Episode 79 - The Low Carb, High Fat Diet: Is It Beneficial For Endurance Performance? With Professor Louise Burke

The Low Carb, High Fat Diet: Is It Beneficial For Endurance Performance? With Professor Louise Burke

The big question on so many endurance athletes lips - should I try the low carb high fat diet to improve performance? To answer this big question, I brought in the big guns, Professor Louise Burke OAM. She is an Australian sports dietitian great, with over 40 years of experience! 

On the podcast, I asked her the big questions:

  • Why are we so obsessed with the LCHF diet & endurance performance?
  • What did Supernova 1-6 tell us about the effects of a low carb, high fat diet on endurance performance?
  • What happens physiologically during fat adaptation vs carbohydrate fuelling?
  • How long does it take to fat adapt yourself?
  • Why do fat adapted athletes then fuel with carbohydrate on race day?
  • How long does it take to go from fat adaptation to efficient carbohydrate fuelling?
  • In one word - does the Low Carb High Fat diet enhance endurance performance? 


Connect with Louise Burke on Twitter

To get your nerd on, dive deeper into some of the more recent LCHF literature with these key papers:

  1. 2021. Adaptation to a low carbohydrate high fat diet is rapid but impairs endurance exercise metabolism and performance despite enhanced glycogen availability: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32697366/
  2. 2021. Ketogenic low-CHO, high-fat diet: the future of elite endurance sport?: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32358802/
  3. 2020. Crisis of confidence averted: Impairment of exercise economy and performance in elite race walkers by ketogenic low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet is reproducible: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32497061/

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Episode Transcription

Episode 79: The Low Carb, High Fat Diet: Is it beneficial for endurance performance? With Professor Louise Burke

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Joining me on the podcast today is Louise Burke to talk all things low carb high fat. She is one of the sports nutrition greats of all time. And you could fill an entire episode on Louise's awards and accolades and accomplishments, but that's not what we're here for today. But let me give you a quick rundown of her level of experience so you know why I got so excited to have the opportunity to interview her today. She is an Australian Sports Dietitian with 40 years of experience and worked at the Australian Institute of Sport for 30 years. First as the Head of Sports Nutrition, which is where I was really fortunate to work with her during my fellowship at the AIS and then later on as the Chief of Nutrition Strategy. She has written something stupid like 350 papers in peer reviewed journals and book chapters, and was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia in 2009 for her contribution to sports nutrition. She now is the Chair in Sports Nutrition in the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research at Australian Catholic University here in Melbourne. She is the lover of the three C's - Chocolate, Chanel and Champagne. And today I get to pick her brain on the low carb high fat diet and whether or not it's beneficial for endurance performance. So wish me luck.

Taryn Richardson  01:23

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  02:01

Welcome to the podcast LB. And thank you so much for taking some time out of your crazy schedule to chat to me today on all things low carb high fat.

Louise Burke OAM  02:09

Lovely to be here.

Taryn Richardson  02:10

All right, in essence of time, let's dive straight into it. Why are we so obsessed with this whole low carb high fat diet and performance?

Louise Burke OAM  02:20

That's a great question. And I think part of it is just that people like change. And so you've got to be diametrically opposed to what the current thinking is to show yourself as being this new thinker. And this has been a cycling process though, because if you're as old as I am, you've seen this come and go in various iterations. So I think just part of the whole process is that we like to be different and people like rules. It's no surprise that there's lots of diets out there that are doing good business for themselves by this idea that if you give up stuff and do something really diametrically opposed to what everybody else is doing, you're really special.

Taryn Richardson  03:02

I was fortunate enough to assist with some of the data collection and the food provision at Supernova Project, Supernova 1, which was the first study that you ran in the elite race walkers. What are we up to with Supernova? There was Supernova 2. Has Supernova 3 happened? or was COVID a dampener?

Louise Burke OAM  03:18

Yes, we're up to Supernova 7 and I'm going to be keeping on doing them. As long as Fast and Furious keeps putting out movies, then I'm going to have to keep this franchise going as well.

