Keto Diet Linked to Improved Brain Health: Studies
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that aims to change the way our body uses energy. Our modern lifestyle has got us hooked to high-carb foods such as bread, pasta, rice and the like. The body converts carbohydrates into the sugar glucose instead of burning the fat deposits already available.
For those wanting to lose weight, it is important that they pay attention to how their body uses energy during physical and mental activities. Sticking to a high-fat diet will train the body to burn fat into ketones instead of being dependent on glucose for energy. When this happens, the entire body and brain will be fuelled by ketones produced by the liver. This monumental shift, if sustained over a period of time, will lead to weight loss when accompanied by physical exercise. At the same time, a ketogenic diet can also help to keep diabetes at bay.
Keto Diet and Brain Health
According to a literature review paper published in the journal Nutrients, adhering to a ketogenic diet might help to ward off neurodegenerative diseases in humans. Published in January, the researchers also cited experiments conducted on mice which concluded that a ketogenic diet led to significant improvements in the cognitive functioning of the brain.
Falling back on earlier studies, the researchers mention that a low-carb diet can be effective in reducing amyloid beta – a protein which is a sticky plaque-like substance that collects in the brain and is one of the primary components leading to Alzheimer’s disease. This neuro-degenerative disease usually occurs in adults who are in their mid-sixties. An irreversible and incurable disorder which leads to the loss of brain cells thereby causing memory loss, latest studies are focusing on the role of nutrition and diet in causing or preventing the disease.
In their literature review of previous scientific research conducted on the effect of ketones on brain health, the researchers found that older adults with memory deficits due to mild/moderate Alzheimer’s disease performed significantly well on cognitive tests when they consumed medium-chain triglyceride (fatty acids) which in turn, increased the levels of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate.
Another study published in the journal Neurology focused on the role of ketogenic as well as low-fat diets in slowing down the progression of Parkinson’s disease. An incurable neurological disorder, it causes problems in bodily movement with the first signs of the disease being hand tremors.
While both the diets led to marked results in reducing motor and nonmotor symptoms of the disease, consumption of a low-carb, high-fat diet (ketogenic diet) proved to be more effective in fighting nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Although more studies are being conducted in the field, it is clear that diet and nutrition has a major role to play in maintaining physical and mental well-being. As the studies have found out, adhering to a keto diet can be extremely beneficial for the brain and the body in the long run. So try it out!