Keto Diet May Accelerate Organ Ageing

by Ella

Recent research suggests that the ketogenic diet, popular for its weight loss and blood sugar control benefits, may have unintended consequences. A study on mice indicates that the diet might accelerate organ ageing, potentially increasing the risk of conditions such as heart disease and cancer. While the keto diet has gained widespread popularity, its long-term health effects remain a topic of debate and concern.

The Study

Research Methodology


David Gius and his team at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conducted a study to investigate the effects of the ketogenic diet on organ ageing. They fed six mice a ketogenic diet for three weeks, where over 90 percent of their caloric intake came from fat, with less than 1 percent from carbohydrates. For comparison, a control group of mice was fed a standard diet with 17 percent of calories from fat and 58 percent from carbohydrates.


Key Findings


The researchers analyzed tissue samples from the heart, kidney, liver, and brain of the mice, focusing on the presence of senescent cells. Senescence occurs when cells are too damaged to function properly but do not die. Instead, they enter a zombie-like state, lingering in tissues and releasing toxins that cause inflammation.


The study found that mice on the ketogenic diet had significantly more senescent cells in their organs compared to those on a standard diet. For instance, the kidneys of mice on the keto diet had four times the amount of a cellular senescence marker than those from the control group.


Accelerated Organ Ageing

Senescent cells naturally increase with age, and their accumulation is associated with various age-related diseases. The findings of this study suggest that the ketogenic diet may accelerate the ageing process in organs, raising the risk of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.


Interestingly, the study also found that switching mice back to a standard diet reduced the number of senescent cells. This indicates that the potential negative effects of the ketogenic diet on organ ageing might be reversible, at least in mice.

Expert Opinions

David Gius emphasizes that while the ketogenic diet can have benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. “Our paper really says we need to study this more rigorously,” he states, suggesting that people on the keto diet should consider taking breaks from it.

Russell Jones from the Van Andel Institute in Michigan points out that the extreme nature of the diet used in the study—90 percent of calories from fat—would be difficult for humans to adhere to. He highlights the need for more research to understand how these findings translate to people.


The study conducted by David Gius and his colleagues provides valuable insights into the potential risks of the ketogenic diet, particularly concerning organ ageing. While the diet remains popular for its benefits in weight loss and blood sugar management, these findings underscore the need for caution and further research. As with any dietary regimen, it is crucial to consider individual health needs and consult with healthcare professionals to ensure balanced and safe nutrition practices.



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