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'Everybody should drink ketones — not just elite cyclists'

Show News

08 Oct 2020

'Everybody should drink ketones — not just elite cyclists'

'Everybody should drink ketones — not just elite cyclists'
Source: Food Navigator

Ketone drinks have been embraced by professional athletes looking to boost their performance. But these ‘magic potions’ have the potential for mass appeal, believes the scientist who helped develop them, although taste and price remain huge barriers in the short term.

Pacifists may find it hard to stomach but the link between new foods and warfare is a long one, from Ghengis Khan’s armies allegedly inventing the hamburger (his cavalrymen would keep meat under their saddles to form patties), to the inception of M&M's in the Spanish Civil War (the Mars founder had seen soldiers eating chocolate with a hard shell to stop it melting) to The Laughing Cow’s roots in World War I (the name was inspired by French army vans decorated with a cartoon of a smiling cow).

An army marches on its belly

The first ketone drink was created by scientists in the early 2000s to fuel troops in the US army. Professor Kieran Clarke at the University of Oxford and the late Doctor Richard Veech at the National Institutes of Health in the US were tasked to find a novel, energetically efficient food that would allow soldiers to maintain their physical and mental performance over five days on a battlefield.

In 2005, Professor Clarke founded DeltaG, which makes ketone drinks for ‘high-performing individuals to achieve new milestones in human performance’.

‘Miracle drink’

Ketone drinks have since been embraced by the world of sport. The Dutch team Jumbo-Vista, for example, has quickly moved up the ranks of world cycling thanks to its clever, though not uncontroversial, use of mixing ketones into drinks to boost performance, endurance and recovery. Ketones are not on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances and are allowed to be used. Some cycling teams, however, consider ketones an ethical grey area and refuse to use them.

Jumbo-Vista thrilled fans when it dominated last month’s Tour de France -- the biggest bike race in the world -- and its lead rider came within inches of winning the pinnacle of the sport. Could this success open the door to more mainstream consumers? Yes, Professor Clarke told FoodNavigator. "I believe everybody should be drinking ketones -- not just cyclists."​

What are ketones?

Ketones are naturally produced in the liver when the body is running dry of carbohydrates. When the body is in this ‘ketogenic state’ these ketones offer the body something like an emergency energy source. (Similarly, the ketone diet​ works by restricting carbohydrate intake to provoke the body into ketone production, making it more efficient at burning fat for energy and helping a person manage their weight.) That’s why ketones in a drink can assist elite cyclists – by offering an exogeneous source of this energy supply.

Read the full article here: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2020/10/08/Everybody-should-drink-ketones-not-just-elite-cyclists

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