Keto Vs Paleo Vs Low-Carb: Which Diet is Better for BJJ Athletes

Keto Vs Paleo Vs Low-Carb: Which Diet is Better for BJJ Athletes

For learning and practicing BJJ, having good health is compulsory. A proper and nutritious diet is a key aspect of good health. The following article will discuss which diet is better for BJJ athletes.

1. Difference Between Keto, Paleo, and Low-Carb Diets

1.1. Keto

A diet plan that excludes the majority sources of carbohydrates (Rice, cereals, potatoes, corn, bread, and other refined carbs), leads to a diet where the only sources of carbohydrates are those from other food groups. The average daily intake of carbohydrates is less than 50g, but it can be reduced to as little as 20g. The main goal of a Keto diet is to bring on Ketosis, a metabolic state that burns fat instead of carbohydrates to gain energy and can only be attained by consuming an extremely low amount of carbohydrates.

1.2. Paleo

Paleo is a diet plan that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some meats that were easily accessible to our hunter ancestors before agriculture started. It restricts the intake of processed food, beverages, sweets, grains, and trans fat. There is no daily carbs intake restriction, but the Paleo diet tends to be low carb as it forbids a lot of items that are high in carbohydrates.

1.3. Low-Carb

Low-carbohydrate diet plans limit the number of carbohydrates consumed in comparison to a normal diet. Foods high in carbs should be avoided and replaced with those that are lower in carbs and higher in fat and protein. The average daily carbohydrate intake is roughly less than 130g.

2. Is Keto Diet Best for BJJ Athletes?

The ideal diet for BJJ is one that enables you to lose body fat and build necessary muscle mass.

The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet facilitates this process. This diet restricts carbohydrates while increasing the daily intake of proteins and fats including avocado, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, olive oil, etc.

The keto diet works by limiting daily carbohydrate intake to between 10 and 15 percent. A higher amount of protein is consumed roughly 30% of total daily calories. Approximately 55% of the daily diet is still made up of fats. Also, consume carbohydrates in the form of leafy green vegetables like spinach, lettuce, arugula, and escarole.

In this diet plan, cutting back on carbohydrates reduces insulin levels. Insulin aids in the control of lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism by promoting glucose absorption and storing glucose as glycogen in muscles. When there is less insulin, there is less glycogen. After that, the body uses fat burning as a source of energy.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters require and consume a great deal of energy to fight and perform well. but if you practice BJJ, you should manage your diet cautiously considering the required amount of energy.

Luckily, there are two keto diet modifications that are effective for grapplers. Look into the Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) and the Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD).

2.1. Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)

The Cyclical Keto Diet supports healthy eating while causing weight loss and preserving energy. It functions by alternately consuming low carbs and high carbs. Athletes can replenish muscular energy through rotation without experiencing a fat regain.

Although there are many rotations, most people find success with a 6/1 or 5/2 routine. This entails a low-carb diet for 5 or 6 days, followed by 1 or 2 days of high-carb eating.

This rotation technique is effective for keeping your energy levels up so you can continue BJJ training while losing extra weight.

2.2. Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

The targeted keto diet is based on consuming carbohydrates before or after a BJJ training session. Consuming fruit, dairy, and whole-grain meals is the healthiest way to meet your daily carbohydrate intake according to the targeted keto diet. With rotating carb levels, it is comparable to CKD, except TKD occurs every day whereas CKT occurs once or twice a week.

This is advantageous for BJJ competitors who engage in regular intense training.

3. Is the Paleo Diet Best for BJJ Athletes?

There are numerous diet plans that claim to be the finest in all of these above-mentioned categories. But when it comes to martial arts like BJJ, the fighter would require a supply of nutrients that would enhance their strength, defense, and stamina.

If you also practice BJJ, adding the Paleo diet to your routine will provide noticeable improvements in your physical appearance. As you avoid everything that could hinder the growth of your muscles and consume everything (eggs, meat, nuts, fruits, veggies, fats, etc) that will increase muscles. This diet plan will benefit you in the following ways:

3.1. Strength and Stamina Improvements

If you continue to exercise and increase your protein intake after eliminating all of the carbohydrates from processed food, you can regain muscle mass.

Gaining muscle results in increased performance and strength. The paleo diet also removes toxins, which keeps you alert and active and boosts your stamina and responsiveness during training and fighting.

