Intramuscular Mechanisms Mediating Adaptation to Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat Diets during Exercise Training

Emily E. Howard, Lee M. Margolis
2020 Nutrients  
Interest in low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets has increased over recent decades given the theorized benefit of associated intramuscular adaptations and shifts in fuel utilization on endurance exercise performance. Consuming a LCHF diet during exercise training increases the availability of fat (i.e., intramuscular triglyceride stores; plasma free fatty acids) and decreases muscle glycogen stores. These changes in substrate availability increase reliance on fat oxidation for energy
more » ... for energy production while simultaneously decreasing reliance on carbohydrate oxidation for fuel during submaximal exercise. LCHF diet-mediated changes in substrate oxidation remain even after endogenous or exogenous carbohydrate availability is increased, suggesting that the adaptive response driving changes in fat and carbohydrate oxidation lies within the muscle and persists even when the macronutrient content of the diet is altered. This narrative review explores the intramuscular adaptations underlying increases in fat oxidation and decreases in carbohydrate oxidation with LCHF feeding. The possible effects of LCHF diets on protein metabolism and post-exercise muscle remodeling are also considered.
doi:10.3390/nu12092496 pmid:32824957 fatcat:5a6sv65mmrcffgk7blsdoe37ym