketogenic diets for cycling performance: the future of elite endurance sports?
September 14, 2020

FTP #33: Louise Burke, PhD – Ketogenic diets for cycling performance: the future of elite endurance sports?

Prof. Louise Burke, OAM PhD APD
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Louise is a sports dietitian with nearly 40 years of experience in the education and counselling of elite athletes.  She worked at the Australian Institute of Sport for thirty years, first as Head of Sports Nutrition and then as Chief of Nutrition Strategy.  She was the team dietitian for the Australian Olympic Teams for the 1996-2012 Summer Olympic Games.  Her publications include over 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and the authorship or editorship of several textbooks on sports nutrition.  She is an editor of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Louise was a founding member of the Executive of Sports Dietitians Australia and is a Director of the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2009 for her contribution to sports nutrition.   Louise was appointed as Chair in Sports Nutrition in the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne in 2014 and took up this position in a full-time capacity in 2020.


On this episode:

  • The ongoing diet wars and the ketogenic diets (KD)
  • Social media noise regarding the KD
  • What do we know about the use of KD in exercise performance?
  • Faster, higher, stronger with the KD
  • The oxygen cost of exercise
  • Metabolic flexibility and fat adaptation
  • Are we sabotaging the studies for “not going long enough”?
  • Altitude considerations
  • Returning to high carbohydrate after being on a KD
  • Challenges in planning research with the KD with athletes


Articles mentioned during the episode:

Mirtschin, J. G., Forbes, S. F., Cato, L. E., Heikura, I. A., Strobel, N., Hall, R., & Burke, L. M. (2018). Organization of dietary control for nutrition-training intervention involving periodized carbohydrate availability and ketogenic low-carbohydrate high-fat dietInternational journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism28(5), 480-489.

Burke, L. M. (2020). Ketogenic low CHO, high fat diet: the future of elite endurance sport?The Journal of Physiology.

Heikura, I. A., Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Ross, M. L., Garvican-Lewis, L., Sharma, A. P., … & Ackerman, K. E. (2020). A Short-term ketogenic diet impairs markers of bone health in response to exerciseFrontiers in endocrinology10, 880.

Burke, L. M., Sharma, A. P., Heikura, I. A., Forbes, S. F., Holloway, M., McKay, A. K., … & Ross, M. L. (2020). Crisis of confidence averted: Impairment of exercise economy and performance in elite race walkers by ketogenic low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet is reproduciblePloS one15(6), e0234027.

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