A new study by Stony University published in journal PNAS finds that brain aging can be prevented or even reversed by taking a low-carb diet. The researchers advise people to replace simple and processed carbs with complex alternatives. The aging linked microbiological changes are also observed in younger people than previously thought.
The researchers conducted neuroimaging scans on nearly 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 88.
They then assessed participants’ brain responses after spending a week following either a standard diet or a low-carb diet, where meals might entail meat or fish with salad or leafy greens, but no grains, rice, sugar, or starchy vegetables like squash, sweetcorn, or parsnips.
By depriving the body of carbs, it’s forced to enter a state of ketosis, primarily burning ketones for energy rather than glucose.
The researchers conducted a follow-up experiment on an independent set of participants who were instructed to consume a glass of glucose one day, and ketones another (both matched for calories and measured to each person’s body weight), and their brains were scanned before and after each.
This was found to reinforce the conclusion that the differences in the brain scans were attributable to energy source.