Diet manipulation effects on performance and health markers - Alannah McKay

This week on the podcast Mikki speaks to Alannah McKay, a post doctoral fellow and researcher in the field of  iron metabolism, immune system health and also diet manipulation. They discuss the impact of carb availability on iron metabolism, chronically low carb intakes and immune function, the differing impact of low energy and low carbohydrate on both immune and iron markers, and her most recent research published that looked at the acute effect of calorie restriction on performance markers, and the pros and cons of this approach to be ‘race weight’ for athletes.

Alannah McKay completed a Bachelor of Science (Exercise, Health and Sports Science) at the University of Western Australia in 2014. Subsequently, Alannah completed a post-graduate position within the Physiology department at the Australian Institute of Sport, where she was involved in the preparation of many Australian athletes prior to the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic games. Since, Alannah has submitted her PhD titled “The Effect of Dietary Manipulation on Iron Metabolism and the Immune System in Elite Athletes”, which was undertaken in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport, Western Australian Institute of Sport and the University of Western Australia. Alannah joined Australian Catholic University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2020. Her research will continue to explore the impact of diet and exercise on a range of health outcomes in athletes, with a specific interest in iron metabolism.

A link to Alannah’s work can be found here ( and she is on twitter at