The effects of a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet versus a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet on dancer's performance

August 2023
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Purpose of study. The objective of this study was to compare a high-carbohydrate, low-fat (HCLF) diet versus a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet on performance in dancers. Methodology. In a cross-over design, dancers consumed a HCLF and a LCHF diet for approximately one month. A Perceived Fatigue Assessment, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and exercise testing including a 30 second Wingate, lateral raises, calf raises, push-ups, and 90-second box jumps were performed at pre- and post-assessment for both diets. HRV was measured daily during the intervention. Results. Both diets showed an increase in peak power (p=.033, ɳ2=.27), relative peak power (p=.028, ɳ2=.28), anaerobic power (p=.025, ɳ2=.27), and in fatigue index (p=.005, ɳ2=.42) during the Wingate test. Both diets also showed a significant increase in the number of push-ups (p=.031, ɳ2=.27). During the box jump test, both diets showed that dancers jumped significantly more at 90 seconds (p=.014, ɳ2=.34), and were less fatigued from 60 to 90s (p =.015, ɳ2=.33), from 30 to 90s (p=.005, ɳ2=.42), and overall (p=.014, ɳ2=.34). There were no significant differences in performance with the lateral raise and calf raises. The diets did not cause a significant difference in body weight, body fat, or lean mass; however, there was a significant difference in the A/G ratio and the percentage fat of the trunk to percentage fat of the leg’s ratio showing the LCHF diet may cause an increase in fat around the trunk area. There were no significant differences in the energy consumed or expended while on the two diets. There were also no significant differences in HRV scores or perceived fatigue and recovery. Conclusion. Both diets may be beneficial for dancers that are required to do more power movements and dance movements that will utilize anaerobic power. Dances that are less intense will not gain any additional performance benefits from consuming a HCLF or LCHF diet.

Health Sciences, Dance, Kinesiology