Friday, May 20, 2016

How Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets Boost Brain Health

Woman in Red With Apple On Her Head
Low-carb and ketogenic diets have many health benefits.

For example, it is well known that they can cause weight loss and help fight diabetes.

However, they are also beneficial for certain brain disorders.

This article explores how low-carb and ketogenic diets affect the brain. 

What Are Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets?

Although there is a lot of overlap between low-carb and ketogenic diets, there are also a few important differences.

Ketogenic diet:

  • Carbs are limited to 50 grams or less per day.
  • Protein is often restricted.
  • A major goal is to increase blood levels of ketones, molecules that can partly replace carbs as an energy source for the brain.

Low-carb diet:

  • Carbs can vary from 25–150 grams per day.
  • Protein is usually not restricted.
  • Ketones may or may not rise to high levels in the blood.
On a ketogenic diet, the brain is mainly fueled by ketones. These are produced in the liver when carb intake is very low.

On a standard low-carb diet, the brain will still be largely dependent on glucose, although it may burn more ketones than on a regular diet.

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