n International SportMed Journal - Adaptation to a high-fat diet for endurance exercise : review of potential underlying mechanisms : review article

Volume 4, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



Ingestion of a high-fat diet for as little as 5-10 days results in a significant increase in fat oxidation and a decrease in muscle glycogen utilisation during exercise. In this review, the putative mechanisms underlying the effect of high-fat feeding on altered substrate metabolism during exercise are discussed, including mitochondrial adaptations, such as changes in the enzymes involved in the uptake and oxidation of fatty acids, the effect of increased availability of plasma free fatty acids and the possible role of the glucose-fatty acid cycle, as well as the possible regulatory role of low glycogen stores , as opposed to dietary intervention, in altering substrate metabolism. In addition, the high-fat diet-induced reduction in glucose tolerance and / or insulin sensitivity as a result of increased intramuscular triglyceride stores and altered insulin signalling, as well as the interaction with training and dietary fatty acid composition, is discussed. Finally, the implications of these adaptations on exercise performance and resistance to fatigue, exploring the possible role of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and the sympathetic nervous system in mediating these effects will be briefly addressed.

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