Taryn Richardson  03:28

So what questions is Project Supernova trying to answer?

Louise Burke OAM  03:32

Look, it's all about athletic performance in high performance, endurance sport, and what are athletes interested in? What can we do to enhance performance? And I should say that we always go into these things thinking, we're going to learn something, with athletes as collaborators, to enhance their health and performance. And so you go in open minded and you know, one of the interesting things about doing this whole Supernova Series, and the first ones were really attacking the issue around the keto diet, was that we thought if there's anything in there for athletes, we want to know about it.

Taryn Richardson  04:03


Louise Burke OAM  04:03

If there's going to be a potential benefit to performance, we're going to get to the bottom of it. And that's why we've done four Supernova Projects really trying to tackle Supernova issues around keto, as best we can. And it's not that you go into these things saying, "This is rubbish. I'm going to prove that it's rubbish". You go in thinking there could be a possible kernel of truth. And they're really interested in finding these things out. And so you've got to go in there with sort of suspended beliefs. And you've got to think, what can we do to improve our knowledge, so if there's anything there, we'll be able to get to the bottom of it.

Taryn Richardson  04:38

So for people that haven't heard about or read those papers, what do you do with the race walkers in Supernova studies? What's the methodology?

Louise Burke OAM  04:46

Yeah, so look, we're lucky to have incredible cooperation and collaboration. We're not doing things to them. We're doing things with them. And one of the reasons why we decided to do the keto diet with the race walkers was that they have a 50km race walking event, which is a three and a half hour event for elite athletes.

Taryn Richardson  05:05

I can't run that fast.

Louise Burke OAM  05:06

You might think about it differently when you think that this is a sort of an event where fuel is going to be a priority that there's going to be a potential issue with running out of carbohydrate. And so is this an event for elite athletes where being able to burn fat as a fuel source might be of an advantage. So we had world class athletes - we had, you know, some gold medalists from Olympic Games, we had podium people from World Championships. These were, you know, really good athletes. They were deadly interested in whether this would be something that would help them. And we were back in 2015, so they're preparing for the Rio Olympics. And it was interesting in their studies that we asked the athletes to choose the treatment they want to be on - because when you're trying to measure performance, people have to really believe that they've got the best treatment. You can't go into a study where you think, "Oh, I got the duff one. And now they're asking me to do a race. How's that gonna go?"

Louise Burke OAM  06:02

So we basically built a story in our first Supernova studies about "This is what a diet that has persistent high carbohydrate availability might offer. This is what having a periodised approach to carbohydrate might offer. And here's the keto diet". And we gave all the pros of those different approaches. And we said to athletes, "What do you think might work for you?" And it was interesting, in our first couple of Supernovas, that some of the better athletes wanted to try keto, because they're looking to see what they can do to get that medal. And we were lucky to get some of the better athletes in the world in race, walking, wanting to try this.

Louise Burke OAM  06:41

And the beauty of what we're able to do with the AIS (and you know that because you were one of the pioneering people to help out) was that we controlled every morsel of food they consumed over the period of the studies. And our first ones were a three week implementation of these diets with testing pre and post. So by the time they did their races, they'd been on the keto diet for three and a half weeks. And we did that because it was replicating the only other study - the Finney study from the 1980s, which had been done with cyclists. But we were able to try and replicate that study, put it into real life context in really rigorously controlled circumstances and have athletes actually do real races. So they competed in a 10,000 metre track race, pre and post the interventions. And it was a real race with prize money and able to post PBs, race judges, all the things that go with real life races. We did other testing so that we could see what was happening with metabolism to try and explain our findings of the race outcomes. But it was as close as we could get to making it the real deal for these athletes.

Taryn Richardson  07:50

And what was the result? I remember watching that final 10km race or 10,000 meters. What actually was the results of that first Supernova research?

