Ketogenic Diet

Also known as: low-carb diet, ketogenesis.

What is a ketogenic diet?

A Ketogenic Diet (KD) is a high fat and very low in carbohydrate diet that can be used as a medical treatment for epilepsy. It gets its name because it tricks the body into thinking food and caloric intake is low, which in turn causes the liver to make ketones to use as energy. It’s shown effectiveness in controlling many kinds of epilepsy in patients of all ages and for weight loss in adult individuals.

What happens during the treatment?

Initiation of KD should be recommended by a healthcare professional. It also requires medical supervision to ensure safety and to prevent and address potential side effects caused by this diet. It involves eating a diet that’s high in fat, low in carbohydrate and moderate in protein content.  Over time, adherence to a strict ketogenic diet leads to increased ketone production (known as ketosis) and significant improvement in seizure frequency and duration, and in some cases, weight loss in overweight adults.

Is any special preparation needed?

A ketogenic diet may be recommended for individuals who have refractory epilepsy. . Assessment by a health care provider is recommended before beginning a ketogenic diet. It is important to obtain detailed medical and dietary history, as well as baseline laboratories.

What are the risk factors?

Fatigue, bad breath, hunger, nausea, vomiting, constipation, low blood glucose, elevation in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, formation of kidney stones, micronutrient deficiencies, slower growth velocity (in pediatric patients), etc., are potential side effects of a ketogenic diet in the short and medium term.


Reviewed by: Cristina Visona, MS, RDNN, CSP, LDN

This page was last updated on: 6/15/2018 3:15:31 PM

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