A study carried out at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has shed new light on the effect of a high-fat diet on life expectancy.
The study, published in the September issue of Cell Metabolism, found that a high-fat (or ketogenic diet) not only increases longevity but also improves physical strength.
The test subjects – mice – were split into three groups: a regular rodent high-carb diet, a low carb/high-fat diet, and a ketogenic diet (89-90 percent of total calorie intake).
From the findings, the ketogenic diet was said to have significantly increased the median life span of mice, increased memory and motor function and also prevented an increase in age-related markers of inflammation.
It also had an impact on the incidence of tumours.
Jon Ramsey, nutritionist and senior author of the paper, said the results “surprised me a little”.
He said: “We expected some differences, but I was impressed by the magnitude we observed — a 13 percent increase in median life span for the mice on a high fat vs high carb diet. In humans, that would be seven to 10 years. But equally important, those mice retained quality of health in later life.
“In this case, many of the things we’re looking at aren’t much different from humans. At a fundamental level, humans follow similar changes and experience a decrease in overall function of organs during aging. This study indicates that a ketogenic diet can have a major impact on life and health span without major weight loss or restriction of intake.”
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