Louise Burke OAM  08:00

So the first Supernova we did over two camps, because we weren't confident that we could manage as many people as we wanted for our subject numbers in one bunch. So we ended up having four races with two cohorts of athletes, doing two camps. And when we put them together we found that overall, each of the groups of athletes had improved their VO2 Max over the, sort of, four weeks of the camp, and each of them got the same sort of benefit of about a 5 - 6% improvement in their VO2 Max - that was the beginning of the season. You know, they're coming in and doing some intensified training and getting benefits. But despite the fact that each group had improved their VO2 Max equally, we saw that only the groups that are trained and raced with the high carbohydrate or the periodised carbohydrate approach improved their race performance. The ketogenic diet group were about the same. So if you compare that to the high carb group, the high carb diet was a better support mechanism for both training and the racing.

Louise Burke OAM  09:01

And then we went and we did Supernova 2 the following year. And this time, we did it all in one camp, so that we've only got two races that everybody's doing the same. When you're doing things in real life and you're doing it outside you've got different environments, you've got a different competitor suite with you so that there's some differences between the experience of two different camps. But when we did Supernova 2, we saw exactly the same results with getting that improvement in VO2 Max over the training. But this time, we saw that the ketogenic diet group actually had an impaired race performance compared to race one and the high carbon periodised groups improved their performance. The differential between race one and race two with both Supernova 1 and Supernova 2 was about 8%.

Louise Burke OAM  09:49

So that there was an advantage of about 8% to have done the races and training with carbohydrate support. And so we think that's a really robust outcome. We've actually done two other studies with keto since then where we've tried to put a bit of a twist on it. Because once we found that it didn't work out, right, we're thinking maybe there's still something there. And so Supernova 4 we did add in carbohydrates on race days to see whether you could have the Keto adaptation but have race fuel being supplied by carbs. And we did another study where we provided the race day with Ketone Ester supplements, thinking maybe that's an additional fuel source. But each of those four occasions, we saw an 8% differential between the carb group and the Keto group. So basically, we found that there's a problem with doing higher intensity endurance performance with the ketogenic diet.

Taryn Richardson  09:49


Louise Burke OAM  10:42

And we can explain that now. And it's irreversible - like it's something you can't get around. And so when our work gets criticised by saying, Oh, we didn't go long enough, or we didn't try hard enough, or whatever, you've got to say, "What's the mechanism behind this?" We should have known this, but we've not thought about it when we started out, is that, it's not just the substrate that the muscle needs to have to be able to produce ATP and speed, it needs to have oxygen to be able to burn that fuel. And if you compare carbohydrate and fat as fuel sources, even though fat's got more calories per gram, and it's more efficient as a fuel source, in terms of that perspective, it takes more oxygen to burn it to produce ATP. It takes about an extra 5 - 6% more oxygen to produce ATP, from fat as it does from carbohydrates.

Louise Burke OAM  11:33

So there's going to be this ability, if you're at the higher intensities of exercise, where you're working at very high amounts of your VO2 Max, that whatever oxygen, you can get the muscle, if you're burning carbohydrate, you'll get more ATP, and therefore more speed, than if you're burning fat. And so when it comes down to that, it's just about the fuel ability to work with oxygen and produce power. And at the end of the day, you can't change that. These metabolic pathways we've been living with for eons and eons, and it's not a matter of going for six weeks, or 12 months or two years to change that.  It's when it gets down to the bottom line, if you're doing sports where higher intensity exercise at a higher percentage of VO2 Max is required, then you want the most efficient fuel source, the most economical fuel source, that every bit of oxygen that you can deliver to the muscle, gets maximum bang for its buck in terms of fuel conversion to ATP.

Taryn Richardson  12:35

It's an amazing series of research. And it still boggles my mind that people question it. And also are really stubborn and keep their head in the sand and go, "No, well this works for me and I perform better. And so I'm now ... I'm going to tell all of my athletes to do the low carb high fat model, because it's advantageous for me". Truth ... (it) drives me a little bit nuts.

