Mouse with a Peanut

The Miraculous Keto Diet – For Lab Mice

Daily Mail Gwennie Keto HeadlineSprinkled through the the health news this week, the miraculous keto diet was offering up some wonderful benefits. A longer life, greater strength, and better memory can all be yours – if you’re a lab mouse. Cell Metabolism published two studies in mice and unleashed a torrent of frothy health reporting.

Arcane Nutrition Science Meets Pop Health

These are actually interesting studies for understanding the metabolic effects of a ketogenic diet. They provide useful insights for nutrition researchers. They might lead to useful for insight into medical nutrition therapy in some very specific diseases – like epilepsy or brain cancer. Insights for other diseases might come from this research.

But for regular people, they’re meaningless.

First of all, such a diet is difficult to follow. One must severely restrict carbs. That means eating practically no bread or anything from grains. Most fruit is out. Very few vegetables are possible. Beans? Nope. Milk and yogurt? Forget it. Foods are so restricted on such a diet that vitamin, mineral, and fiber supplements are essential.

Second, long-term studies in humans are non-existent. It’s tough to study an eating pattern that most people can’t follow. So we have no data in humans for more than two years.

Healthy Humans Rely on Healthy Carbs

Highly refined carbs – sugar, white flour – are dietary bad guys these days. But healthy carbs from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are the main sources of energy for healthy people. Limiting refined carbs in your diet is probably smart. Cutting out the healthy carbs? Not so smart.

So, you can safely ignore the keto diet hype that might come your way from Gwyneth Paltrow and her pals.

Click here and here for the studies that sparked the frenzy this week. Click here for further perspective.

Mouse with a Peanut, painting by Albert Anker / WikiArt

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


 

September 10, 2017

3 Responses to “The Miraculous Keto Diet – For Lab Mice”

  1. September 10, 2017 at 7:08 am, Al Lewis said:

    Thus confirming my mantra that any sentence containing the word “diet” following the word “miraculous” is automatically wrong…

  2. September 10, 2017 at 7:31 am, Ted said:

    Bingo!

  3. September 10, 2017 at 10:01 am, David Brown said:

    Good article by Megan Molten.

    In humans, a Keto diet is basically an appetite control approach that makes it possible for people to lose weight and keep it off without discomfort. The big problem these days is an abundance of poor quality foods that fill the belly but don’t satisfy the appetite. In truth, not everyone overeats due to appetite issues. Some people just love to eat and overeat simply because they can. Others overeat but don’t get fat because they can’t. Excerpt from a New York Times article about primate obesity research.

    The monkey’s daily diet consists of dried chow pellets, with about one-third of the calories coming from fat, similar to a typical American diet, Dr. Grove said, though the diet also contains adequate protein and nutrients. They can eat as many pellets as they want. They also snack daily on a 300-calorie chunk of peanut butter, and are sometimes treated to popcorn or peanuts…They also drink a fruit-flavored punch with the fructose equivalent of about a can of soda a day. In all, they might consume about twice as many calories as a normal-weight monkey. Dr. Grove and researchers at some other centers say the high-fructose corn syrup appears to accelerate the development of obesity and diabetes. “It wasn’t until we added those carbs that we got all those other changes, including those changes in body fat,” said Anthony G. Comuzzie, who helped create an obese baboon colony at the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio. Still, about 40 percent do not put on a lot of weight. Barbara C. Hansen of the University of South Florida said calories, but not high fat, were important. “To suggest that humans and monkeys get fat because of a high-fat diet is not a good suggestion,” she said. Dr. Hansen, who has been doing research on obese monkeys for four decades, prefers animals that become naturally obese with age, just as many humans do. Fat Albert, one of her monkeys who she said was at one time the world’s heaviest rhesus, at 70 pounds, ate “nothing but an American Heart Association-recommended diet,” she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/health/20monkey.html

    For fifty years the accepted method for losing weight involved restricting fat intake in general and saturated fat intake in particular. That approach doesn’t work well for most people. Hence, the popularity of the Keto diet.