- We are Running on Ketones. This is not a typical story; we are endurance athletes at different stages of our lives, who are experimenting with a low carb Ketogenic diet. We are not doctors or scientists, just athletes. Anthony is the youngest and the fastest, age 20, and prefers ultra road running. Eric (ZoomZoom), age 27, is ukulele playing mixed distance runner. Dan (SKA Runner), age 42, is new to running, prefers mountains ultras, and a bit of a computer geek. Bob(uglyrnrboy), age 54, prefers mountains ultras and loves to tele ski. This site,, will document our journey as endurance athletes implementing a low carb ketogenic diet in to our lives. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about our experiences.

What is a Nutritional Ketosis Diet? []

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. This elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood is a state known as ketosis.


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An Extra Benefit of Ketogenic Eating

When looking forward and looking at stage races, another obvious advantage of being keto pops up. Fat is (approximately) 9 calories per gram, and carbs are only 4. Assuming 100% dehydration (impossible) of pastas, fruits, and other carby stage racing staples, the best you could hope for on a 75+% carb diet is about 4.2 grams per calorie, assuming your also consuming some protein (also 4 calories per gram).
A ketogenic athlete can average well over 5 calories per gram (again assuming an impossible 100% dehydration, made less impossible by the fact that oils contain pure energy and no water). If you pack something like grassland beef's (grass fed) pemmican then that'll net you over 4.7 calories per gram by itself and taste good still. Add some grass fed butter/tallow and mct oil gruel to that and you'll be comfortably above 5.5 cal/gram.

So lets say you're carrying 7 days of food, a minimum of 14,000 calories:
-best case scenario for a high-carber (freeze dried meals) is just over 4 cal/gram, maybe 4.2 cal/gram ->so 7.35 pounds of food for 7 days
-reasonable case for a keto athlete (pemmican with added oils and baked kale chips for micro nutrients) could be right around 6 cal/gram ->so 5.14 pounds of food for 7 days

->>So if my math is correct 2.21 pounds saved on total pack weight! And you would have a palatable meal plan in my book, albeit a bit spartan.

I'm looking hopefully at numbers like these as I start looking at stage racing as my next logical option. I naturally have excellent recovery and my body feels better running the day after a heavy training day than it does the day before, and since removing carbs I've enjoyed even faster recovery from hard races. I seems like I'm destined to get into this type of running since I:
-want to be competitive
-am not fast enough on the accents or shorter stuff to make that my focus
-don't want to get into 100's and beyond until I'm older and slower
-recover very quickly and have never been injury-prone
-enjoy planning out the logistics

The only part that doesn't fit me perfectly with stage racing is the cost. So if you thought this post was an interesting take on low-carb athletics, please help me race the Atacama Crossing by donating a few dollars and then stay tuned for my podium-finish post about the race!

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