Louise Burke OAM  12:57

It's a comment on our times and about how much the personal story, the anecdote, the testimonial, and also just the social media amplification of simple ideas. And look, we've seen that in the last three years with COVID, you know, just the ability for people to promote fake news. And if you say it loud enough, there's a group of people that will listen. And look, I'm not disputing the different ways in which a ketogenic diet could be applied to sports performance. And if you're dealing with events, which are carried out at lower percentages of VO2 Max, then it's not so important that you derive as much benefit from oxygen conversion to ATP, as in other events. But the events that I'm working with - the athletes, for success, need, either throughout the race or at critical times, to be able to be as economical with producing their power as possible.

Louise Burke OAM  13:48

And one of the ways I've tried to explain it, and it's ... I mean, I went to the New York Marathon just two weeks ago. And you look at the race tool, there's 50,000 people there and I reckon, at least half of them were wearing super shoes! They're all wearing $400 pairs of Nike Vaporfly, Alphaflys, or whatever the different version of event for the different manufacturers are, because they are proven to enhance sports performance. And the way that they work is that they reduce the oxygen cost of movement because they're able to conserve and return energy, you improve your ability to convert your power into speed by about 4%. And it's about reducing the oxygen cost of exercise. And so people vote with their feet and their Visa cards in terms of understanding that to get a 4% improvement in performance.

Louise Burke OAM  14:40

And you can see that it's commercially viable but if you have a look at the world athletics records for every event from 5000 metres right up to 100kms over the last five years, since those shoes have been around, every event for males and females has had an improvement in the world record. Every world record has been broken and attributed to those shoes. Why would you then take a diet that reduces it by a similar amount and expect that we can get past that, or we can cover over it or whatever? It's just crazy.

Taryn Richardson  15:12

Same as those swim speed suits that actually ended up getting banned because they were promoting world records in the pool every time they were worn as well.

Louise Burke OAM  15:20

It's all about how much effort is your body producing and converting to speed or power. And the oxygen cost of doing it is, you know, one thing that contributes to that relationship. And there's ways that you can improve it. But there's also ways that you can reduce it. But look, I did a debate a couple of weeks ago with somebody else on the keto diet, and I produced all this evidence and produced the pathways to explain it. And still we're hearing "Oh yes, but so and so famous athlete follows the keto diet, and he's successful."

Taryn Richardson  15:49

He's got a Netflix documentary, so he must be good.

Louise Burke OAM  15:53

Yeah. And that's basically the two sorts of evidence that people are listening to. And for some people just that anecdotal data is really powerful. The fact that it's a different event, and a different sort of athlete is sometimes not really understood. But some of us have got these beliefs. And then we've got the confirmation bias. So we believe that we're looking for information that we hope that will support that. So when you hear the story about a famous athlete who's keto, and that fits your mindset, you think "Yes, Here's the evidence!" We're all absolutely capable of being like that. And I've got a lot of confirmation biases as well - you know, things that I like to believe. You know, I'm sure when I see a piece of evidence that fits that I pocket it away and feel really smug about it. So it's not only happening on that side of the fence, but it is sometimes strange that even in the face of really strong data, and a really irrefutable basis too that can be explained by basic signs, that people still want to go past it.

Louise Burke OAM  16:51

But we live in a world where we have to tolerate differences of opinion. And as I said, I'm never going to say that the ketogenic diet isn't a suitable choice for some athletes, because there are different types of sport and different types of individuals for whom it might be a good choice. It's just that's not the group of athletes that I work with. My athletes need to be able to work at really high intensities. And that's something that people don't understand. If you talk to the average punter, when they're watching a marathon, they'll say, oh, yeah, it's an aerobic exercise. It's fat burning exercise. But you look at a definition of aerobic exercise or endurance exercise. And it's 60 to 80% of VO2 Max, which you know, particularly down at the lower ends of that range, is able to be supported by fat oxidation. But at the very higher ends, and particularly when you then move to elite athletes, Kipchoge's not even running at 80% of VO2 Max, when he runs his two hour marathons. He's more likely running at 90% of VO2 Max. So we're talking about really special individuals who are doing something that's not generally understood by your average punter.

Taryn Richardson  17:59

So for the athletes that I work with - people that might do, say, an Ironman, full distance triathlon, who are going quite aerobically, would the low carb, high fat option be a good choice for them for performance? Or something to play with?

