Alcohol: Fewer withdrawal symptoms on the keto diet

Dr. Karen Zoufal | 04/15/2021

A research team found that when people go on the ketogenic diet, they experience less severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. With this diet, carbohydrates are largely avoided, and high-fat foods are on the menu.

For their study, the researchers asked 23 alcoholics to follow a keto diet and compared them to 23 people who ate as usual during alcohol withdrawal. It was found that the keto diet reduced withdrawal symptoms. In a similar experiment with rats, they found that the animals on the ketogenic diet drank less alcohol than rats on the normal-feed control group. The study is published in the journal Science Advances.

The results confirm the researchers’ theory: Previous research had shown that people who gradually became addicted to alcohol used less glucose for energy. Instead, they metabolize acetate, which the body makes from alcohol. A lack of acetate in the body leads to intense alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. One of the things people make acetate on ketogenic diets, so this type of diet could help people with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Since the researchers have so far only shown this connection on a small scale in a clinic, they are now planning larger studies outside of clinics.

When alcoholics decide to stop drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms that vary in severity depending on the degree of alcohol dependency. Because withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable, most people need help during and after withdrawal to avoid relapsing.

Those: 10.1126 / sciadv.abf6780

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