Influence of low and high dietary fat on physical performance in untrained males

Silvia Pogliaghi, Arsenio Veicsteinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Dietary manipulations have been used in athletes to enhance aerobic performance. We intended to verify whether the quality of energy substrate provided by food (percentage of total calories from fat and carbohydrates) per se has the ability to affect aerobic performance in sedentary humans. Method: Fourteen healthy sedentary males were sequentially submitted to 4-wk eucaloric diets (spontaneous diet: 30% of total calories from fat; low-fat, 15% fat; high-fat, 55% fat; and spontaneous, 30% fat). After each diet period, individual body mass, percentage body fat (plicometry), V̇O(2max) (incremental bicycle-ergometry) and endurance (pedaling time to exhaustion at 75%V̇O(2max)) were measured, V̇O2, V̇CO2, V̇(E), R, and heart rate (HR) were measured at rest and during exercise tests. Body composition and performance data (V̇O(2max) and endurance) were compared for significant differences by repeated measures ANOVA. Results: Subjects' body weight, percentage body fat, and fitness status (indicated by intercept and slope of the HR/V̇O2 linear relationship) did not change significantly during the study, thus ruling out the influence of these potential confounders. For a given workload, V̇O2, V̇(E), and R were unaffected by diet composition. V̇O(2max) and endurance time were not significantly modified by the different diets. Conclusions: Our study showed no impact, positive or negative, of diet's macronutrient composition on physical performance. It appears that the quality of energy substrate provided by food does not have the ability to affect either maximal or submaximal aerobic performance in untrained individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Diet
  • Endurance
  • Exercise
  • Fat
  • Metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of low and high dietary fat on physical performance in untrained males'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this