Louise Burke OAM  18:16

Look, it could be under a couple of situations. And there's a really nice paper that Ed Maunder from New Zealand has done looking at and it's called Horses for Courses. And it basically says that even though you think you're doing the same event, and it does take the Ironman event as its exemplar, not everybody in the race is having the same experience. So the winners who are doing, you know, the shorter times and working in higher intensities, are having a different experience to the guys that are getting home and getting in under the 17 hours. And if you have a look at what the relative intensity of their workload is, the better individuals probably can't sustain that just using fat, but people who are doing 15 hour/16 hour events are working at much lower intensities, which theoretically could be supported by fat.

Louise Burke OAM  19:03

You've got to say to yourself, though, is that what they're doing for the whole of the event? And if you're just an age grouper wanting to finish, you might be happy to just pace it out at what you can do. If you're a high level competitor, even though what you might do is your average intensity - still might be supported by fat. You've got to think about it. Is there going to be a period of time when you're going up a hill or you're trying to out sprint that guy ahead of you to get on the podium or do your PB or whatever, do you need to have another gear? And would you be sacrificing that by becoming fat dependent? And that's another consideration.

Louise Burke OAM  19:35

But the other thing to think about - is there a reason why going with a high carb approach isn't suitable? And I think some of the people who have difficulties with being able to consume carbohydrates during exercise, they might think about moving to the fat supported event where they have much less requirement, or even no requirement, for consuming carbohydrate during the event. In the real life supported events, there's going to be aid stations, and you need to be able to carry stuff on you, or on your bike when you're doing the event. So access to the food supplies that you need is not going to be a problem.

Louise Burke OAM  20:10

But if you're doing an event on your own - just say you wanted to go out and have the pleasure of completing an Ironman distance, but you're going to do it all by yourself, and there's no aid stations, then that might be another situation, we think that there's no ability to be able to take enough carbs with you (unless you go out and plant them all over your little course). But some of those ultra endurance events, which are self supported, where it is difficult to take enough carbs with you - or if you're doing a sled across the Antarctic Expedition sort of an idea, where you have to carry 40 or 60 days of food supplies with you, you might think to yourself fat is going to be more compact than carbs in terms of the food supplies I need to carry. So maybe that's another time when I might be willing to be more fat supported than carbs supported. So there are scenarios where it might be less detrimental or possibly useful to athletes. But these are becoming exceptions rather than the rules in most situations. It's a matter of understanding what your event is, what your particular circumstances are and seeing the best mix. You do find now that even some of the people who are being promoted as being keto people, they often do still include carbs in their diet. So I've read of case histories where some of these keto endurance and ultra endurance athletes will, a couple of times a week, still add some carbs around their training sessions to be able to train at higher intensities, so that they're not squandering that aspect of their preparation. But on race day, they'll also take carbs with them as an extra fuel source. Now, they won't be as efficient as a non keto adapted athlete, but it still may improve on their Keto-ness. So it's relative to what they were doing, not relative to the best way of doing overall. I think that's one of the things we should be promoting in sports nutrition, that it's not a one size fits all approach. You know, there's all different sorts of nuances and context to the way that athletes should think about their race plans. And that's the beauty of being a good Sports Dietitian - that you understand all those nuances and you can work with the athlete to find the best fit.

Taryn Richardson  22:16

So there's a lot of keto athletes that do that - they throw a bit of carbohydrate around their performance sessions in the week, and then they'll race on carbohydrate, which is a little bit counter-intuitive, like you just said. You up regulate those fat burning pathways and down regulate the carbohydrate ones. So they're kind of going from this full on keto, to a bit more periodised, which I think is a good little shift, because they're starting to understand the benefits of that. Do we see any difference to performance in the literature from going from keto to then fueling with carbohydrate on race day?

Louise Burke OAM  22:50

Yeah, we still found an impairment of performance in the higher intensity domains. And that's because when you are keto adapted, you down regulate your ability to use carbs. You probably down regulate the absorption of carbs from the gastrointestinal tract. But you certainly,and we've done this in other studies, before we got into keto, we did a lot of fat adaptation studies with non ketogenic versions of the diet. So they were carbohydrate restricted, but not as high in fat minimal in carbohydrate as the keto diet. And in those studies, we took biopsies from athletes, so they were able to see what was actually happening in terms of the cell regulation of fuel usage.

