I answer the question, does the keto diet affect athletic performance?

0:00 Does the keto diet decrease athletic performance?
1:08 Protein, not carbs, builds muscles
2:18 When you do a healthy keto plan, your body runs on ketones
2:58 Your performance will improve once you efficiently tap into your fat reserves for fuel

In this video, I answer the question: does the keto diet decrease athletic performance? Will you lose your muscles? Well, let’s talk about that.

In 2012 there was a study, which I linked to below this video, that keto doesn’t affect the strength performance in elite gymnasts. A 2018 study, also linked below, shows that keto reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in deep sea divers.

When you run your body on ketones, you get less oxidative stress, meaning that your organs and tissues don’t break down as easily.

Yet another study of cyclists showed that keto didn’t compromise their endurance. Two of the top ultramarathon runners are both on keto. One of them, Zach Bitter, took the US record for a 100 mile event.

It’s not carbs that build muscle, it’s protein. Strength training also builds muscle. While it’s true that insulin is anabolic, which helps your muscles grow, Two things stimulate insulin; one is carbs, the other is protein.

When you do the keto diet, you go low carb. When you go low carb, and combine it with intermittent fasting, you fix something called insulin resistance. Most of the population has this. Your cells need evermore insulin to offset the effect of eating too many carbs. When you fix insulin resistance, you increase the absorption of amino acids. Your body uses insulin more effectively.

When you do a healthy keto plan, your body runs on ketones, fatty acids, and part of it still uses a little bit of glucose. Even though you’re not consuming glucose, your body has the ability to make its own in the liver, a process called gluconeogenesis.

When you start keto, you go through keto adaptation. You may experience fatigue. Increase your B vitamins and minerals. This is a temporary phase. Once you tap into your fat reserves, your performance will improve. You’ll have more endurance. Some athletes become fat burning machines. The truth is, when you eat high carb, you’ll feel more fatigued and your performance will suffer. You’ll have higher insulin along with blood sugar issues and more oxidative stress.

Now you can see why the keto diet is actually beneficial for athletic performance.

Dr Eric Berg DC Bio:
Dr. Berg, age 56, is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book The Healthy Keto Plan, and is the Director of Dr. Berg Nutritionals. He no longer practices, but focuses on health education through social media.

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Disclaimer: Dr. Eric Berg received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1988. His use of “doctor” or “Dr.” in relation to himself solely refers to that degree. Dr. Berg is a licensed chiropractor in Virginia, California, and Louisiana, but he no longer practices chiropractic in any state and does not see patients so he can focus on educating people as a full-time activity, yet he maintains an active license. This video is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Berg and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The Health & Wellness, Dr. Berg Nutritionals and Dr. Eric Berg, D.C. are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

Thanks for watching!

The keto diet doesn’t decrease athletic performance.


  • تنوير وحياة

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I've been on Keto for two weeks now. I lost almost 3 kilos which is amazing because all other diets failed me, especially that I'm in menopause.
    However, I'm losing my energy and my performance during workouts has decreased a lot. What is the solution?

  • Eoin Hernon

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    How about putting on muscle on keto? Sparing muscle and adding slabs of muscle are two different things?

  • maze0399

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Dr berg's tips are great for fat loss but not for muscle building. I tried keto and my performance at the gym dropped. Keto diet is not that easy to maintain to keep going for a year or so to see myself adapt. I am a person with a fast metabolism and honestly keto doesn't work for me especially for intense workouts. Plus not because someone quotes a research means that the information is true. You need to know how to read a research and how credible it is.

  • Luke Thomas

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    @Dr. Eric Berg DC, I get the performance benefits for endurance athletes; what about anaerobic performance? BTW 👍Fantastic summary! I have a question for you about Anaerobic Performance on Keto: Will being in ketosis impede peak performance? 🤔 NB: I race Mountain bikes for 1hour 30mins at 90-95% max HR. I'm concerned my performance will drop and I mentally keep thinking I will need carbs during or before these races. Please HELP!

  • Gary Robertson

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I am interested in learning more about the introduction of a carb dose during higher intensity phases of endurance events (also during
    training and race prep) and the targeting of this dose to VO2 max levels.  I have been looking for guidance on this issue. Can you point me to any research or other scholarly articles/books on the topic? Thanks

  • MrLuvless

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    my performance in the gym has been subpar since i got on keto,i'm about done with it

  • Craig D

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Dr Berg trains fat asses, not athletes so take with a grain of salt…

  • Cemil Cırrık

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I am definitely much stronger with keto+IF. Never been increasing the weights I lift that fast. I have lots of strength even after fasted heavy weight workout.

  • Jerome

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Why are you only talking about endurance athletes and not sports like basketball, soccer, football, etc?

  • Mohamed Althawadi

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    So what i understand.. increase protein on keto to bulking not carbs.. workout after your meal with fasting to spike GH 👍

  • Slowfall

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    You are saying I cant burn my own fat reserves while on high carb lifestyle. I got six pack on high carb a year ago! It is possible, you are speaking about it like it is impossible and I have to wait 20 hours after eating sugar to be able to burn my fat. thats strange. (btw, I like your work and I am doing keto right now)

  • Mike_Jeff_Steel

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    After adapting to keto (3 months plus) i started Targeted Keto with 5 grams of dextrose pre workout and its like i'm on steroids! Muscles are full too like I was eating carbs.

