2018, Volume 14, Issue 1

Low versus adequate carbohydrate diet in Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes: comparisons of hormonal biomarkers, physical and psychological

Dayanne da Costa Maynard1, Renata Costa Matos 1, Ivone Camargo Damasceno2, Ciro José Brito 3, Bianca Miarka3, Marzo Edir da Silva Grigoletto1, Raquel Simões Mendes-Netto4

1Department of Physical Education, University Federal of Sergipe, Brazil
2Laboratory Analysis in the Clinical Teaching Hospital of UFS, University Federal of Sergipe, Brazil
3Department of Physical Education, University Federal of Juiz de Fora, Brazil
4Department of Nutrition, University Federal of Sergipe, Brazil

Author for correspondence: Raquel Simões Mendes-Netto; Department of Nutrition, University Federal of Sergipe, Brazil; email: raquelufs[at]gmail.com


Background and Study Aim: One of the strategies for rapid weight loss among combat sports athletes is calorie restriction with consequent reduction of carbohydrate, which despite its efficacy has been an area of controversy. This study aim is the effects of a low carbohydrate diet on body composition, hormonal profiles and performance task in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) athletes.

Material and Methods: We performed a clinical study of which 18 BJJ athletes were randomised into two groups: a) low carbohydrate (L-CHO 2-3g/kg/day) and b) adequate carbohydrate (A-CHO 4-6g/kg/day). The nutritional status, body composition, hormonal profile (T3, T4, free-T4, thyroid stimulant hormone (TSH), insulin, cortisol and testosterone), muscle power of upper and lower limbs, anaerobic fatigue index and aerobic endurance were assessed before and after 30-days of nutritional intervention.

Results: Regardless of the group, 88.9% achieved >3% of a weight loss and a decrement of body fat (>1.6%), however, A-CHO presented a significative loss of lean body mass (∆ = −3.9 kg). The L-CHO decrease de waist (∆ = −3.5 cm; p = 0.005) and hip circumferences (∆=-2.0 cm; p = 0.009). The L-CHO group increased the blood TSH (∆ = 0.6; p = 0.046) and T4 (∆ = 0.6; p<0.033) and decrease insulin concentration (∆ = −2.9; p = 0.009).

Conclusions: After 30 days, the diets of the L-CHO and the A-CHO group achieved similar weight losses for the BJJ athletes. However, the L-CHO group presented a better hormonal profile and quality of weight loss. The main findings showed differences between low and adequate carbohydrate diet evaluated after 30-days of intervention. Both groups reduced the daily intake of total calories and lipids, and gravity of the urine was remained hydrated before and after the nutritional intervention. After 30 days of training plus low carbohydrate diet, athletes preserved the lean body mass, reducing hostility, the waist and hip circumferences. Furthermore, insulin and thyroid hormones levels improved after the diet with low carbohydrates.

Key words: combat sports, carbohydrate, caloric restriction, low carbohydrate, nutritional status, weight loss