AACC Special Episode – Ketones and Bicarbonate with Dr. Chiel Poffe - Science of Getting Faster Podcast

This week we have a special episode of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast with a preview of Episode 3 of the Science of Getting Faster Podcast!

We’ve intentionally avoided talking about ketones on the podcast as it is still very much an emerging field with science being largely inconclusive on the topic, however, we went straight to the source on this one, and will be talking ketones once again with Dr. Poffé in an upcoming episode of the Science of Getting Faster Podcast in the near future.

In short, ketones are known for serving as an alternative fuel source that can bring about powerful endurance performance benefits, but just like anything else, they aren’t a magic pill. Their impact on blood acidity is detrimental to performance and can even counteract their otherwise positive effects.

Dr. Chiel Poffe and his partners conducted a study to learn if Bicarbonate Unlocks the Ergogenic Action of Ketone Monoester Intake in Endurance Exercise, and what they learned was surprising!

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YouTube Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:17 Podcast Begins
  • 01:58 - Dr. Poffe’s background and the story of his research on Ketones
  • 02:52 - His research with Dr. Peter Hespel of Deceuninck Quick Step
  • 03:11 - What are ketones and ketone esters?
  • 04:44 - Why would someone want ketones in their blood while exercising?
  • 05:43 - The difference between ketone salts and ketone esters
  • 06:52 - Dr. Poffe’s study and why he decided to combine ketone and bicarbonate
  • 08:55 - Performance of Ketone vs. placebo in the studies
  • 09:55 - What does he think happened in the first study?
  • 10:38 - The new study: introducing bicarbonate and what the purpose is.
  • 11:12 - Why Chad finds the study methodology to be valuable
  • 11:36 - Why his research always seeks to mimic real-world conditions
  • 12:32 - What is Bicarbonate?
  • 13:17 - Buffering systems in skeletal muscle
  • 13:56 - How do you get/ ingest bicarbonate?
  • 14:39 - The study method: How big was it?
  • 15:27 - The study methodology and controls
  • 17:24 - Nate summarizes the study’s efforts, cost of dosage, and amount of dose
  • 19:29 - Timeframe of the test: dinner, morning, and timing of exercise
  • 19:53 - Why was it important to control the amount of carbs ingested?
  • 21:32- What was the dinner given to the subjects?
  • 22:15 - What were the study’s results?
  • 23:19 - Conclusions about how this might apply to a race (and timing limitations)
  • 24:52 - Avoiding gastrointestinal issues with sodium bicarbonate
  • 25:56 - Perception of hunger and appetite in the study groups
  • 28:07 - Asking the subjects to identify what they’d taken (placebo vs. esters, etc)
  • 29:11 - The purpose of blinding power and HR data
  • 30:35 - What the study does and doesn’t suggest about ingesting ketones
  • 31:36 - Blood ketone levels and perception of fatigue
  • 32:04 - Should you always supplement ketones with bicarbonate?
  • 33:11 - Outro

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I’m curious to hear people’s experiences with ketones.

Have you tried ketones?
  • Yes
  • No

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If you have tried ketones, what effect did they have on you? (1 = made me faster, 2 = not sure or didn’t have an affect, 3 = made me slower)
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0 voters

How likely are you to try ketones in the near future? (1 = very likely, 2 = undecided/don’t care, 3 = no way!)
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0 voters

Hey guys I’m excited to listen to this one on the new Podcast…I must say I’m a little sad not to have a new AACC episode today. I’ll work thru the new show until next week.

Thanks for all you do and all the info you put out. You guys have made all the difference in the world for me since two total-hip replacements in 2019.


Glad to hear it, Timmy! We’ll be back next week and in a big way :wink:

Keep up the good work!


I think I’ve heard this before…last week to be precise.

I want to try this, but will wait till after the next episode on post workout as well.

Your next guest, Dr. Tim P, has also been testing out bicarb recently.

Interesting topic. I tried to listen on the trainer but the poor sound quality on the guest’s end was too much. I’d recommend waiting till it can be done properly with good microphones before covering an important subject like this.


I’m trying to listen but the sound quality of your guest is poor and difficult to understand.


Can’t find ‘Science of Getting Faster Podcast’ on Spotify right now. Will it eventually be available on there?

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That’s strange - I detected no sound quality variation. I was watching on an iPad.

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The performance increase in the time trial phase of the test reported was dramatic, but later it was mentioned I believe that perceived exertion was higher at the start of the endurance phase - if I recall correctly.

This made me wonder if there was essentially a hidden cost, something not measured perhaps, being paid at the start that was rewarded in the TT.

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The audio in this episode was sub par and made it difficult to listen to. Not sure if this was over the phone, zoom or other platform, however any efforts to clean up the quality would be a big improvement. I almost just skipped the episode because of it.

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Sorry for the audio problems, everybody.

We’ll do better :+1:


Super episide, thanks @Jonathan and the team. Keep them comin’!


Agreed, it was super interesting. Although still not sure I want to try something that tastes like acetone*. :joy:

*as described by @Nate_Pearson