Lab Mouse - ©

Popular Keto Diet May Have Long-Term Negatives

The Ketogenic Diet, in which 99 percent of calories come from Fat, is touted by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Lebron James, and Kim Kardashian as a miracle weight loss regime. But researchers at Yale University say it may have negative long-term effects…

Fat Woman Eating - © Daily MailThe Keto Diet may have benefits for folks like her –
in small doses, under a doctor’s supervision.

How it works

According to an abstract of the study report, a keto diet tricks the body into burning fat. When the body’s glucose level is reduced due to the diet’s low carbohydrate content, the body acts as if it is in a starvation state — although it is not — and begins burning fats instead of carbohydrates. This process in turn yields chemicals called ketone bodies as an alternative source of fuel. When the body burns ketone bodies, tissue-protective gamma delta T-cells expand throughout the body.

What they did

Yale University researchers set up a mouse-based study to determine the effects of the Keto Diet over both short and longer terms. They analysed the levels of several metabolites of Fat digestion on a regular basis, and kept track of the test subjects’ blood glucose and tissue-protective gamma delta T-cells.

What they found

The Keto Diet reduces levels of blood glucose, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and systemic inflammation, and actually improves the body’s metabolism. But when the body is in this ‘starving-not-starving’ mode, fat storage is also happening simultaneously with fat breakdown, the researchers found. When mice continue to eat the high-fat, low-carb diet beyond one week, Dixit said, they consume more fat than they can burn, and develop diabetes and obesity.

The takeaway

“[The mice] lose the protective gamma delta T-cells in the fat,” explains Dr. Vishwa Deep Dixit of the Yale School of Medicine, Lead Author of the Study Report. But more research is needed in humans is still necessary to validate the anecdotal claims of Keto’s health benefits. “Before such a diet can be prescribed, a large clinical trial in controlled conditions is necessary to understand the mechanism behind metabolic and immunological benefits, or any potential harm to individuals who are overweight and pre-diabetic.”

My take

Here we go again, with the upside being balanced off by a down side. I agree with Dixit that the Keto Diet may be useful in treating obese people and in controlling diabetes – in ‘small doses’ and under a doctor’s supervision. But I still believe the most effective, healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off is to get a dog and walk it for an hour every day.

~ Maggie J.