Taryn Richardson  23:30

Are we talking about quad like puncture through the muscle biopsies?

Louise Burke OAM  23:34

Yeah, so we had some athletes back in the 1990s, who were happy to do that for us. And we found you certainly upregulate pathways. So you upregulate the transport of fat to the cell and its ability to get into the mitochondria and its ability to burn. But at the same time you're down regulating glycogen use - you down regulate the enzymes that break down the glycogen in the muscle, but particularly the enzyme that takes the by-products of carbohydrate, early metabolism pyruvate and enter it into the TCA cycle, the Krebs cycle where the oxidative base of carbohydrate occurs. And because you've downregulated that you just can't put the same amount of carbohydrate oxidation through the system.

Louise Burke OAM  24:16

So there's no way of being optimally carb adapted and fat adapted at the same time, you've got to choose which one becomes the more important. So when we think about approaching optimal preparation for an athlete, we do like this periodised approach but I would be more happy to come of it from the carbohydrate angle - that you're mostly carbohydrates supported but you periodise sessions where you've got low carbohydrate availability in your preparation, than the Keto athlete who's mostly carb, almost a keto adapted and then occasionally put some carbs in. So I'd rather put the shift of the periodisation to be mostly carbohydrate supported because each session you can change easily. Whereas if you're keto adapted, you need several days to get to the adaptation to keto, but you can't undo that with one session properly to be able to fully use carbohydrates. So you can improve on it but you can't maximize the carbohydrate adaptation just by popping in one session here and there, or one carbo loading cycle to get to the race.

Taryn Richardson  25:30

How long does it take from being keto, like fat adapted to then jumping out of that into being a carb fuelled athlete? Do we know how long that process takes to be more carbohydrate oxidation efficient?

Louise Burke OAM  25:43

Look, that's a great question. And I think there's different aspects of it. I'm not sure how quickly the gut adapts, because remember, we've got to get the carbohydrate from your intestinal system across those walls and into the blood to be delivered to the muscle. So there's that aspect. In terms of what happens at the muscle level, though, we haven't put a time course on that. But we think it's probably the same order is how it adapts to fat - that it takes five or six days to maximise fat oxidation in well trained athletes. I probably think that it takes the same to detrain that system, so probably five or six days to fully return back to being able to burn carbohydrate. So that's only one aspect of what's going on. Obviously, the body's vastly more complex than just a muscle cell and an intestinal cell. So there's probably other things that are happening as well. But if we're thinking about those as being the drivers of how much fuel you can produce from a substrate in a muscle cell during a race, it's probably a six day turnaround - in well trained people, because they've already got a lot of those adaptations taking place. And what you're doing is then taking much longer with the lesser trained and sedentary.

Taryn Richardson  26:57

So interesting. So in your mind, are there any questions that are left unanswered?

Louise Burke OAM  27:02

I'm still really interested in - if I had unlimited access to funds and athletes and hours in the day - doing all those calibrations of how long it takes to do all these different things. And what sort of events require the level of intensity and this ability to be able to move it in between different substrates. That would be just so much fun to do. But at the moment, I'm thinking that the broader brush for us is that in events where there needs to be a higher intensity, then it does become more important to be able to support that with carbohydrate fuels and move on to something else that's a bit more productive.

Louise Burke OAM  27:39

Look, you know, understanding your event is really important. Because when I look at that 50km race walking event, I've said it's a three and a half hour event. And on average, people might be moving at 70 to 75% of VO2 Max, which might be sort of the higher limits that fat adaptation might allow fat to mostly fuel. But if you have a look at the way the events are won - the best example of that is a race that was done a couple of years ago by Johann Deniz, the French race walker. And he did an incredible event where he came from behind in one of the European Championships. His event took him I think it was 3:34 to finish the event. But he became faster and faster towards the end of it. And that's moving at 85 to 90% of VO2 Max - to be able to do that at the end of the race. And so you can't just look at the average time or the average intensity or the average speed that athletes are doing. You've got to see what are the tactics that are required to get to the line first. And also what's the terrain of the course? You know, if you've got lots of hills and requirement for higher intensity work, then again, that's a different kind of event you need to consider.

