The western diet is increasingly seen as being at the root of many diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and cancer, and thus is suspected to limit life expectancy during the 21st century. It is believed that the diet reduces immunity and is a significant cause of low-grade inflammation not only by causing obesity but also by direct reprogramming of immune cells toward a proinflammatory state. Nutritional interventions may hold promise as a tool to prevent and even to treat disease. Unfortunately, most recommendations on food intake and dietary guidelines yet lack substantiated scientific background Novel nutritional concepts promote a restriction of carbohydrates in favor of fat to combat detrimental low-grade inflammation. However, large observational studies investigating this approach are highly controversial and functional data in humans is scarce. One diet that may be useful in building immunity is the keto diet.
Keto is a popular diet trend, that is short for the ketogenic diet. Critics argue we don’t know enough about its effects for doctors to recommend it. The results were supported in a recent study, although it doesn’t go into the long-term effects of going keto, nonetheless help build out the body of research necessary to come to an informed conclusion about what the diet does to the body.
These are some of the most common foods people eat while on a keto diet — the key features being a diet high in meat and fat, and low in carbs and sugar:
- Green vegetables
As you can see the keto diet a very-low-carbohydrate diet. This study changes the perspective on nutrition as a clinical tool and could help to redefine the role of dietary interventions in modern medicine.
Reducing carbohydrate intake through a ketogenic diet or, in some cases, fasting, may increase the body’s use of ketones instead of glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of stored fatty acids in the absence of blood glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. The researchers behind this study probe the question of whether a ketogenic diet has an effect on human immunity.
Studies that have suggested that ketogenic diets can provide other health benefits. The concurrent increase in certain ketones, may have anti-inflammatory properties, and may even improve memory and reduce mortality. What’s crucial about the study results is that the part of your body’s natural “adaptive” immune system, show signs of increased activity — but the body’s “innate” immune system doesn’t appear to be fundamentally changed by a keto diet.
The “innate” immune system is the tools the body uses to fight infection generally — while the “adaptive immune system” is what the researchers say the keto diet improved.
As with any diet, however, keto isn’t for everyone. It’s always best to consult a medical professional before making changes to your diet.