The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the weight loss through 3 weeks of ketogenic diet on performance-related physical fitness and inflammatory cytokines in Taekwondo athletes. The subjects selected for this research were 20 Taekwondo athletes of the high schools who participated in a summer camp training program. The subjects were randomly assigned to 2 groups, 10 subjects to each group: the ketogenic diet (KD) group and the non-ketogenic diet (NKD) group. Body composition, performance-related physical fitness factors (2,000 m sprint, Wingate test, grip force, back muscle strength, sit-up, 100 m sprint, standing broad jump, single leg standing) and cytokines (Iinterleukin-6, Interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α) were analyzed before and after 3weeks of ketogenic diet. No difference between the KD and NKD groups in weight, %body fat, BMI and fat free mass. However, the KD group, compared to the NKD group, finished 2,000 m sprint in less time after weight loss, and also felt less fatigue as measured by the Wingate test and showed less increase in tumor necrosis factor-α. This result suggests that KD diet can be helpful for weight category athletes, such as Taekwondo athletes, by improving aerobic capacity and fatigue resistance capacity, and also by exerting positive effect on inflammatory response.
Keywords: Cytokines; Ketogenic diet; Physical fitness factors; Taekwondo.