Consuming a ketogenic diet — which is high fat, low protein, and low carbohydrates — may not only help in weight loss, but also increase longevity and improve physical strength, says a recent study. The study, conducted on mice models, showed a 13 per cent increase in median life span for the mice on a high fat versus high carbohydrate diet.
“In humans, that would be seven to 10 years. But equally important, those mice retained quality of health in later life,” said nutritionist Jon Ramsey from the University of California – Davis. In addition, the ketogenic diet increased memory and motor function (strength and coordination), and prevented an increase in age-related markers of inflammation. It also had an impact on the incidence of tumours as well, the researchers said.
The older mice on the ketogenic diet had a better memory than the younger mice, which is really remarkable, the researchers said. According to the study, detailed in the journal Cell Metabolism, eating a ketogenic diet ramps up the production of the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate acid (BHB), which helps improve memory and increases lifespan.
“This study indicates that a ketogenic diet can have a major impact on life and health span without major weight loss or restriction of intake. It also opens a new avenue for possible dietary interventions that have an impact on ageing,” Ramsey said.
For the study, mice were split into three groups: a regular rodent high-carb diet, a low carb/high fat diet, and a ketogenic diet (89-90 per cent of total calorie intake). The ultimate goal is to find a way for humans to benefit from BHBs without having to go on a restrictive diet, the researchers said.