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In endurance sports new research suggest that fat may be fast

Posted Mar 23 2009 3:04pm

Trail_runner You' ve probably heard of " cabo-loading " (eating high quantities of carbohydrates) before a big race, but new research suggests that what you should be doing is " fat-loading. "

The good news is that scientist now have some proof that fat may equal faster performance in endurance sports.

The bad news is that it is probably not the kind of fat (read ice cream) you may be picturing right now.

Researchers have found that in animal studies in which the animals were fed a high fat diet for more than four weeks showed a significant increase in endurance performance.

According to, a recent "review of runners diets found that most runners are actually eating 50 percent carbohydrate rather than the 60 to 70 percent recommended anyway, so eat a higher fat diet than originally thought.These athletes were performing well."

So the obvious question for the researchers was, " are these better performance results due to the higher intake of fat?"

To investigate this, researchers studied trained cyclists. They placed them on two regimes: a high fat diet (67% fat, 7% carbohydrate, 26% protein) and a high carbohydrate diet (74% carbohydrate, 12% fat, 14% protein). They then evaluated their endurance exercise performance. "

The results of the research showed that, "
at moderate intensities, over a long time period there would seem to be some advantage to fat loading."

So now the obvious question for endurance athletes is should you "fat load" before a big race.

The answer is: it depends.

Most marathons are run at very high intensities, so fat-loading may not have any benefit at these intensities anyway. Most of the work so far has been with cycling, a different type of endurance sport.

It may be than fat-loading is most appropriate for very long races, ultra-marathons and more, and for iron man type triathlon events, not for normal marathons"

And of course by fat loading incorrectly you could just get fat---which both scientis and most athletes agree is not fast.

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