Taryn Richardson  28:45

So can you give me LB - I don't know if this is possible - but a one word answer. Does low carb high fat enhance endurance performance?

Louise Burke OAM  28:53


Taryn Richardson  28:54

That was difficult wasn't it?

Louise Burke OAM  28:55

I'd just like to qualify? Maybe. No-ish ! Could I say that? No-ish?

Taryn Richardson  28:59

Yeah, it's got a hyphen. That's one word.

Louise Burke OAM  29:01

In most of the situations that I'm interested in - no, it won't. But there's possibility that it can - under certain circumstances. And so nothing's ever completely black and white. That's ... you're a good scientist and a good practitioner, if you're able to live with several different answers to the same question. It depends.

Taryn Richardson  29:19

"It depends". That's my favourite saying!  I'm going to get that printed on a t-shirt. I'll do you one up - for you too. And I'll send it to you. "It depends".

Louise Burke OAM  29:26

I'll wear it in my next New York Marathon.

Taryn Richardson  29:28

Yes! So you've always got lots of things on the go. What's next for you LB?

Taryn Richardson  29:32

Oh, well we've got Supernova 7 coming up in January. We've got some fantastic research activities happening at the moment. I've got a great little team at Australian Catholic University. We've just finished the most wonderful study/research camp - FARC.  (N.B. Female Athlete Research Camp)

Taryn Richardson  29:46

Is it F A R K?

Louise Burke OAM  29:48

FARC - but we were farc-ed at the end of it because it was full on.

Taryn Richardson  29:53

I can't believe you got that through ethics!

Louise Burke OAM  29:55

What was so fantastic about it was that we had a group of female athletes come - we were able to support their ability to have a training camp they wouldn't have otherwise been able to have on their own. And so we're trying to redress the imbalance of resources that are put to female athletes in terms of research. And I've been very guilty of mostly doing most of my studies with male athletes because it's so much easier to work with males, and there's more of them that seem willing to do studies. But it's important now that we go back and fill in the gaps with females. But in particular, this group of females were just wonderful. It was the indigenous talent squad of National Rugby League - First Nations Gems. They have the most incredible coach Jess Skinner, and the girls were absolutely amazing.

Taryn Richardson  30:39

So being able to hang out with this group and see just their commitment to making the best athletes out of themselves. For me, learning a bit more about rugby league. Just surrounding myself with inspirational females was wonderful. And we hope this is going to be one of a whole series of franchises of studies as well. My Postdoc Alannah McKay was just incredible with the organising - the complexity of this study. We're just data processing at the moment. We did lots of collaborations with other great researchers because it was such an enticing project. So hopefully what you'll see coming out soon is some outputs from FARC 1, hopefully that will then inspire a whole little family of FARCS after that.

Taryn Richardson  31:19

I'll link some of these low carb, high fat papers in the show notes. If people do want to dive into that literature, this is an amazing series of research that is definitely worth a read if you're that way inclined. If people want to find you, Louise, what's the best way to do that?

Louise Burke OAM  31:34

Look, I am on Twitter, I have a love hate relationship with that. And as long as Twitter's sort of seemingly reasonable, I'll stay on it. Otherwise, Google or PubMed, and you'll find lots of our papers. We try and do as much as we can ‘open access’ so that it's fully accessible to people who may not have the journal subscriptions. And thanks very much for the opportunity to promote the work and we'll have to get you back with one of our next series of studies so that we get to hang out a bit more.

Taryn Richardson  32:01

Yeah, that'd be great. Well, thank you so much for sharing what is very valuable time with me today, LB, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Louise Burke OAM  32:10

A pleasure Taryn.

Taryn Richardson  32:13

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 


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