Anaerobic Performance after a Low-Carbohydrate Diet (LCD) Followed by 7 Days of Carbohydrate Loading in Male Basketball Players

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 4;11(4):778. doi: 10.3390/nu11040778.


Despite increasing interest among athletes and scientists on the influence of different dietary interventions on sport performance, the association between a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and anaerobic capacity has not been studied extensively. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) followed by seven days of carbohydrate loading (Carbo-L) on anaerobic performance in male basketball players. Fifteen competitive basketball players took part in the experiment. They performed the Wingate test on three occasions: after the conventional diet (CD), following 4 weeks of the LCD, and after the weekly Carbo-L, to evaluate changes in peak power (PP), total work (TW), time to peak power (TTP), blood lactate concentration (LA), blood pH, and bicarbonate (HCO₃-). Additionally, the concentrations of testosterone, growth hormone, cortisol, and insulin were measured after each dietary intervention. The low-carbohydrate diet procedure significantly decreased total work, resting values of pH, and blood lactate concentration. After the low-carbohydrate diet, testosterone and growth hormone concentrations increased, while the level of insulin decreased. After the Carbo-L, total work, resting values of pH, bicarbonate, and lactate increased significantly compared with the results obtained after the low-carbohydrate diet. Significant differences after the low-carbohydrate diet and Carbo-L procedures, in values of blood lactate concentration, pH, and bicarbonate, between baseline and post exercise values were also observed. Four weeks of the low-carbohydrate diet decreased total work capacity, which returned to baseline values after the carbohydrate loading procedure. Moreover, neither the low-carbohydrate feeding nor carbohydrate loading affected peak power.

Keywords: anaerobic power; athletes; dietary intervention; work capacity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Basketball*
  • Bicarbonates / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Energy Intake
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Bicarbonates
  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Hormones
  • Lactic Acid