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Concept: Ketogenic diet

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We investigated the effects of adaptation to a ketogenic low-carbohydrate (CHO), high-fat diet (LCHF) during 3 wk of intensified training on metabolism and performance of world-class endurance athletes. We controlled three isoenergetic diets in elite race walkers: High CHO availability (8.6 g.kg(-) 1.d(-1) CHO, 2.1 g.kg(-) 1.d(-1) protein; 1.2 g.kg(-) 1.d(-1) fat) consumed before/during/after training (HCHO, n = 9): identical macronutrient intake, periodised within/between days to alternate between low and high CHO availability (PCHO, n = 10); LCHF (<50 g.d(-1) CHO; 78% energy as fat; 2.1 g.kg(-) 1.d(-1) protein; LCHF, n = 10). Post-intervention, VO2 peak during race walking increased in all groups (P < 0.001, 90%CI: [2.55 - 5.20%]). LCHF was associated with markedly increased rates of whole-body fat oxidation, attaining peak rates of 1.57 ± 0.32 g.min(-1) during 2 h of walking at ∼80%VO2 peak. However, LCHF also increased the oxygen (O2 ) cost of race walking at velocities relevant to real-life race performance: O2 uptake (expressed as % of new VO2peak ) at a speed approximating 20 km race pace was reduced in HCHO and PCHO (90%CI:[-7.047;-2.55] and [-5.18;-0.86], respectively, but was maintained at pre-intervention levels in LCHF. HCHO and PCHO groups improved times for 10 km race walk: 6.6% (90% CI: [4.1; 9.1%]) and 5.3% [3.4; 7.2%], with no improvement (-1.6% [-8.5; 5.3%] for the LCHF group. In contrast to training with diets providing chronic or periodised high-CHO availability, and despite a significant improvement in VO2peak , adaptation to the topical LCHF diet negated performance benefits in elite endurance athletes, in part, due to reduced exercise economy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Carbohydrate, Walking, Ketogenic diet, Low-carbohydrate diet, Ketosis, Racewalking

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Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent, chronic disease for which diet is an integral aspect of treatment. In our previous trial, we found that recommendations to follow a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and to change lifestyle factors (physical activity, sleep, positive affect, mindfulness) helped overweight people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes improve glycemic control and lose weight. This was an in-person intervention, which could be a barrier for people without the time, flexibility, transportation, social support, and/or financial resources to attend.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Nutrition, Obesity, Randomized controlled trial, Diabetes, Dieting, Ketogenic diet

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Very-low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets have been in use since the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy and can, in some cases, completely remove the need for medication. From the 1960s onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors. The possibility that modifying food intake can be useful for reducing or eliminating pharmaceutical methods of treatment, which are often lifelong with significant side effects, calls for serious investigation. This review revisits the meaning of physiological ketosis in the light of this evidence and considers possible mechanisms for the therapeutic actions of the ketogenic diet on different diseases. The present review also questions whether there are still some preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets, which may be presenting unnecessary barriers to their use as therapeutic tools in the physician’s hand.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 26 June 2013; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.116.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Disease, Nutrition, The Canon of Medicine, Obesity, Dieting, Ketogenic diet

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Low-carbohydrate, high-fat and ketogenic diets are increasingly adopted by athletes for body composition and sports performance enhancements. However, as yet, there is no consensus on their efficacy in improving performance. There is also no comprehensive literature on athletes' experiences while undertaking this diet. The purpose of this pilot work was two-fold: i. to examine the effects of a non-calorie controlled ketogenic diet on body composition and performance outcomes of endurance athletes, and ii. to evaluate the athletes' experiences of the ketogenic diet during the 10-week intervention.

Concepts: Effectiveness, Case study, New Zealand, Ketogenic diet, Diets, Comprehensive examination, Low-carbohydrate diet, Ketosis

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We have previously shown that the consumption of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD) by mice leads to a distinct physiologic state associated with weight loss, increased metabolic rate, and improved insulin sensitivity [1]. Furthermore, we identified fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) as a necessary mediator of the changes, as mice lacking FGF21 fed KD gain rather than lose weight [2]. FGF21 activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) [3], which is a key regulator of metabolic rate. Thus, we considered that the SNS may play a role in mediating the metabolic adaption to ketosis.

Concepts: Protein, Nutrition, Hormone, Obesity, Fibroblast growth factor, Parasympathetic nervous system, Ketogenic diet, Ketosis

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Nutritional imbalance underlies many disease processes but can be very beneficial in certain cases; for instance, the antiepileptic action of a high fat and low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. Besides this therapeutic feature it is not clear how this abundant fat supply may affect homeostasis, leading to side effects. A ketogenic diet is used as anti-seizure therapy i.a. in tuberous sclerosis patients, but its impact on concomitant tumor growth is not known. To examine this we have evaluated the growth of renal lesions in Eker rats (Tsc2+/-) subjected to a ketogenic diet for 4, 6 and 8 months. In spite of existing opinions about the anticancer actions of a ketogenic diet, we have shown that this anti-seizure therapy, especially in its long term usage, leads to excessive tumor growth. Prolonged feeding of a ketogenic diet promotes the growth of renal tumors by recruiting ERK1/2 and mTOR which are associated with the accumulation of oleic acid and the overproduction of growth hormone. Simultaneously, we observed that Nrf2, p53 and 8-oxoguanine glycosylase α dependent antitumor mechanisms were launched by the ketogenic diet. However, the pro-cancerous mechanisms finally took the ascendency by boosting tumor growth.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Oncology, Metabolism, Nutrition, Growth hormone, Term, Ketogenic diet

