While neurologists have known that a high-fat and very low-carb diet, known as a ketogenic diet, reduces seizures in epileptic patients who are resistant to medical therapy, the “why” to it all has always been a mystery.
But today, some scientists say they may have found the answer. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School said seizures might be linked to a protein that changes metabolism in the brain, which is why patients respond so well to the ketogenic diet...
The ketogenic diet mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. The diet produces ketones in the body, organic compounds that form when the body uses fat, instead of glucose, as a source of energy. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures.But then, the diet is relatively easy. Why make a drug that simulates the diet?
The study, published in the journal Neuron and conducted in genetically-altered mice, found that the effect of the ketogenic diet on epilepsy can be mimicked using a much more specific and non-dietary approach by manipulating a particular protein in mice, said Gary Yellen, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study.
More (bad) diet news; Why exercise doesn't actually help most of us lose weight:
At least four clinical trials have demonstrated that exercise tends to suppress resting metabolic rate. In all four studies overweight participants who engaged in 300-600 calories worth of daily exercise experienced a significant drop in resting metabolism. According to Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, “Although genetically lean people as a group may respond differently, when overweight humans do more than one hour of endurance exercise daily, resting metabolism on average declines between 5% and 15%.”There you are; work harder, lay around harder. That's not to say that exercise doesn't have other benefits, but simply exercising more may not cause the excess lbs to drop off.
And more work on the low carb diet: Not all calories are equal
On the very low-carbohydrate diet, Dr. Ludwig’s subjects expended 300 more calories a day than they did on the low-fat diet and 150 calories more than on the low-glycemic-index diet. As Dr. Ludwig explained, when the subjects were eating low-fat diets, they’d have to add an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity each day to expend as much energy as they would effortlessly on the very-low-carb diet. And this while consuming the same amount of calories. If the physical activity made them hungrier — a likely assumption — maintaining weight on the low-fat, high-carb diet would be even harder. Why does this speak to the very cause of obesity? One way to think about this is to consider weight-reduced subjects as “pre-obese.” They’re almost assuredly going to get fatter, and so they can be research stand-ins — perhaps the best we have — for those of us who are merely predisposed to get fat but haven’t done so yet and might take a few years or decades longer to do it.So there you have it; instead of exercising, have a steak, and skip the fries...