The Keto Diet and Longevity


The keto diet is so popular that is more likely you know someone who has followed it. And there are many pathways for following it. The conventional way uses animal-based food sources like meat, eggs, butter, and dairy and plant-based food options like avocados, oils, olives, and non-starchy vegetables. The plant-based keto version is an optional manner of following the diet, and it may have more beneficial effects because of the plant-based elements. Whole plant foods which are also part of the keto diet contain phytochemicals that boost health together with fiber that feeds the microbiome. It also includes a higher percentage of healthier unsaturated fats. 


Ketones and improving health


Fasting and the keto diet have been used for treating epilepsy since they were observed to minimize seizures. This is according to the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics. Ketones have been known to affect other health aspects like dampening appetite. This is why keto dieters can reduce the calories they consume while still getting satisfied. This can help with weight loss. The diet is also high in fat. Its low carbohydrate and protein levels translate to having less insulin released, which could mean more positive metabolic effects. The blood glucose also stays low because of the low carb intake. This means you will have healthy blood sugar levels. Other studies also revealed that ketones could help with cognitive health. 


On the other hand, you must also be cautious about a high saturated fat intake since this may lead to a rise in LDL cholesterol levels, which can impact heart health negatively. Furthermore, some studies also showed that the body’s insulin resistance may worsen as time passes even if the keto diet has been observed to help with controlling blood sugar levels. 


Ketones and longevity


Ketosis has been linked to long life. Several mechanisms contribute to this. Autophagy is the process wherein the body whose cells discard all damaged components for repair and replenish their cells and tissues. Fasting and nutrient deprivation may stimulate autophagy. This helps in rejuvenating body tissues and slowing the aging process. Fasting also triggers ketosis, which increases the production of ketones. Fasting has also been seen to prolong the lifespan as well as modified fasting in the form of reduced caloric intake. 


Is ketosis safe?


Health experts are worried about the adverse effects of ketosis when it is achieved through a high-fat diet. Dietary car restriction is now popular because of its perceived benefits of increasing satiety and maintaining healthy plasma glucose levels. The benefits of low-carb intake are outweighed by the metabolic benefits of high-fat intake such as high cholesterol levels, an increase in ectopic fat accumulation, and reduced glucose tolerance. They suggest following a plant-based form of the keto diet or the use of exogenous ketone supplements that can help induce ketosis without the negative effects of the traditional keto diet. The exogenous ketone supplement can help avoid the high consumption of saturated fat to reach targeted blood levels without having to consume excess fat. A plant-based keto diet is also lower in saturated fat content. 


 Keto diet and aging


Based on two 2017 studies, Medical News Today pointed out that a low-carb and low-protein keto diet increased the average life span of mice and improved their health in their old age. The first study, which was published in Cell Metabolism, showed that the keto diet implemented every other week starting midlife reduces midlife mortality and preserves memory when aging. The second study also revealed that the keto diet extends longevity and also preserves the body’s muscle mass and motor functions in animals. According to the researchers, animal studies are highly suggestive that ketones could have anti-aging benefits. 


Staying on the keto diet


There’s one negative aspect of the keto diet, and that is the fact that it can be hard to maintain. This requires you to follow a low-carb and high-fat intake with just a little room for cheat meals and completely no sweets. The keto diet has been called anti-social because it makes it hard to dine out. This may also take a lot of time and money to prepare special meals. It can be difficult to strictly adhere to the traditional keto diet, but you can always go for the simpler ones that involve consuming fewer sweets and carbs and more vegetables. 


Super low-carb diet and longevity


According to a published study in The Lancet Public Health, following a super low-carb diet may reduce the number of years in your lifespan. Researchers had 15,000 respondents from the US. They were asked to fill out questionnaires about their diet including the kinds and quantity of food they consume. They also included people whose diets are on the extreme ends of the spectrum such as those who consume as low as 600 calories or less per day and those who consume 4,200 calories or more. The participants were followed for around 25 years. It was observed that a 50-year-old man who consumed a moderate amount of carbs would live longer by four years compared to someone who took a super low-carb diet and two years longer than a person who followed a traditional low-carb diet. The kinds of foods that the dieters ate made a huge difference. Those who follow the low-carb diet, they can swap carbs with plant proteins instead of animal proteins. This results in a slightly decreased risk of earlier death. 

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