A Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Treadmill Training Enhanced Fatty Acid Oxidation Capacity but Did Not Enhance Maximal Exercise Capacity in Mice.


Ma S(1)(2), Yang J(3)(4)(5), Tominaga T(2)(3), Liu C(4)(5), Suzuki K(1).
Author information:
(1)Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa 3591192, Japan.
(2)Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 1020083, Japan.
(3)Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa 3591192, Japan.
(4)College of Food Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.
(5)Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food Quality and Safety, Guangzhou 510642, China.


The low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD) is a dietary approach characterized by the intake of high amounts of fat, a balanced amount of protein, and low carbohydrates, which is insufficient for metabolic demands. Previous studies have shown that an LCKD alone may contribute to fatty acid oxidation capacity, along with endurance. In the present study, we combined a 10-week LCKD with an 8-week forced treadmill running program to determine whether training in conjunction with LCKD enhanced fatty acid oxidation capacity, as well as whether the maximal exercise capacity would be affected by an LCKD or training in a mice model. We found that the lipid pool and fatty acid oxidation capacity were both enhanced following the 10-week LCKD. Further, key fatty acid oxidation related genes were upregulated. In contrast, the 8-week training regimen had no effect on fatty acid and ketone body oxidation. Key genes involved in carbohydrate utilization were downregulated in the LCKD groups. However, the improved fatty acid oxidation capacity did not translate into an enhanced maximal exercise capacity. In summary, while favoring the fatty acid oxidation system, an LCKD, alone or combined with training, had no beneficial effects in our intensive exercise-evaluation model. Therefore, an LCKD may be promising to improve endurance in low- to moderate-intensity exercise, and may not be an optimal choice for those partaking in high-intensity exercise.