Why low-carb or fasting diets are good for your health
While most research regarding fat loss focuses on the risks of being overweight, a new study shows that fasting, low-carb diets, or high-intensity exercise have specific health benefits. Specifically, researchers have found that a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.
“These findings are important because endogenous metabolites like BHB that block the NLRP3 inflammasome could be relevant against many inflammatory diseases, including those where there are mutations in the NLRP3 genes,” said Vishwa Deep Dixit, professor in the Section of Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.
BHB is a metabolite produced by the body in response to fasting, high-intensity exercise, caloric restriction, or consumption of the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Previous research has shown that fasting and calorie restriction reduces inflammation in the body, but it was unclear how immune cells adapt to reduced availability of glucose and if they can respond to metabolites produced from fat oxidation.
Working with mice and human immune cells, the team focused on how macrophages—specialized immune cells that produce inflammation—respond when exposed to ketone bodies and whether that impacts the inflammasome complex.
The team introduced BHB to mouse models of inflammatory diseases caused by NLP3. They found that this reduced inflammation, and that inflammation was also reduced when the mice were given a ketogenic diet, which elevates the levels of BHB in the bloodstream.
“Our results suggest that the endogenous metabolites like BHB that are produced during low-carb dieting, fasting, or high-intensity exercise can lower the NLRP3 inflammasome,” said Dixit.
It is unfortunate, but today everything needs a disclaimer, this is no different. Diets should be healthy, fasting short term can be healthy, but very difficult to accomplish for extended periods of time. Low-carb is slightly easier, and frankly exercise would be the easiest — in my opinion of course.
While I am all for health benefits, you should also keep in mind that most people have unrealistic beauty standards thanks to the photoshopped pop culture we live in now. Frankly — and if you want some advice from a random guy on the internet — I say just learn to love yourself as you are and eat healthy. No one will ever look like the celebrities in magazines, hell not even the celebrities themselves look like they do in magazines.
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Coll, R., Robertson, A., Chae, J., Higgins, S., Muñoz-Planillo, R., Inserra, M., Vetter, I., Dungan, L., Monks, B., Stutz, A., Croker, D., Butler, M., Haneklaus, M., Sutton, C., Núñez, G., Latz, E., Kastner, D., Mills, K., Masters, S., Schroder, K., Cooper, M., & O’Neill, L. (2015). A small-molecule inhibitor of the NLRP3 inflammasome for the treatment of inflammatory diseases Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/nm.3806