Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on body composition and performance in road cycling: a randomized, controlled trial
Cirer Sastre, Rafel
Corbi Soler, Francesc
López Laval, Isaac
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Low-carbohydrate diets are frequently used to improve performance in endurance sports, often with contradictory results. This study aimed to assess whether a low-carbohydrate diet can outperform an isocaloric conventional diet for improving body composition and performance in a sample of twenty-six trained male road cyclists (previous experience in cyclosportive events, 7.6 ± 4.4 years; age, 26.9 ± 4.9 years; weekly training volume, 7.8 ± 2.9 hours; height, 176 ± 7 centimeters; body fat percentage, 9.7 ± 0.8 %; weight, 65.3 ± 2.3 kg). Detraining and pretreatment periods in which nutrition and training were standardized were followed by an eight-week long intervention in which cyclists consumed either a low-carbohydrate diet (15 % of calories from carbohydrates) or a conventional endurance sports diet while maintaining the same training volumes and intensities. Body composition was assessed through electrical impedance, and performance was evaluated through a twenty-minute time trial performed on a smart bike trainer. The results revealed an overall improvement over time in absolute and relative power, body mass, and body fat for both groups, whilst the improvement in absolute power was comparable. The improvements seen in relative power (p = 0.042), body mass (p = 0.006), and body fat (p = 0.01) were significantly higher in the low-carbohydrate group. We concluded that eight weeks of a low-carbohydrate diet significantly reduced body weight and body fat percentage, and improved 20-minute relative power values in a sample of road cyclists when compared to an isocaloric conventional diet.
Is part ofNutrición Hospitalaria, 2020, vol. 37, núm. 5, p. 1022-1027
European research projects
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by-nc-sa (c) Sitko et al., 2020
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