3.2. Better Metabolism

You won't be consuming any processed food items because the paleo diet exclusively includes whole foods. Avoiding meals that contain processed ingredients aids in improving your body's energy supply, digestion, and metabolism. This is achieved once you start eating clean and all of the additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners are filtered out.

3.3. Lower Calorie Intake

You consume fewer calories overall since you have fully stopped eating any type of processed meal. If you want to lose weight or are already in the process of weight-cutting, low-calorie intake is advantageous because you need to be in a calorie deficit.

3.4. Modifications to the Paleo Diet for BJJ

Paleo makes a low-carb diet simply because the majority of starchy carbs have already been eliminated. Although you typically eat fewer carbs when following the paleo diet, it is not essentially low-carb.

This could occasionally cause problems for BJJ practitioners. You cannot enter ketosis while following the Paleo diet since you consume simple carbohydrates. This implies that using fats as fuel won't be very effective for you. This leads us back to carbs and a method to modify the Paleo diet to meet the demands of grappling.

One variation of the Paleo diet is known as the primal diet. In addition to fruits and vegetables, it also contains a few starchy carbohydrates. Grains are still on the list of foods that are compatible with the Paleo diet. Addition refers to root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, and yams. These are the starchy carbohydrates you need to include in your diet plan.

If your food is nutritionally unbalanced, moving to a paleo diet will be beneficial for you. This would potentially benefit the grapplers by facilitating weight loss, better body composition, and general physical wellness.

4. Is Low-carb Diet Best for BJJ Athletes?

Low-carb diets are popular these days. This diet indicates the importance of carbohydrates in the diet.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an extremely physically demanding sport where you constantly put pressure on your body while grappling with your opponent. Do you realize how much energy this kind of training takes up?

For BJJ athletes, eating low carb is really beneficial for a variety of reasons. First, a low-carb diet will enable you to shed some extra water weight, which is unquestionably advantageous if your goal is to drop weight and get lighter in BJJ.

The second benefit of a low-carb diet is that it will improve your lean muscle mass, which will make your body agile and flexible.

Finally, a low-carb diet helps you to have more energy and endurance. Low-carb diets are also known to improve moods because they reduce the influence of food, which frequently causes overeating.

5. Best Diet for BJJ Practitioners

5.1. Select Whole Food

It consumes a lot of energy to practice BJJ. For sustained energy, athletes need to eat the right foods.

Energy spikes from sugary snacks, energy bars/drinks, and biscuits are temporary and vanish quickly. Unprocessed meals with carbs, such as grains, berries, and vegetables, would be a preferable substitute.

These suggested meals provide steady energy rather than quick sugar spikes.

5.2. Simple Natural Carbs

The Gracie Diet's effectiveness and gentleness on the digestive system are one of its most valuable and acknowledged features.

Therefore, a natural source of carbohydrates can be effective before training for BJJ if you want to naturally replenish your energy consumption. These include fruit like acai, blueberries, bananas, and watermelon.

5.3. Eat to Improve Gut Health

Make cruciferous vegetables and fermented food a part of your diet for better gut health. Cruciferous vegetables provide gut bacteria with the fibers they need for growth and strength, maintaining the balance of the gut microbiome. Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.

Fermented foods include kimchi and sauerkraut. A fermented beverage called kombucha aids in digestion boosts immunity and offers other health advantages.

5.4. Consume Fats and Animal-Based Protein

Fats and animal-based proteins take a long time to digest. That's why it is important to consume them while getting ready for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training sessions.

5.5. Supplements with Caffeine and Protein

Your nutrition can be supplemented, particularly with protein, to fill in any gaps in your diet. This would provide you with extra energy and keep you active during BJJ training sessions. There are a lot of protein powders available in the market. Additionally, caffeine supplements are also available. But black coffee, which people have been consuming for years, is the ideal caffeine supplement.

6. Last Words

All these three diets limit carbohydrate consumption in different ways. Each has benefits for BJJ practitioners. Since BJJ is a grappling martial art, an athletic body uses more physical energy than a normal human being because all martial arts require elite athletic body structure and highly effective metabolism. BJJ athletes need to ensure the required energy intake to perform well on the mat. These diet plans are presented to give you opinions to choose from according to your requirements and convenience.   

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