Keto diet only works for a week before problem that can cause obesity and diabetes appears, study on mice shows
- Research from Yale University suggests benefits of eating a high-fat, low-carb diet may be time-limited
- After a week on the diet, the body starts replenishing its stores of fat faster than they can be burned, the study indicates. A follow-up human study is needed
If the start of the new year led you to go on the ketogenic diet in an effort to lose weight, a new study suggests you may have been on it a little too long.
The study was recently published in Nature Metabolism and results indicate that over a limited time period, consuming a high-fat, low-carb diet can possibly offer health benefits to humans, Yale News reports. They include lowering the risk of diabetes and inflammation.
Vishwa Deep Dixit, lead author of the study, who is a professor of comparative medicine and immunology at the Yale School of Medicine, says the keto diet tricks the body into burning fat. The body acts as if it’s in starvation mode when the low consumption of carbohydrates causes glucose levels to drop.
Despite the body not actually being in starvation mode, it begins burning fat instead of carbohydrates. That leads to the release of ketone bodies, which are an alternative source of fuel. As ketone bodies burn in the body, gamma delta T-cells expand throughout.
However, when the body acts as if it’s in starvation mode, researchers found fat gets stored in the body at the same time that fat breakdown occurs. As mice continue the high-fat diet, Dixit says they start to store more fat than they can burn, and obesity and diabetes begins to develop. “They lose the protective gamma delta T-cells in the fat,” Dixit says.
Despite the findings of the mice trial, however, Dixit says long-term human clinical trials are needed.
“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,” Dixit says.
The results come after Dr Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic voiced opposition to the diet. Hensrud, author of The Mayo Clinic Diet Book, says the keto diet is not the magic formula people believe it is.
“People want to believe,” he says. “They want an easy way out. They want the magic panacea.”