Is the Keto Diet Safe for Dancers?

Boundless energy. A more “toned” sensation. Reduced swelling. When Patricia Zhou (then dancing with the Staatsballett Berlin in Germany ) heard a buddy rave about the ketogenic diet plan’s supposed results over 2 years earlier, she understood she needed to provide it a shot. Zhou, who’s now with L.A. Dance Project , stuck to the ultra-restrictive diet plan longer than the majority of, however has actually because gone back to consuming generally. Why? And what can you gain from her experiences? DS consulted with Zhou and 2 nutritional experts to discover.

Patricia Zhou (Da Dong, courtesy Zhou)

What’s the Science Behind Keto?

The ketogenic diet plan, which is high-fat and low-carb, has actually been around given that the 1920s, when it was established to deal with individuals with epilepsy who didn’t react to medication. “When the body is denied of carbs, it rather makes energy by turning the fat in foods you consume into acidic chemicals called ketones,” discusses Jennifer Medina, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE, who has actually counseled households about the ketogenic diet plan through the NYU Langone Epilepsy. This severe state, in which your body burns ketones rather of glucose for energy, is called ketosis.

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What Do You Eat on a Typical Day?

When Zhou was on the ketogenic diet plan, she may have 2 eggs prepared in butter and a coffee with coconut oil for breakfast, with a treat of macadamia nuts after early morning class. Lunch would be a salad with great deals of feta cheese, together with half an avocado with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. Supper was fatty meat or salmon, plus cauliflower puréed with whipping cream, parmesan, and spices.

In a diet plan where 70 percent of calories originated from fat, where are the healthy complex-carbohydrates that dancers require? Well, precisely. “Keto restricts carbohydrates to simply 20 to 50 grams a day—– which’s for an adult,” Medina states. “The micronutrients we obtain from veggies, fruits, and grains simply do not take place in keto-compatible food classifications.” Zhou needed to take magnesium and potassium every day and significantly up her salt consumption, due to the fact that ketosis makes it difficult to stay hydrated and keep important electrolytes . Even with supplements, “I constantly got muscle cramps and charley horses due to the fact that I wasn’t consuming bananas,” she states.

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How Does It Feel to Be in Ketosis?

” I ‘d get up truly early, and not get tired throughout the day,” keeps in mind Zhou. “But I was hungrier than I required to be a great deal of the time, due to the fact that I could not discover keto treats on the go.” And as your body changes to utilizing ketones for fuel, you can eagerly anticipate a minimum of 2 to 3 days of the feared “keto influenza”: “You simply feel truly weak,” Zhou remembers. “I keep in mind remaining in practice sessions and sensation so awful that I didn’t understand if I might dance.”

Zhou in wedding rehearsal (Sebastián Cvitanic, courtesy Zhou)

Are There Risks?

” Constipation due to absence of fiber, stunted development, loss of menstrual durations , hormone imbalances, anxiety , stress and anxiety , raised cholesterol that hurts your arteries, and disordered consuming habits have actually all been connected to the ketogenic diet plan,” states Lisa Brown, MS, RDN, CDN, who concentrates on consuming conditions. “To do keto, I needed to tape-record each and every single thing I consumed, take supplements, and prepare every meal in your home,” Zhou includes. “It started to feel difficult and extremely limiting because I saw my good friends way less since I ‘could not’ head out to supper or have a piece of cake at a birthday celebration.” Medina states that even seriously epileptic clients on the ketogenic diet plan “need to be carefully clinically kept an eye on due to the fact that it’s not the most safe, specifically for a young adult.”

So, What’s the Bottom Line on Keto?

” Social-media influencers rave about keto, however ketogenic dieting is not sports nutrition,” Brown states. Zhou did a great deal of her own research study prior to going keto: “Definitely seek advice from a nutritional expert, and even then I would continue with care—– particularly if you’re still growing. If you’re currently a perfectionist , it can be really simple to spiral into madness.” Includes Medina, “We deal with dancers from significant business here in NYC, and they all run out of steam if they do not consume carbohydrates . To be your finest self as an artist and as a professional athlete, keto is the reverse of what you need to be doing.”

A variation of this story appeared in the March 2019 problem of Dance Spirit with the title “Keto or No?”


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