The keto diet can help alcoholics who want to quit by relieving alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- In alcoholics, their bodies use less glucose energy and make acetate
- One study found that a keto diet used ketone bodies instead
- This can help manage withdrawal symptoms in humans and rats
- If you only follow a keto diet for three weeks, the person will also drink less
In addition to helping with weight loss, the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, may also alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics, according to a new study.
In alcoholics, their bodies use less glucose energy and develop acetate, which leads to the types of food cravings associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
A team of international scientists found that on a keto diet, the liver produces more ketone bodies from fatty acids that could take the place of an energy source. In this way, acetate can do its job of breaking down alcohol.
The results suggest that individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) who adhere to a keto diet can manage symptoms associated with withdrawal and even lead to an overall reduction in consumption.
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When a person is addicted to alcohol, their body uses less glucose energy and unlocks acetate, which the body makes by metabolizing alcohol. A team of international scientists found that on a keto diet, the liver produces more ketone bodies from fatty acids that could be used in place of an energy source
Scientists and medical specialists have long sought ways to lessen the effects of alcohol withdrawal to help those who depend on it.
And the ketogenic diet has become an increasingly popular topic in this space.
This diet involves consuming high fat but low carbohydrate foods.
The goal is to replace carbohydrates with fat intake, which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
When this happens, the body burns fat at high speed for energy and uses that extra energy to strengthen the brain and immune system.
The results suggest that individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) who adhere to a keto diet can manage symptoms associated with withdrawal and even reduce consumption overall – and this can only take a few weeks
“We hypothesized that shifting energy substrates during withdrawal may contribute to the severity of withdrawal and neurotoxicity in AUD, and that a ketogenic diet (KD) can mitigate these effects,” the study published in Science Advances said.
What is the keto diet and how does it work?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat plan and is pretty similar to the Atkins diet.
Those who are into it need to reduce the amount of calories they consume by a significant amount while eating a lot of fatty foods like fish, meat, and eggs.
Some people on the diet also drink ‘Bulletproof Coffee’ – black coffee with ghee (clarified butter) that prevents you from starving during the day.
The diet works by effectively starving the body for carbohydrates – the main source of stored energy.
When this happens, the body instead burns fat for energy.
It also converts fat into ketones in the liver, which can provide energy for the brain.
Ketogenic diets can lead to massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels and help reverse type 2 diabetes.
“We found that inpatients with AUD who were randomized to receive KD needed fewer benzodiazepines in the first week of detox than patients who were on the American Standard Diet (SA).”
The new study was a collaboration between American scientists and a group from Denmark, as reported for the first time by Medical Xpress.
The hypothesis was first tested on alcohol-addicted rats and then learned to pull a lever on alcohol vapor.
One group got the standard American diet and the other a keto diet.
After the study, the team found that keto rats drank less because they managed to treat withdrawal symptoms better than the other group.
And then the scientists moved on to human issues.
About 23 newly hospitalized alcoholics were asked to follow a keto diet while another 23 ate the standard.
Ketone and acetate levels were measured for each volunteer once a week along with markers of inflammation and drug intake ratings.
And all of the data suggests that the keto diet reduced withdrawal symptoms in the volunteers.
A separate study was conducted in rats who became addicted to alcohol and had learned to pull a lever to obtain an alcohol vapor.
One group was put on a keto diet, just like the human experiments, and the other ate chow regularly.
After a few weeks, rats on the keto diet consumed less alcohol than their counterparts.