NEWS FLASH FRIDAY: Keto Diet Can Slow Aging Process

The Keto diet can slow aging: Following a low-carb, high-fat..

NEWS FLASH FRIDAY: Keto Diet Can Slow Aging Process

The Keto diet can slow aging: Following a low-carb, high-fat eating plan may prevent a host of diseases including Alzheimer’s

  • Shunning carbs causes the body to release the chemical β-hydroxybutyrate
  • β-hydroxybutyrate protects cells from ‘internal stress’ and genetic damage
  • It does this by blocking an enzyme that prevents the activation of certain genes
  • The researchers plan to analyze β-hydroxybutyrate’s effects on heart health
  • Ketogenic diets force the body to burn fat over carbohydrates for energy  

 

Ketogenic diets could slow aging, new research suggests.

Following low-carb, high-fat eating plans may prevent age-related conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even cancer, according to researchers.

During carbohydrate ‘starvation’, the body releases a chemical, known as β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB), which protects cells from ‘internal stress’, a study found.

Such stress is linked to genetic damage in cells, which can cause ageing, the research adds.

Study author Dr Katerina Akassoglou from the Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology in San Francisco, said: ‘The findings could be relevant for a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and traumatic brain injury.

‘[These] diseases afflict millions and there are few treatment options.’ 

The Keto diet, which is favored by the likes of Halle Berry, forces the body to burn fat, rather than carbohydrates, for energy, which effectively starves it of carbs but not calories.

Following low-carb, high-fat eating plans may prevent age-related conditions (stock)

WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?

The Ketogenic diet defines a low-carb, high-fat way of eating. 

Following this eating plan forces the body into a metabolic state, known as ketosis, which starves the body of carbohydrates but not calories.

Carbs are shunned in the keto diet as they cause the body to produce glucose, which is used as energy over fat.

Keto diets therefore lead to weight loss as they make the body burn fat as its primary energy source.

On the diet, followers can eat:

 

People cannot eat:

  • Grains, including rice and wheat
  • Sugar, like honey and maple syrup
  • Most fruit
  • White or sweet potatoes 
 

‘The findings could be relevant for a range of conditions’

The researchers restricted the calorie intake of mice, which caused their βOHB levels to rise, while blocking the effects of the enzyme histone deacetylases (HDACs).

Inhibiting HDACs leads to the activation of the genes Foxo3a and Mt2, which protect cells from internal stress.

Study author Dr Eric Verdin said: ‘Over the years, studies have found that restricting calories slows aging and increases longevity, however, the mechanism of this effect has remained elusive.

‘Here, we find that βOHB, the body’s major source of energy during exercise or fasting, blocks a class of enzymes that would otherwise promote stress, thus protecting cells from aging.’

The researchers plan to analyze the effect of a ketogenic diet on brain and heart.

Dr Akassoglou added: ‘The findings could be relevant for a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and traumatic brain injury.

‘[These] diseases afflict millions and there are few treatment options.’ 

The findings were published in the journal Science. 

Is the Keto diet too restrictive?

Despite the recent findings, Keto diets have come under fire for being too restrictive.

Registered dietitian Abbey Sharp previously told MailOnline: ‘While restriction may lead to quick weight loss, anything restrictive has a tendency to backfire in the long run and lead to rebound weight gain.’ 

‘For the majority of people, following a restrictive diet is unsustainable. They end up going on and off various diets, creating an unhealthy eating pattern.’

Cutting out carbohydrates may also cause other health problems. 

Ms Sharp added: ‘The ketogenic diet is low in fiber, which can not only create constipation, but also denies you the health benefits of fiber in chronic disease prevention.’

AN AT-A-GLANCE KETO DIET PLAN 

Breakfast: Two eggs fried in butter with bacon, spinach and mushrooms

OR

Sausages with bell peppers and cheese

Lunch: Ground beef cooked with a taco seasoning served with sour cream and a salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and cheddar cheese. 

OR

A BLT wrapped in lettuce instead of bread.

Dinner: Pork chops cooked in olive oil with asparagus and a mushroom sauce made from butter, cream, thyme and garlic.

OR

Baked salmon with mashed cauliflower containing butter, sour cream, scallions, cheddar cheese and bacon. 

Low-carb diets during pregnancy, such as Keto, have also been linked to birth defects

WHAT CELEBRITIES ARE FANS OF THE KETO DIET?

Speaking on The Rachael Ray Show last year, High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens praised the Keto way of eating for promoting real foods that make followers feel fuller for longer.

Actress Halle Berry, who has type 1 diabetes, also credits the Keto diet for making her be ‘constantly on fat-burning mode’ without having to deprive herself of butter.

In 2013 Gwyneth Paltrow famously announced she does not feed her children bread, rice or pasta, which was backed by food journalist Joanna Blythman, who said humans do not require carbohydrates. 

Other reported fans include Kourtney Kardashian, Megan Fox, Adriana Lima and Mick Jagger.

Are low-carb diets safe during pregnancy?

Low-carb diets, such as Keto, have also been linked to birth defects, including spina bifida, when adopted by expectant mothers.

Last month researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found women who stick to carb-restrictive diets while pregnant or trying to conceive have a 30 percent higher risk of having babies with neural tube birth defects.

This is thought to be due to such women having an insufficient intake of folic acid.

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient that minimizes the risk of neural tube defects. 

Research assistant professor Dr Tania Desrosiers said: ‘This is concerning because low carbohydrate diets are fairly popular.’ 

The Department of Health recommends that women should take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid while they are trying to conceive and should continue taking this dose for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby’s spine is developing.


Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

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