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Although short (up to 3 days) exposure to major shifts in macronutrient intake appears to alter acid-base status, the effects of sustained (>1 week) interventions in elite athletes has not been determined. Using a non-randomized, parallel design, we examined the effect of adaptations to 21 days of a ketogenic low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) or periodized carbohydrate (PCHO) diet on pre- and post-exercise blood pH, and concentrations of bicarbonate (HCO₃-) and lactate (La-) in comparison to a high carbohydrate (HCHO) control. Twenty-four (17 male and 7 female) elite-level race walkers completed 21 days of either LCHF (n = 9), PCHO (n = 7), or HCHO (n = 8) under controlled diet and training conditions. At baseline and post-intervention, blood pH, blood [HCO₃-], and blood [La-] were measured before and after a graded exercise test. Net endogenous acid production (NEAP) over the previous 48-72 h was also calculated from monitored dietary intake. LCHF was not associated with significant differences in blood pH, [HCO₃-], or [La-], compared with the HCHO diet pre- or post-exercise, despite a significantly higher NEAP (mEq·day-1) (95% CI = [10.44; 36.04]). Our results indicate that chronic dietary interventions are unlikely to influence acid-base status in elite athletes, which may be due to pre-existing training adaptations, such as an enhanced buffering capacity, or the actions of respiratory and renal pathways, which have a greater influence on regulation of acid-base status than nutritional intake.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Nutrition, Blood, Fat, Diet, Buffer solution, Ketogenic diet

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Calorie restriction, without malnutrition, has been shown to increase lifespan and is associated with a shift away from glycolysis toward beta-oxidation. The objective of this study was to mimic this metabolic shift using low-carbohydrate diets and to determine the influence of these diets on longevity and healthspan in mice. C57BL/6 mice were assigned to a ketogenic, low-carbohydrate, or control diet at 12 months of age and were either allowed to live their natural lifespan or tested for physiological function after 1 or 14 months of dietary intervention. The ketogenic diet (KD) significantly increased median lifespan and survival compared to controls. In aged mice, only those consuming a KD displayed preservation of physiological function. The KD increased protein acetylation levels and regulated mTORC1 signaling in a tissue-dependent manner. This study demonstrates that a KD extends longevity and healthspan in mice.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Nutrition, Death, Obesity, Ketogenic diet, Diets, Low-carbohydrate diet

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The medium chain triglyceride ketogenic diet is an established treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy that increases plasma levels of decanoic acid and ketones. Recently, decanoic acid has been shown to provide seizure control in vivo, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we show that decanoic acid, but not the ketones β-hydroxybutryate or acetone, shows antiseizure activity in two acute ex vivo rat hippocampal slice models of epileptiform activity. To search for a mechanism of decanoic acid, we show it has a strong inhibitory effect on excitatory, but not inhibitory, neurotransmission in hippocampal slices. Using heterologous expression of excitatory ionotropic glutamate receptor AMPA subunits in Xenopus oocytes, we show that this effect is through direct AMPA receptor inhibition, a target shared by a recently introduced epilepsy treatment perampanel. Decanoic acid acts as a non-competitive antagonist at therapeutically relevant concentrations, in a voltage- and subunit-dependent manner, and this is sufficient to explain its antiseizure effects. This inhibitory effect is likely to be caused by binding to sites on the M3 helix of the AMPA-GluA2 transmembrane domain; independent from the binding site of perampanel. Together our results indicate that the direct inhibition of excitatory neurotransmission by decanoic acid in the brain contributes to the anti-convulsant effect of the medium chain triglyceride ketogenic diet.

Concepts: Protein, Neurology, Epilepsy, NMDA receptor, Anticonvulsant, Ligand-gated ion channel, Ketogenic diet, AMPA receptor

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Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets (ketogenic diets) might prevent tumor progression and could be used as supportive therapy; however, few studies have addressed the effect of such diets on colorectal cancer. An infant formula with a ketogenic composition (ketogenic formula; KF) is used to treat patients with refractory epilepsy. We investigated the effect of KF on cancer and cancer cachexia in colon tumor-bearing mice. Mice were randomized into normal (NR), tumor-bearing (TB), and ketogenic formula (KF) groups. Colon 26 cells were inoculated subcutaneously into TB and KF mice. The NR and TB groups received a standard diet, and the KF mice received KFad libitum. KF mice preserved their body, muscle, and carcass weights. Tumor weight and plasma IL-6 levels were significantly lower in KF mice than in TB mice. In the KF group, energy intake was significantly higher than that in the other two groups. Blood ketone body concentrations in KF mice were significantly elevated, and there was a significant negative correlation between blood ketone body concentration and tumor weight. Therefore, KF may suppress the progression of cancer and the accompanying systemic inflammation without adverse effects on weight gain, or muscle mass, which might help to prevent cancer cachexia.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Oncology, Metabolism, Colorectal cancer, Muscle atrophy, Ketone bodies, Ketogenic diet