Both observational and prospectively designed studies support the conclusion that submaximal endurance performance can be sustained despite the virtual exclusion of carbohydrate from the human diet. Clearly this result does not automatically follow the casual implementation of dietary carbohydrate restriction, however, as careful attention to time for keto-adaptation, mineral nutriture, and constraint of the daily protein dose is required. Contradictory results in the scientific literature can be explained by the lack of attention to these lessons learned (and for the most part now forgotten) by the cultures that traditionally lived by hunting. Therapeutic use of ketogenic diets should not require constraint of most forms of physical labor or recreational activity, with the one caveat that anaerobic (ie, weight lifting or sprint) performance is limited by the low muscle glycogen levels induced by a ketogenic diet, and this would strongly discourage its use under most conditions of competitive athletics.
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PROLONGED MEAT DIETS WITH A STUDY OF KIDNEY FUNCTION AND KETOSIS.*
BY WALTER S. MCCLELLAN AND EUGENE F. BOIS. February 13, 1930.
Two normal men volunteered to live solely on meat for one year, which gave us an unusual opportunity of studying the effects of this diet. The term “meat,” as used by us, included
both the lean and the fat portions of animals.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.
1. Two men lived on an exclusive meat diet for 1 year and a
third man for 10 days. The relative amounts of lean and fat,
meat ingested were left to the instinctive choice of the individuals.
2. The protein content varied from 100 to 140 gm., the fat from
200 to 300 gm., the carbohydrate, derived entirely from the meat,
from 7 to 12 gm., and the fuel value from 2000 to 3100 calories.
3. At the end of the year, the subjects were mentally alert,
physically active, and showed no specific physical changes in any
system of the body.
4. During the 1st week, all three men lost weight, due to a
shift in the water content of the body while adjusting itself to the
low carbohydrate diet. Thereafter, their weights remained
5. In the prolonged test, the blood pressure of one man remained
constant; the systolic pressure of the other decreased 20
mm. and the diastolic pressure remained uniform.
6. The control of the bowels was not disturbed while the subjects
were on prescribed meat diet. In one instance, when the
proportion of protein calories in the diet exceeded 40 per cent,
a diarrhea developed.
7. Vitamin deficiencies did not appear.
8. The total acidity of the urine during the meat diet was increased
to 2 or 3 times that of the acidity on mixed diets and acetonuria
was present throughout the periods of exclusive meat.
9. Urine examinations, determinations of the nitrogenous
constituents of the blood, and kidney function tests revealed no
evidence of kidney damage.
10. While on the meat diet, the men metabolized foodstuffs with
FA: G ratios between 1.9 and 3.0 and excreted from 0.4 to 7.2 gm.
of acetone bodies per day.
11. In these trained subjects, the clinical observations and
laboratory studies gave no evidence that any ill effects had
occurred from the prolonged use of the exclusive meat diet.
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