Foods for Doing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) on Keto

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Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a sport that requires a lot of effort from your body. It is a sport that consumes a lot of energy, especially for people on a ketogenic (keto) diet. This is because when you’re on a keto diet, the only source of energy your body can use efficiently is fat.

Some people may find it difficult to continue doing MMA on keto and eventually give up on one or the other. Luckily, combining the two isn’t a problem when you understand how keto works and how your body reacts to it when you’re fighting it.

To simplify things, your body has three main sources of energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All of these come from your diet and are used by your body as a source of energy. Carbohydrates come first, followed by protein, and finally, when those first two sources are depleted, your body begins to use its stored fat for energy. That’s when you can proudly say your body is on keto.

While on the keto diet, you must strictly refrain from consuming excess carbs and protein, so your only source of energy is stored fat. But for a high intensity sport like MMA, you need a lot of energy. So how do you combine MMA and keto?

To address this, here are some foods you should eat and some foods you shouldn’t while on the keto diet to ensure you can continue practicing your favorite mixed martial arts. Also, you can explore keto-friendly foods on one page like this one.

Best foods for MMA on keto

Any low-carb or no-carb foods are generally considered MMA-friendly on the keto diet. These foods will give you the energy you need for your workouts and fights, but won’t raise your blood sugar levels significantly.

  • Non-starchy vegetables: The problem here is that starch gets converted into glucose in your body, which kicks you out of ketosis. As such, only vegetables that don’t contain a lot of starch are good for your keto diet. Naming a few of my favorites, I would recommend spinach (rich in iron), radish, kale, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini and finally asparagus. Eat them without worry!
  • Lawyer: Don’t forget this one. It is a complete and versatile food for you. When I say versatile, I mean you can have avocados in so many fun ways, whether it’s a salad, a spread, or even a dip. Avocados are high in fat and low in carbs, so what else do you need?
  • Seafood: Among sources of protein, seafood tops the list because it contains high-density lipoproteins that we call good cholesterol, or omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood not only supplements fats, but is also zero carbs, making it the best choice for a ketogenic diet. Other than that, you can have meat from purely grass-fed animals, be it beef, lamb, or goat.
  • Drinks : Staying hydrated is the most important part of any type of physical training, and the same goes for MMA. As such, the best bet for combining mixed martial arts and keto is to drink mostly water. However, you can consume other low-carb beverages, including black coffee, herbal tea, coconut milk, or black tea. These will not disturb your diet in any way.
  • Homemade organic products: Foods without additives, such as artificial flavors or preservatives, are safe to eat when training mixed martial arts on a ketogenic diet. The only rule is to make sure it’s homemade organic.

The worst foods for MMA on keto:

These are the foods you should strictly avoid on a keto diet because they can kick you out of ketosis, which means your body starts using glucose for energy again instead of fat. These prohibited food items include carbohydrate-rich foods and processed products such as artificial sweeteners, soft drinks, milk, some fresh and dried fruits, grains, wheat, and some petroleum products.

  • Sugar or sweeteners: Anything sweet means an abundance of carbs, so someone following a ketogenic diet should avoid consuming sugar in any form. Whether it’s honey, maple syrup, products containing sweeteners like yogurt, juice, cookies or any other food packaged with a sweet flavor enhancer.
  • Cereals: Grains of all kinds contain a high amount of carbohydrates that can disrupt a ketogenic diet. These grains include rice, cereals, rye, oats, corn, and even wheat. These aren’t the right choices if you’re going keto for martial arts.
  • Starchy vegetables: Starchy vegetables like corn, beets, sweet potatoes, green peas, carrots, turnips, etc. are all things you should avoid while on keto for martial arts. This is because your body breaks down starch into glucose to provide instant energy and thus stops using fat for fuel.
  • Fruits: Obviously, fruit is good for your health, although on the keto diet you don’t have a free hand here. This is because most fruits contain a high amount of carbs, which makes them tasty but bad for keto because they raise your blood sugar. Here we’re talking about your favorite mangoes, bananas, dates, pineapples and raisins.
  • Milk: YES! Milk is a serious culprit if you’re on keto for martial arts. Although milk contains calcium and potassium which are essential for your bones and teeth, it also contains a high amount of sugar. For reference, say, 1 glass of whole milk contains 12 grams of lactose. Luckily, however, you don’t have to avoid milk completely, and sometimes you can cheat. On these occasions, it is better to have low carb almond or coconut milk instead of the high carb ones.

These are foods you won’t eat while doing keto and mixed martial arts. There may be some of your favorite foods here, but the effort to avoid them is worth it to get lean, healthy, and fit!

In short, you can be creative with what you eat to recreate your favorite keto recipes. Make sure you continue to eat healthy and interesting meals, as compliance is key to seeing the benefits of the keto diet while doing mixed martial arts.


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