These days, there’s probably no diet more fascinating (or controversial) than the high-protein, high-fat, pretty-much-zero-carb keto diet.
Over the past five years or so, a steady drumbeat of reviewed scientific studies has extolled the many benefits of a high-fat diet—easing gout, dropping fat, improving energy.
Now, a new keto-focused study (in mice) from the University of California, Davis, has also shown that the low-to-no-carb diet can lead to longer life and more strength, along with cognitive enhancements.
In the study, researchers separated mice into three groups and offered them one of three diets: high-carb, low-carb and high-fat, or a ketogenic, in which about 90% of calories came from fat, with the calorie amounts the same. The researchers found that the keto diet increased life span, memory, and motor function, which relates to strength and coordination, along with a lower frequency of tumors.
“The results surprised me a little,” said senior author Jon Ramsey, Ph.D., a research of molecular bioscience at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We expected some differences, but I was impressed by the magnitude we observed—a 13% increase in median life span for the mice on a high-fat vs. high-carb diet. In humans, that would be seven to 10 years. But equally important, those mice retained quality of health in later life.”
Considering the keto diet yourself? Here’s a primer on the science of how your body burns fat, and make sure you try out a few of our favourite keto-friendly recipes. And no, cheat fatty foods don’t count.