As a bit of a general/sports nutrition nerd, I cycle in and out of low-carb phases, but there’s simply no denying that they are the ideal source of energy during exercise, particularly for high-intensity efforts.
Fats, on the other hand, pack far more energy per gram and are great for slower endurance efforts, but they take a bit of work by the body to get turned into energy. And the second you introduce carbs to the mix, your body will prioritize using those, leaving your fat (whether ingested or stored) ready and waiting for the sugars to run out.
For “fat adapted” athletes, which basically means those who live the low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle and won’t shut up about it, can normally sustain low-intensity efforts for a couple of hours just fine without carbs. They might be ingesting MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides), which are processed differently, turning into MCFA (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) in the liver, which are then delivered to our muscles (and brain) for energy. They offer a quicker energy source than other types of fat, with the side benefit that they typically don’t stick around to get stored as body fat.
This is a drastically simplified explanation (so, you know, before you head to the comments section…just know that I also know this, and I’m fine with it), but it’s generally how it works.
Enter LiFT, short for Lipid Fuel Technology, which is endorsed by Mathieu van der Poel and Alberto Contador. It uses a proprietary formula made of MCFA, the energy-providing things that MCT gets converted to, which they say tricks the get into absorbing it quickly, so it goes directly into the bloodstream alongside any glucose you’re consuming and heads straight for the muscles, where it’s used as energy. No liver or gut processing required.
And, yes, they suggest that you keep using whatever carbohydrate drink, gel, or bars you’re already using (at least during races and high-intensity training). LiFT is additive, like those octane boosters sold at gas stations…it’s a booster for your carbs, offering more total energy to your muscles that they can use immediately.
They retail for $26 for a six-pack of vials, with a recommended intake of one per hour of intense exercise. You can also load with it the day before huge efforts and races. Each vial contains 118 calories from 13g of fat.