Can a High Fat Diet Help You Live Longer?

Can a High Fat Diet Help You Live Longer?
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Eating an abundance of avocado, wild salmon, and coconut butter is not only downright delicious, it’s also amazing for your health.

Along with giving skin a radiant glow (just ask Halle Berry), a high fat diet may even add some extra healthy years to your life, according to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine researchers found that a high fat diet (or ketogenic diet) not only increased longevity in mice, but improves physical strength, too.

Researchers in the study split mice into three groups with differing diets: a regular high carbohydrate diet, a low carbohydrate and high fat diet, and a ketogenic diet where 89-90 percent of total calorie intake were from fat.

The results found that the ketogenic diet not only significantly increased the median life span of the mice; it increased strength and coordination through improved memory and motor function, and prevented an increase in age-related signs of inflammation.

Jon Ramsey, senior author of the paper in Cell Metabolism notes, “The results surprised me a little.”

“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 versus high carb diet,” Ramsey says. “In humans, that would be seven to 10 years. But equally important, those mice retained quality of health in later life.”

The ketogenic diet drastically cuts carbohydrate intake and instead focuses on high fat and moderate protein consumption. At a biological level, after carbohydrate restriction for a few days, the body runs out of carbohydrates (or glucose) to use for energy. When this happens, the body switches over to using fat, in the form of ketones, for energy production. The ketogenic diet has been used for the treatment of epilepsy in children, weight loss, and reducing symptoms of type-II diabetes, among others.

Those who follow a ketogenic high fat diet eat very little carbs (5 percent of daily intake), moderate protein (20 percent), and very high fat (75 percent of daily calorie intake).

Basically, it’s grounds to put avocado on everything.

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Kate Gavlick
Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master's of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she's not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer's markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.