Ketogenic diet may increase lifespan: New study

Ketogenic diet may increase lifespan: New study

Scientists may have discovered the “keto” longevity.

Researchers at Stanford University have found that the ketogenic, or keto, diet makes muscle stem cells better able to handle stress. Similar effects have been found with a fasting diet. The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

“As we age, we experience slower and less complete healing of our tissues,” Dr. Thomas Rando, a neurology professor at Stanford, told the university. “We wanted to understand what controls that regenerative ability and how fasting impacts this process. We found that fasting induces resilience in muscle stem cells so that they survive during deprivation and are available to repair muscle when nutrients are again available.”

Raw salmon on a cutting board.
Salmon is a keto diet staple.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The ketogenic diet focuses on high-fat, low-carb consumption and supposedly puts the body in a unique state, known as ketosis, where it burns excess fat rather than carbs.

In the study, similarly protective effects to those of fasting were achieved by feeding mice a keto diet, or by giving them ketone bodies produced during ketosis.

“Ketone bodies arise when the body uses fat for energy, but they also push stem cells into a quiescent state that protects them during deprivation,” Rando said. “In this state, they are protected from environmental stress, but they are also less able to regenerate damaged tissue.”

Some have questioned just how healthy, nutritionally balanced and tenable the meal plan is in the long term, given that the keto diet food list is heavy on expensive, high-fat items, such as red meat, salmon and avocado. And the diet has been known to have some strange side effects.

But, positive keto reviews tout it as a great way to lose weight and keep it off. This new research should provide proponents with more winning debate points.