A high-fat, low-carb diet, which has become popular in recent years, can extend a person’s lifespan, according to a new study.
Researchers at Stanford University in the Bay Area have found that the ketogenic diet, often referred to as keto, can help muscle and stem cells survive stress and allow a person to live longer.
Keto diets are extremely low in carbs, but very high in fat. This trains the body to become efficient at burning fat and converting fat into energy. They have been made famous for burning off extreme amounts of weight in a short period of time.
The increased diet in some communities has sparked some controversy, with warnings that it could lead to nutrient deficiencies and other long-term problems – despite the short-term benefits.
Researchers have found that a high-fat, low-carb, keto diet can extend a person’s lifespan in the same way as a regular dose of fasting (file photo)
The keto diet is high in fat and virtually eliminates all carbohydrates
A keto diet reduces a person’s carb intake and instead uses protein and fat to get daily calories
People who follow the keto diet experience rapid weight loss, although it can cause serious long-term health problems if used for a long time.
The goal is to reach ketosis, a point where a person uses fat for energy instead of carbs
The diet has been linked to rapid weight gain, a reduced risk of diabetes or prediabetes and other health benefits
People following a keto diet also often report lower levels of harmful cholesterol and other positive heart developments.
There are concerns that long-term use of a keto diet could lead to someone developing chronic health problems
Nutrient deficiency is a common problem for people on the keto diet
Sources: Health Line, Mayo Clinic
The researchers, who published their findings last week in Cell Metabolism, found that the keto diet provides many of the same positive effects on a person’s cells as fasting.
In a test on mice, researchers found that those who fasted for one to 2.5 days had stronger muscle cells.
While they took longer to repair themselves when damaged, cells from fasting mice were much less likely to sustain damage.
“We found that fasting induces the resilience of muscle stem cells so that they survive during starvation and are available to repair muscles when nutrients are available again,” said Dr. Thomas Rando, professor of neurology at Stanford. in a statement from the University.
However, long-term fasting is not sustainable and can be very uncomfortable for a person to do on a daily basis.
Eating a keto diet, which is much more realistic, appears to have the same effect as fasting on cells of mice on which the ketone was tested.
Ketone-induced cells were more resilient, surviving longer when starved of nutrients, exposed to harmful chemicals or radiation.
The cells could also be transported into other animals that were not fasting or following a keto diet.
“Usually most muscle stem cells grown in the lab die when they are transplanted,” Rando said.
“But these cells are in a deep quiescent state that we call deep ketone-induced quiescence that allows them to resist many kinds of stress.”
Mice that were directly fed a keto diet also showed similar effects, according to the research team.
Keto diets have gained traction on social media in recent years, and although they are great for reducing fat and weight, some are concerned that those who use it suffer from nutrient deficiencies that can lead to problems in the long run. term.
“Cells have evolved to exist in times of abundance and in times of deprivation,” Rando said.
“They had to be able to survive when food was not readily available. Ketone bodies arise when the body uses fat for energy, but they also push stem cells into a resting state that protects them during deprivation.
“In this state, they are protected from environmental stress, but they are also less able to regenerate damaged tissue.”
The results are promising for proponents of a keto diet, many of whom have appeared on social media — with varying expertise as a nutritionist.
Keto diets have been advertised as ways to lose weight and cut fat without following a calorie-restricted diet.
The risks of developing obesity, diabetes, and prediabetes — all of which are increasing in the United States — are also low.
There are a few major drawbacks, however, some of which are significant enough that dietitians advise against it.
First, someone who has just started the diet might suffer from an experience called the “keto flu,” according to Healthline, where the body experiences intense fatigue and other symptoms due to their body’s energy sources changing.
It also leaves a person deficient in many nutrients if not managed well, and could lead to a variety of bone and organ problems later in life. It can even lead to the development of chronic diseases.
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