An impressive body of scientific evidence over the last 15 years documents long term benefits of carbohydrate-restricted, especially ketogenic, diets. We now understand molecular mechanisms and why they work. Popular books and articles now challenge the advice ‘carbohydrates are good and fats are bad.’ Circa mid-19th century urinary ketones were identified in diabetics sealing their toxic label for the next 150 years.
Despite work four decades ago showing ketones were highly functional metabolites, they are still misidentified as toxic byproducts of fat metabolism. The vilification of fat by regulatory and popular dogma perpetuates this myth. But the nutrition-metabolic landscape is improving dramatically. A growing number of researchers have contributed to what is now a critical mass of science that provides compelling clinical evidence that ketogenic diets uniquely benefit weight loss, pre-diabetes, and type-2 diabetes. In the last five years, basic scientists have discovered that b-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the primary circulating ketone, is a potent signaling molecule that decreases inflammation and oxidative stress.
BHB has been suggested to be a longevity metabolite, with strong support from recently published mouse studies showing decreased midlife mortality and extended longevity and healthspan. Although type-2 diabetes is often described as a chronic progressive disease, emerging evidence indicates that sustained nutritional ketosis can reverses the disease.
There is growing interest in studying potential therapeutic effects of ketosis on cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
There are even reasons certain athletes may benefit from nutritional ketosis and ketone supplements ─ debunking the long-standing dogma that high carbohydrate intake is required to perform optimally.