Can keto help with the aging process? Ketosis is a metabolic state where ketone bodies (acetoacetic acid) replace glucose as primary fuel in the body. Ketones are produced by the liver when blood glucose levels drop below normal. Ketones are then used as an alternative fuel source by cells throughout the body. Ketosis occurs naturally when eating a high fat diet, fasting, or exercising. When we eat a low carb diet, our bodies produce less insulin which causes the liver to convert fats into ketones.
In order to stay in ketosis, you need to consume on average, less than 50 grams of net carbs per day. Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber. Some people may need to limit themselves to no more than 30 grams of total carbohydrates per day to remain in nutritional ketosis and maintain its benefits; while others may be able to consume more. A female on a keto diet should consume 40–50 g of protein per day, while a male should consume 50–60 g of protein daily.
The ketogenic diet was first developed over 100 years ago as a treatment for epilepsy. It involves drastically cutting down on carbohydrate intake while increasing fat consumption. The diet forces the body to burn stored fat instead of sugar for energy, causing ketones to build up in the bloodstream. These ketones are then used as energy by the brain and other organs.
There are many studies showing how the ketogenic diet helps treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy, and cancer. There are even some studies suggesting that the ketogenic diet may help improve heart health. While it may take more research for experts to fully determine how the keto diet affects the aging—or anti-aging—process over the long term, it certainly seems like it might have some incredibly positive effects.
It is believed that the ketogenic diet works by forcing the body to use its own fat stores for fuel, rather than relying on glucose from food. The body being in ketosis cause three specific ketone bodies to be released. Of the three ketones, the most important (and the one which allows us to monitor ketosis levels) is beta-hydroxybutyrate. Research shows that beta-hydroxybutyrate blocks immune system receptors linked to inflammation. Not only does the ketogenic diet reduce inflammation it can also increase energy production.
A ketogenic diet is not recommended for everyone. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, thyroid issues, migraines, seizures, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet plan.