I'm not anti-keto, but I'm not anti-science
The ketogenic diet inhibits mTOR but spares muscle. Wait, wut?

mTOR is a key mediator of skeletal muscle growth. Primarily via stimulating protein synthesis, although some researchers are even looking for ways to activate it to prevent atrophy (eg, Dyle et al., 2014) (eg, ursolic acid & tomatidine).

Role of skeletal muscle mTOR in mechanical load-induced growth (Goodman et al., 2011)

Signaling pathways mediating muscle mass in aging skeletal muscle: role of mTOR (Sandri et al., 2013)

Mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth and atrophy (Schiaffino et al., 2013)

mTOR is necessary for proper satelite cell activity and skeletal muscle regeneration (Zhang et al., 2015)


Dietary protein lights up mTOR -- 0.6 g/kg lean mass increased it by 30% in this study, although as little as 10-20 grams did it here.

"Many of the health benefits of exercise are mediated by mTOR, not only within the working muscle, but also in distant tissues such as fat, liver, and brain" (Watson et al., 2014).



Part 2.

In the #context of a high carb diet, a bolus of ~0.5 g/kg ketone esters followed by 0.25 g/kg*h (to reach a blood ketone level of 4-5 mM)  boosted mTOR relative to an isocaloric dose of "long-chain triglycerides" (which I believe is a mix of canola and sunflower oils) (Vandoorne et al., 2017).

However, "The ketogenic diet inhibits the mTOR pathway" (McDaniel et al., 2011). Ergo, if you want to build muscle on a ketogenic diet, it's probably not gonna be a ketogenic diet. It'll more likely be a low carb, high protein, non-ketogenic diet with some heavy resistance exercise.



"mTOR is required for increasing skeletal muscle force during hypertrophy" (Marabita et al, 2016)

"The ketogenic diet inhibits the mTOR pathway" (McDaniel et al., 2011)


Some studies show ketone supplements boost glycogen stores in the context of a high carb diet (eg, Holdsworth et al., 2017), but not all (eg, Vandoorne et al., 2017)... but there's also no clear relationship between the rate of glycogen repletion on skeletal muscle growth. Similarly, there are even mixed findings on the effect of a bona fide ketogenic diet on glycogen levels (lower in Phinney's study but unchanged in FASTER) (which I suspect may be sport-specific - Phinney used cyclists, FASTER was runners)... and none of this means anything for performance (roughly equivalent in both studies).

For the eleventy-billionth time, I'm not anti-keto, but I'm not anti-science.

 

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