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Kobe Bryant's Diet Philosphy

Vegetable Oil and Sugar Block Fat Burn and Mitochondrial Function

Mainstream Medicine Is Reversing Previous Dietary Dogmas. Sports Nutrition Lags Behind. The harms of PUFA – from seed oils – still overlooked.

Cardiologists are now recommending eggs and cheese for their patients with heart problems and many doctors are recommending eliminating seed oils. So in 2020, mainstream medicine has a taken a giant step away from dietary dogma towards science-backed advice. This is thrilling.

Sports nutrition, however, still tells athletes that sugar is the best fuel, especially so for the so-called ‘anaerobic’ sports and that polyunsaturated fats are the healthy kind of fat.

This presentation, hosted by CEPA and the American College of Sports Medicine, will provide evidence suggesting those ideas are based on an incomplete understanding of human physiology, and it highlight two ways that the high carb, high PUFA diet recommended by most sports nutritionists today is likely to dramatically impair sports performance.

The Clinical Exercise Physiology Association presents: Effects of Elevated Sugar and PUFA Intake on Exercise Performance: Time to Revisit Nutrition Guidelines? If you are a health professional and would like to get continuing education credits, check with CEPA (Clinical Exercise Physiology Association), a branch of the American College of Sports Medicine) which will be posting it officially for credit sometime in 2017, they hope.

Effects of Elevated Sugar and Polyunsaturated Fat (PUFA) Intake on Exercise Performance

Time to Revisit Nutrition Guidelines?

Presentation Navigator

Key Points, what timepoint to find them, brief descriptions.

  • Americans Were Healthier Before We Started Eating Processed Foods (At 4:00)
    • Rates of pretty much every disease have 2-3x d in the past 40-50 years suggesting whatever we’re doing now is not working for us as well as whatever we were doing before.
  • Americans Changed Our Diets After We Were Told To Avoid Saturated Fat (At 7:15)
  • Today’s Diet is Composed of ~80% Refined Carbohydrate and Polyunsaturated Fats from Vegetable Oils (At 26:50)
    • Sports Nutrition guidelines tell athletes to eat the same macro ratio as the disease-inducing SAD.
    • Athletes following these guidelines don’t get much saturated fat unless its coming from hydrogenated vegetable oils (check your peanut butter).
  • High Carb Diets (esp. refined) Can Force Athletes to Burn More Glycogen than Low Carb (At 30:30)
    • High carb diets promote 5-10x more insulin release than low carb.
    • Even tiny amounts of insulin significantly block fat burn.
    • Why high carb diets make you “hangry” 2-4 hours after your last meal.
    • How high carb promotes insulin resistance.
  • Insulin Promotes “Catecholamine Resistance,” Glycogen Depletion, and Protein-Wastage in Athletes (At 37:40)
    • Why high carb athletes have to release more catecholamine (i.e. adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine) to get the same degree of fat burn.
    • How this makes high carb athletes glycogen dependent.
    • How glycogen dependence can cause protein wastage.
  • High carb athletes are catecholamine resistant. (At 50:00)
    • This is from Volek and Phinney’s FASTER study, but all steady state sub maximal exercise tests demonstrate the same indications of insulin-induced catecholamine resistance.
  • Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) (esp. refined) Can Impair Mitochondrial Function (At 54:30)
    • PUFA promote mitochondrial proton leaks.
    • PUFA block ATP production.
    • PUFA can kill mitochondria at high enough concentration.
  • Body fat is the best fuel for aerobic activity (At 1:01:20)
    • Abundant evidence from all of nature suggest this is the case for other animals.
    • When Sports Nutritionists suggest that glycogen is the best fuel for aerobic activity in humans, this goes against what appears to be true in the rest of the animal kingdom.
    • Theirs is an extraordinary claim requiring an extraordinary burden of evidence to support, a burden which they have so far failed to meet.
  • Conflicts of interest have slowed progress in the field nutrition. (At 1:04:30)
    • The field of Sports Nutrition is the MOST conflicted of all.
    • (Thank you for that, GSSI.)

KEY DEFINITIONS, and when they’re made

  • Fat versus oil (At 19:10)
  • Complex versus simple carbohydrate (At 25:00)
  • Aerobic versus anaerobic exercise (At 38:40)


If you have a comment, correction, question or suggestion about this presentation please do not email me directly. Please post your question as a comment below so everyone can benefit from the discussion about your insights!

If you would like permission to show this presentation to your sports organization, please complete the form below:

    Dr. Cate

    With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

    This Post Has 10 Comments

    1. Great material, Dr. Cate! But I’d like to ask how much dairy do you recommend to consume on this type of diet? As we know that it spikes insulin and therefore blocks fat burning. Or is it okay to consume it sometime of the day?
      Anyways thank you so much for all this information.

    2. Great material, Dr. Cate! But I would like to ask how much dairy do you recommend to consume on this type of diet? As we know that it spikes insulin and therefore blocks fat burning. Or is it okay to consume it sometime of the day?
      Anyways thank you so much for all this information.

      1. Dairy does not actually spike insulin any more than would be expected by it’s nutrients. Near zero sugar dairy products like cheddar cheese would not spike insulin because there’s almost no sugar left after the microbes ferment it into cheese, and the protein absorption is so slow there’s no to minimal insulin spike. There’s this myth out there that dairy spikes insulin but it’s unfounded because it’s based on a misunderstanding of the control used in a study that compared kids getting a whole lot of skim milk versus kids getting the same protein intake from zero sugar lean beef. I do discuss this in detail in the FAQ section of the new edition of Deep Nutrition.

    3. How do you define “perform better”?

      There are a multitude of studies showing performance decreases following the high fat paradigm.
      What is touted as ‘glycogen sparing” is actually glycogen impairing, in that PDH becomes down regulated and you cannot metabolize carbohydrates properly; which effectively removes the ability to reach high intensity when required.

      eg the ‘faster study’ shows increased fat usage yes, however this does not translate to increased performance at all.

      The data on trained athletes does not support your claims here.

      1. Please cite several of the multitude, as many as you care to list for me, I’d be happy to address them in a future post.
        PDH (Pyruvate Dehydrogenase) is turned on and off very quickly. Are you possibly confusing genetic regulation with enzyme regulation? The two have different rates of response.

    4. Dr. Cate, Thanks so much for this wonderful information. Any insight on how recommendations would differ for an anaerobic sport, such as gymnastics? Thanks, Shannon

      1. Yes, thank you for bringing this up. The real question is what constitutes a truly anaerobic activity–and the reality is it’s going to vary depending on the athlete’s metabolic flexibility and their degree of training.

        A well trained gymnastic athlete with a healthy metabolism is not in an anaerobic state for the majority of their activity. What’s more, the phosphocreatine system can provide energy for 15 seconds of sustained effort such as holding a static pose and that system can be recharged by mitochondrial oxidation of fat.

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