Scientists and medical specialist are constantly executing trials for new methods of reducing the effects of withdrawal from alcohol and increasing successful recoveries. One of the latest research topics is the following of a ketogenic diet during alcohol detox. The goal of the trial is to see if a ketogenic diet can lessen the effect of withdrawal on people who suffer from alcohol addiction.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet sometimes referred to as “keto”, is a low carb, high-fat diet. The goal is to replace carbohydrates with a fat intake which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When this occurs, the body burns fat for energy at high rates and uses this extra energy to fuel the brain and immune system.
Ketogenic diets cause extreme reactions in both sugar and insulin levels, increasing ketones, and shifting the body’s process of metabolizing. Keto diets are similar to fad diets like the Atkins but focus on getting energy from whole and natural foods instead of chemically modified food supplementation.
There are several versions of a ketogenic diet, some more extreme than others, but all with the same goal of utilizing fat for energy. Some versions include:
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs
.Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Clinical Trial for Keto in Alcohol Withdrawal
The study for the effects on the ketogenic diet for alcohol withdrawal came from observations in animals who followed the diet and suffered fewer tremors and ill like behavior while withdrawing.
Since alcohol intoxication leads to a reduction in brain glucose, researchers believed in the potential for a keto diet to limit the reduction by following a specific high fat diet.
The three-week study will involve two sets of participants, half of whom will follow a standard American diet while the others follow the Keto. While following the designated diets, each participant will receive breathalyzers, blood tests, urine tests, MRI tests, psychological evaluation, and cognitive exams on memory, thinking, and attention. Follow-ups will be performed for 3 months post-trial 5 times.
Although no results have been posted, the focus of the observations will be to assess the ketogenic diet on withdrawal ratings, brain function and structure, and overall performance.Researchers will also assess if ketogenic diets may improve sleep, mood, and cravings.
There is no way to know until the experiment is completed and analyzed, but the health benefits of a ketogenic diet speak for themselves. It’s known mainstream for its ability to aid weight loss while never feeling unsatisfied. It’s strict in what you can and cannot eat but has wiggle room for how much and how often one can consume high-fat foods.
Keto diets have been shown already in clinical trials to fight cancer or at least aid in the process alongside medical assistance. Multiple trials have shown the diet to halt the progression of cancer, and aid in the repair of key organs like the kidney, liver, and colon (which are all damaged by alcohol abuse).
The keto diet is also successful in managing blood sugar, which is difficult for alcoholics due to the high level of sugar in most alcohols. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition claimed the results on diabetes patients were “nothing short of miraculous”.
On top of these findings, brain function has shown to improve immensely. While none of these trials are related to alcohol use directly, the results speak to many of the issues that come with alcohol abuse, so the promise of similar positive results are high. There is no set date for the trial to end or post results as of now.
The trial is still on the hunt for participants, and if you want to join just contact the National Library of Medicine to get a referral. You don’t, however, need to join the trial to see if the Keto diet could benefit you. There are endless amounts of resources, groups, programs, and readings that can help you get started if you want to try this type of diet.
At Wayside, we understand the importance of nutrition for optimal health and addiction recovery. Our trained staff can work with you to find the right nutrition plan to aid in your recovery and set you up for a successful journey to sobriety.
Changing your diet drastically should always be done under the supervision of a specialist. Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous and when not done properly can result in serious medical conditions. If you or a loved one is considering withdrawing from alcohol, call Wayside today to find out about our programs and holistic approaches including nutritional therapy. Recovery is possible with Wayside.