I noticed a little traffic blip to my posts here on SuperStarch scamming which reminded me that AHS13 panel member on keto diets for athletes, and woo woo peddler, Ben Greenfield, would have completed his ketogenic diet fueled triathlon by now. He has. And for $9.99 you can get the full scoop on how it went. No thanks. Still, from reading the comments, one can surmise how he fared.
First, let me say this. My hat goes off to anyone that can complete one of these races in any amount of time, etc. and all that jazz. But at Ben's level, people don't generally compete in these things for recreation, there's money at stake -- whether it be endorsements/sponsorships or less directly involved in promoting his business. So this was yet another publicity stunt, which is fine, but it doesn't seem to have been a success from any other viewpoint.
I'm not a fan of his delivery, but Durian Rider is in fine form there in comments laughing at Ben.
Kinda has a point there, eh? So a quick skim of the comments and the race results, where Ben placed 26th overall, a full hour behind the event winner, and he "bonked" about halfway through the run. Ben relates:
"I spoke pretty extensively with Peter Attia about this and we determined that based on my bike speed, projected bike power and caloric utilization, I was probably nearly 100% glycogen depleted starting the run - and there fore have three choices: 1) higher exogenous source of fast release sugars immediately or shortly after starting run (potential for stomach issues and not that healthy, but do-able); 2) higher intake of Superstarch per hour during bike (can cause GI distress in some people) 3) "loading up" in final hour of bike with "extra" calories (e.g. 400-600 calories of something like a BonkBreaker bar, etc.) going into run. A combo of the first and third option is probably what I'll do in Hawaii.
We're also looking into higher intake of amino acids, because a drop in AA's could also cause a bit of a bonk. So those are the basics.And Z4/Z5 efforts are just fine in ketosis - unless you try to throw them in after pure glycogen depletion at the end of 8 solid hours of hard exercise - such as attempting to sprint out the last half-marathon of an Ironman.
Glycogen depletion? You don't say! But I thought you had like 30,000 calories of fat to burn so you don't need no stinkin' carbohydrate. Guess not. So much for the performance side of this art and science schtick. I'd say Volek & Phinney have some 'splainin' to do -- speaking of which, did this study ever get published up? Fat Burning Beast. That was my post about Tim Olson -- "low carb" ultra runner. Only he's not really a low carber after all. Still, Phinney was quite coy on the details:
STEVE PHINNEY: I wouldn’t tell you the details even if I knew because it’s confidential research information. And I don’t think he’d want any of the details of what he’s doing to be public, because, realize, all of a sudden this guy knows absolutely that he’s got a remarkable competitive edge.
So what happened for Ben? Where was his remarkable competitive edge?
STEVE PHINNEY: When the starting gun goes off, 30,000 calories of body fat. Now, if you run this race typically your body will burn 10,000 calories over the 100-mile course, so he’s got enough to run the race three times over before runs out of fat fuel. But that’s because he’s a fat-burner. For the carb loaded runners, who are less adapted to burning fat, at the same starting line, even if they’d done their carb loading to the maximum, the most carb calories they’d have in their bodies is 2,000. Now, if you’re running on a carb fuel strategy, and you’ll need 10,000 calories to complete the 100-mile race, that 2,000 calories of carb stored in your body at the start of the race is only 1/5 of the fuel that you need to complete the race.
Sounds like Ben ran out of gas and took a page out of Tim Olson's book and turned to ... Coke. Now Olson favors Sierra Mist as he seems to prefer less caffeine and real sugar vs. HFCS. But Ben Greenfield, your ketogenic triathlete ... fueled by Coca Cola!! Oh there was some superstarch too, but I guess in the end it doesn't really do the trick. When the going gets tough, the ketogenic get "cracking".
The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance -- except when you are actually performing, then chug carbs or you're gonna bonk.