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article imageNew study signals health concerns with the 'keto diet'

By Tim Sandle     Feb 10, 2020 in Health
New research raises concerns with so-called ketogenic diets, which are diets where most energy is derived from fats and very little from carbohydrates. The research suggests that the diet should not be extended for more than one week.
The findings are based on rodent studies, and the research hails from Yale University. There have been reported concerns with this form of diet, which is high in protein since there are indications of increasing the risk for diabetes, cancer and overall premature mortality (see The Lancet: “Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis”).
A ketogenic diet is an extreme form of dieting, based on low-carbohydrate consumption. The aim with the regime is to promote the metabolism of fats into ketone bodies (instead of carbohydrates into glucose) to provide the body's main source of energy (and hence the diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates).
The new research results are mixed. The indications are that the keto diet has the potential, over short and controlled time periods, to improve human health through a lowering diabetes risk as well as inflammation. Mice exposed to the diet showed signs of lower blood sugar levels and lower rates of inflammation.
However, the study also shows that over a prolonged time period – beyond one week – then the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet lead to the mice consuming more fat than they could burn, and this led to the development of diabetes and obesity.
While further research is required, the signs are that a keto diet in small bursts could be of benefit to those medically assessed as being overweight and pre-diabetic. However, the diet may not deliver any benefits for people not in this category and there appears to be health risks should the diet continue beyond one week.
According to researcher Emily Goldberg: “Our findings highlight the interplay between metabolism and the immune system, and how it coordinates maintenance of healthy tissue function.”
The new research is published in the journal Nature Metabolism, with the research paper titled “Ketogenesis activates metabolically protective γδ T cells in visceral adipose tissue.”
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