  • Joe Piscapo

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    ya, but Zach uses Carbs when he does those races.. I follow him on Strava and also listen to his pod cast…

  • tom nene

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    You have discussed insulin, cortisol and estrogen hormones but could you discuss the Lipase hormone and how it changes in women doing keto. I've heard it isnt good for women. And can mess with weight loss.


    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Cancer tumors dont die in ketosis..
    If you dont get carbs and glutamine..
    They just get more aggresive.
    If the tumor dosent get glucose it turns to protein PKCz.
    Tumors are survivors.. every time we think we have outsmarted them those evil tumors outsmart us.
    my mother didnt survive.
    She didnt eat carbs and no glutamine..

  • scotty collins

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I just don't seem to be able to train at the same intensity as before, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice cause my joints feel much better since going keto 💪🏾👊🏾

  • Milan Zivkovic

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    beta alanin for workout?

  • soconaturalhealth

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am


  • Nic Monberg

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Misleading again there is some sports that you need carbs boxing is one without them reflexes get hit hard reaction sports need carbs its a fact.

    you can tell mr berg doesn't work out or do any high level sports.

    regarding cyclists if you look into there diet he would find they do use carbs around 100g for when they are performing so yes they may use keto but then carb load so that really is modified keto

  • bariatasudan

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Dr. berg, I want to thank you for the free nutritional advice. I have taken your advice to work on my inner health first, and was put on antidepressants and than I started the keto lifestyle 12/12/18 I have lost 5lbs so far just within 5 days. I actually went to the mall, did my hair, hung out with friends etc. it's like am getting my old self back. Depression is not fun at all but I just feel a little different. Am so encouraged. I eat two meals only a day (20carbs)and I feel like I still have that energy. Only thing is my calories is low and am sleepy a lot despite having the energy lol. Thank you so much for all the education and concern for health there are people who charge for that so am grateful.

  • James Bishop

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I’m an MMA fighter, how much of an affect will keto have on my power and explosiveness during a fight?

  • Ninja helper

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Dr i love your chnl👍💓💜💛💝💚👌.how can tight belly skin please rply me becauce i will add in my play list

  • John Smith

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Yes, it definitely kills your performance. Take this first hand experience. I lost my muscles because my body had to conspitate the lack of sugar. Now I'm in good balance of carbs and fat and that's help me to maintain my body mass. Dr Berg, is a great guy but if you choose to not consume enough carbs, proteins and healthy fats, you will definitely end up a mess if you have a fast metabolism. Never forget green leaves, that's the most important lesson dr. Berg gave me.

  • Santos Marquez

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Dr. Berg could you do a video on the benefit to participating in a Wellness FX longevity Panel & how this could provide help while on Keto.

  • Peter M. Eggers

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Though normal people can keto adapt in a few days, serious athletes will take a few weeks to a few months to fully get there bodies up to maximum keto burning ability, depending on the amount of insulin resistance and age they start at. i have never read of a serious athlete not losing performance for at least a 2 or 3 weeks to begin with, and normally 2 or 3 months to be back to normal or enhanced performance. Some may take 5 to 6 months to maximise their keto burning ability.

  • Ketones Not Glucose

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    How does a pharmaceutical company put ads on a channel where the channels existence is anti pharmaceutical… Ask your doctor about repatha today!

  • William Sinibaldi

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    yeah even though you need oxaloacetate, which is mainly a glucose derivative, in conjunction to the citric acid cycle in order to compensate for the over production of acetyl-coA from fat metabolism, forgot about that important implication of glycolysis

  • Tracy Lynn AZ

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    I understand the science behind all of it, but doing moderate protein didn’t work for me. I recently upped my protein and feel so much better. I have more energy at the gym and I’m sleeping better. Just started taking Effective Microbes for my digestion and hoping that that will bring it all together. I honestly feel better with the lowest amount of carbs possible. I think that the 7-10 cups of veggies was holding me back. But I eat a lot of fat, brought my protein up, and it was a game changer. I’m also calmer too. We all have a past with our health that we need to pay attention to as well. Science is great but the little tweaks that come into play are based on our individual needs.

  • Hans Quistorff

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    If I go out to work on the farm when I have eaten a carb meal I am hungry within 2 hours. If I am still fasting like today I worked 4 hours then I had a smoothie of greens from the farm, a small avocado an apple from the farm, home made yogurt with the cream and nuts. then went back to work again. I am 78 and have always weighed around 160 pounds.

  • Mark Britton

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Sorry Dr, I have tried the whole no or low carb diet and have always ran out of energy. I think this is good to a point but no carbs made me too sluggish with no energy.

  • Frankie Fernandez

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Tom Brady and Lebron James, Hershel Walker have been Keto for years.

  • virgismar

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    It does affect the amount of cardio you can do. That's for sure

  • 187rocketman

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Thanks for explaining that.

  • z the eagle

    Posted July 21, 2021 11:24 am

    Hey doc, amazing videos, I am a big fan of your videos.

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