The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now.
Mostly because it’s great at providing people with boundless energy as well as helping them shred fat from their bodies.
That’s the core benefit everyone’s excited about.
However, it’s certainly not the only reason to try out the ketogenic diet.
Recent research shows the ketogenic diet could be one of the best for our brains. Not only in terms of helping them perform their best now… but extending their performance well into the future.
The ketogenic diet is a novel way to eat because the basic tenet is you eat fat in order to lose fat.
This all comes from the basic biology of fat and how it works to provide energy.
When a person is reliant on blood glucose for energy their body takes various forms of sugar found in the blood to use as its main energy source.
This is how a typical American diet works. Sugars come in in the form of dietary carbohydrates and then the body converts those sugars into energy.
When a person is on a ketogenic diet they’re consuming mainly fat (roughly 70-75% of their dietary calories are made up of fat) and a low amount of carbohydrates (5-10%).
By consuming mainly fat the body switches to relying on blood sugar for energy, and relies on fat instead.
Biologically speaking fat is a superior energy source as it has 225% more energy per gram than carbohydrates.
When fat is used as energy it breaks down into molecules called ketones. And ketones are generally known to be a superior source of brain fuel when compared to glucose.
And because it may help the brain work better, it may also help protect it too.
Recently researchers at the the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, have conducted experiments which they claim indicated the ketogenic diet may help stave off cognitive decline.
Two studies featuring the ketogenic diet, and both of which were performed in mice, showed the ketogenic diet had clear influences on neurovascular function, and were shown to protect sensitive brain tissue too.
Maria Cohut writes:
“The first study, whose results appear in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at the effects of a keto diet on neurovascular function, which includes sensory and motor functions, as well as circulation.
The team worked with two groups of nine mice each, all of which were aged 12-14 weeks. The animals received either a ketogenic diet or a regular diet for 16 weeks.
After this period, the scientists found that the mice that had followed the keto regimen had not only improved blood flow to the brain, but also better bacterial balance in the gut, as well as lower blood glucose (sugar), and lower body weight.
Moreover, and most importantly, the keto diet also seemed to boost the clearance of beta-amyloid protein in the brain — the “building blocks” that, in Alzheimer’s, stick together, forming toxic plaques which interfere with neuronal signaling.”
The researchers are excited about these benefits, but don’t fully understand what about the diet is influencing neuroprotection.