A group of 8 runners, two with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and including Olympic athlete James Cracknell, have covered 100 miles over five days, between Henley and Bristol, consuming zero calories. The Zero Five 100 challenge was set up by Dr Ian Lake, who has Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), aiming to explore the safety and effectiveness of fueling from stored body fat during a five days fasting and endurance exercise.
This project was built on existing research, which has shown that low carbohydrate lifestyle results in a metabolic shift from carbohydrate to fat metabolism, when the body’s main fuel source is fat and ketones rather than glucose. This has been shown to stabilise blood glucose levels and reduce the need for insulin treatment in diabetes. Nutritional ketosis is a physiological response to a high fat, low carbohydrate diet, and it is not to be confused with diabetic ketoacidosis, which is the result of poorly controlled diabetes.
It is not the intention to present this project as validation of cessation of eating for those with eating disorders. Eating disorders require specialist management well beyond the findings of this project. Neither is it a recommendation to anyone to copy the method . This project required careful planning over several months and no one in the group intends to repeat it.
An endurance event was chosen to demonstrate how fat metabolism can be used as an alternative to traditional carbohydrate-based fuelling in a group of volunteers. A detailed series of metabolic tests and health checks along the way made this a serious scientific endeavour. This was a data-gathering exercise to explore the science and will produce informative media for the public via written results and articles for academia and mainstream media, YouTube videos, film, and a website.
The safety of the project was carefully planned and monitored by the team’s experts, who have considerable experience in low carbohydrate lifestyle from a variety of backgrounds.