Carnivore Diet and Athletic Performance: A Case Study Analysis Case Study

Main Article Content

Victor Romano
Susan Bowser
Emy Cloutier

Keywords

Carnivore diet, Sport nutrition, Soccer

Abstract

Introduction: The carnivore diet, also known as the all-meat diet, has gained popularity in recent years among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. In this case study, we examined the potential impact of the carnivore diet on athletic performance and recovery.


Methods:  We observed and obtained data on an 18-year-old female NCAA Division II athlete who had begun the diet one month prior to the start of the soccer season. A total of 22 game sessions over 13 weeks were observed and recorded, collecting TRIMP, average game heart rate, and GPS data (miles, work rate, top speed). Due to the findings of the data, halfway into the season a registered dietitian (RD) intervened to suggest the addition of ~16g carbohydrates pre-game and ~6-10g carbohydrates post-game.


Results:  Before the intervention, the athlete measured an average of 240.82 TRIMP compared to the team’s average of 205.20 with the same GPS distance load as her counterparts (p=0.03). After the RD intervention, of consuming ~16g of fruit closer to game time, the athlete’s number of effect and intensity score changed to be comparable to the rest of the team 208.60 vs. 228.81, increasing the p-value out of significance (p=0.37).


Conclusions: While several factors contribute to high performance, data show that the addition of carbohydrate consumption close to game time in this particular athlete increased performance indicators (TRIMP and GPS Work Rate) for the student athlete.

Abstract 208 | PDF Downloads 158

References

1. Saladino P. The carnivore code: Unlocking the secrets to optimal health by returning to our ancestral diet. Houghton Mifflin; 2020.
2. Cho J. Carnivore Cure: Meat-Based Nutrition and the Ultimate Elimination Diet to Attain Optimal Health. Nutrition with Judy; 2020.
3. McSwiney T. High-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diets, Exogenous Ketones: Performance and Health Effects in Endurance Athletes. [Doctoral dissertation]. Waterford, Ireland: Waterford Institute of Technology; 2018.
4. Devrim-Lanpir A, Hill L, Knechtle B. Efficacy of popular diets applied by endurance athletes on sports performance: Beneficial or detrimental? A narrative review. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):491.
5. Bonci LJ. Eating for performance: bringing science to the training table. Clin Sports Med. 2011;30(3):661-670.
6. Hernández-Lougedo J, Maté-Muñoz JL, García-Fernández P, Úbeda-D’Ocasar E, Hervás-Pérez JP, Pedauyé-Rueda B. (2023). The relationship between vegetarian diet and sports performance: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2023;15(21):4703.
7. Gonzalez JT, Wallis GA. Carb-conscious: the role of carbohydrate intake in recovery from exercise. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2021;24(4):364-371.
8. Aghili SA. The immediate effects of high carbohydrate and caffeinated drinks on speed, coordination, and cognitive function in professional futsal players. Int J Sport Stud Health. 2022;5(1):e130662.
9. Cermak NM, van Loon LJ. The use of carbohydrates during exercise as an ergogenic aid. Sports Med. 2013;43(11):1139-55.
10. American Dietetic Association; Dietitians of Canada; American College of Sports Medicine; Rodriguez NR, Di Marco NM, Langley S. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(3):709-31.
11. Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, Stout JR, Campbell B, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, Kalman D, Smith-Ryan AE, Kreider RB, Willoughby D, Arciero PJ, VanDusseldorp TA, Ormsbee MJ, Wildman R, Greenwood M, Ziegenfuss TN, Aragon AA, Antonio J. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr, 2017;14:33.
12. Burke LM, Whitfield J, Heikura IA, Ross M, Tee N, Forbes S, Hall R, McKay Wallett A, Sharma A. Adaptation to a low carbohydrate high fat diet is rapid but impairs endurance exercise metabolism and performance despite enhanced glycogen availability. J Physiol. 2021;599(3):771-790.
13. Bowser SM. Skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations in response to an acute high fat diet. [Doctoral dissertation]. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech: 2018.
14. Rowland DL, van Lankveld J. Anxiety and performance in sex, sport, and stage: Identifying common ground. Front Dev Physcol. 2019;10:440726.