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Article

A 2 Week Cross-over Intervention with a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet Compared to a High Carbohydrate Diet Attenuates Exercise-Induced Cortisol Response, but Not the Reduction of Exercise Capacity, in Recreational Athletes

1
Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
2
Department of Physiology, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3
Cell Biology and Immunology Group, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010157
Received: 10 December 2020 / Revised: 29 December 2020 / Accepted: 1 January 2021 / Published: 6 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Metabolism and Diet)
Low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets are followed by athletes, but questions remain regarding effects of LCHF on metabolic adaptation, exercise-induced stress, immune function and their time-course. In this cross-over study, 14 recreational male athletes (32.9 ± 8.2 years, VO2max 57.3 ± 5.8 mL/kg/min) followed a two week LCHF diet (<10 En% carbohydrates (CHO), ~75En% Fat) and a two week HC diet (>50 En% CHO), in random order, with a wash-out period of >2 weeks in between. After 2 days and 2 weeks on either diet, participants performed cycle ergometry for 90 min at 60%Wmax. Blood samples for analysis of cortisol, free fatty acids (FFA), glucose and ketones, and saliva samples for immunoglobin A (s-IgA) were collected at different time points before and after exercise. The LCHF diet resulted in higher FFA, higher ketones and lower glucose levels compared to the HC diet (p < 0.05). Exercise-induced cortisol response was higher after 2 days on the LCHF diet (822 ± 215 nmol/L) compared to 2 weeks on the LCHF diet (669 ± 243 nmol/L, p = 0.004) and compared to both test days following the HC diet (609 ± 208 and 555 ± 173 nmol/L, both p < 0.001). Workload was lower, and perceived exertion higher, on the LCHF diet compared to the HC diet on both occasions. A drop in s-IgA following exercise was not seen after 2 days on the LCHF diet, in contrast to the HC diet. In conclusion, the LCHF diet resulted in reduced workload with metabolic effects and a pronounced exercise-induced cortisol response after 2 days. Although indications of adaptation were seen after 2 weeks on the LCHF diet, work output was still lower. View Full-Text
Keywords: cortisol; ketones; s-IgA; exercise; low carbohydrate diet cortisol; ketones; s-IgA; exercise; low carbohydrate diet
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MDPI and ACS Style

Terink, R.; Witkamp, R.F.; Hopman, M.T.E.; Siebelink, E.; Savelkoul, H.F.J.; Mensink, M. A 2 Week Cross-over Intervention with a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet Compared to a High Carbohydrate Diet Attenuates Exercise-Induced Cortisol Response, but Not the Reduction of Exercise Capacity, in Recreational Athletes. Nutrients 2021, 13, 157. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010157

AMA Style

Terink R, Witkamp RF, Hopman MTE, Siebelink E, Savelkoul HFJ, Mensink M. A 2 Week Cross-over Intervention with a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet Compared to a High Carbohydrate Diet Attenuates Exercise-Induced Cortisol Response, but Not the Reduction of Exercise Capacity, in Recreational Athletes. Nutrients. 2021; 13(1):157. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010157

Chicago/Turabian Style

Terink, Rieneke, Renger F. Witkamp, Maria T.E. Hopman, Els Siebelink, Huub F.J. Savelkoul, and Marco Mensink. 2021. "A 2 Week Cross-over Intervention with a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet Compared to a High Carbohydrate Diet Attenuates Exercise-Induced Cortisol Response, but Not the Reduction of Exercise Capacity, in Recreational Athletes" Nutrients 13, no. 1: 157. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010157

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