Study in mice: The keto diet could be a weapon against flu


Foods allowed on the keto diet include vegetables, oils, meats, and some berries.
David Harper / BioDiet

  • The keto diet is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.
  • There are very few substantiated studies on the effects of the keto diet on humans. One reason is that it is so difficult to keep.
  • A new study conducted on mice suggests that the keto diet changes the way immune cells in the lungs function. This may increase the body’s immune defenses against influenza. However, more research is needed to find out if the same is true in humans.
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The Keto Diet is a trendy, but also demanding nutritional trend, in which carbohydrates are almost completely avoided and instead high-fat foods such as oils, avocados, cream and bacon are used.

People choose keto for a variety of reasons. For example, the diet can help reduce difficult-to-treat epileptic seizures in children. It is also a promising treatment for Type 2 diabetes in adults.

The keto diet as a flu fight

Now there could be another potential benefit: flu-fighting ability.

A new study on the keto diet was published on Friday by Yale University scientists released. The experiment, conducted on mice, showed that rodents fed a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet for a week before being exposed to influenza viruses were more likely to survive than mice fed a normal laboratory diet.

Keto mice may be slightly better fighters against the flu because the immune cells in their lungs respond to fat-processing.

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Maus
Wikipedia / Rasbak

In the study, the scientists found that specific immune cells that help produce mucus in the inner walls of the lungs are supported by a keto diet. Better mucus production means better chances of stopping the flu virus.

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The mice on the keto diet also maintain their weight better when they have the flu, increasing their chances of survival. This does not apply to mice that received carbohydrates in addition to a high-fat diet. Also, the administration of ketone bodies has not resulted in the same benefits as the keto diet. The study therefore suggests that there may be a beneficial side effect in the body during ketogenesis, the fat-burning metabolic state caused by following a keto diet.

When a human (or mouse) enters the metabolic state of ketosis, the liver naturally produces ketone bodies, which in the absence of carbohydrates create the energy needed for the body.

ALSO READ: A cancer researcher has followed a popular diet for 6 years that has changed his life

The authors caution that more studies need to be done to determine whether a keto diet can effectively help humans fight the flu. The researchers also note that the effects are not particularly pronounced. Seven out of 25 mice not on the keto diet and 10 out of 33 mice on the keto diet survived the flu (mice are generally not good at fighting flu viruses).

Keto changes the way the body works and may be a promising diabetes treatment

Some people (like the TV stars Kardashians, basketball pro LeBron James, and many Silicon Valley techies) love the keto diet and report that it makes them feel more energetic and less hungry.

However, some doctors dismiss the strict keto diet, making it clear that we don’t know much about its long-term health effects. In contrast, diet plans the “good” carbohydrates such as those found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are best studied for long-term health benefits.

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Alcohol: Fewer withdrawal symptoms on the keto diet

Regardless of the benefits, most people agree that the keto diet is difficult to follow in our carb-heavy world.

Keto diets are mysteriously changing the way our bodies work

The keto diet changes the way the body works, triggering the same fat-burning state that starvation creates.

Keto is also changing the way our bodies…

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