Keto fast became the flavour of the month (well… the past year), but now science is set to rock the diet staple off its perch.
According to the latest research from the Gut Medical Journal, a high-fat diet may affect the gut microbiome in a less than favourable way.
With the ketogenic diet working with a 60 to 70 per cent high-fat diet ratio in order to propel the body into ketosis (a process that breaks stored fat into molecules known as ketones to generate energy), the results of this new study are not looking good for keto fans.
While proven by science to be effective for weight loss, in this new study, researchers assigned 217 healthy 18-35 year olds to a low fat (20 per cent), moderate fat (30 per cent) and high fat diet (40 per cent) over six months and found that those on the high-fat diet not only experienced a change in the bacterial communities (microbiome) of their gut but showed increased biomarkers of inflammation.
To look deeper into the negative impact, they conducted a faecal test to look at the diversity of gut microbiota and also measured the blood before and after to determine inflammation levels.
The results found after six months, the high-fat dieters microbiomes had a decrease in the beneficial bacteria said to produce short-chain fatty acids—the molecules responsible for helping regulate inflammation in the body and protect the cells that line the intestines.
In contrast, those who ate a low-fat diet showed an increase in the same beneficial bacteria after six months. Whereas, the high-fat diet group only increased the bacteria levels associated with those who have type 2 diabetes.
Yikes! Even more worryingly, their research determined high fat as 40 per cent, while the ketogenic diet works on a 60-75 per cent fat ratio… so, reading between the lines… you can only wonder what the effect on a keto devotees gut could be.
Following a keto diet currently and unsure whether to be pro high-fat diet or not? While the microbiome research is up to date, according to Harvard University the verdict on its long term effects are yet to be determined. Which means, for now, the best way to give your gut some love according to Harvard? Skip the daily B.L.A.T (Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich) and stick to a wholefood Mediterranean diet high in colourful fruit and veg, lean meats, fish, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, olive oil and good old H20.
After all, you know what they say… happy gut, happy mind!