The ketogenic diet reduces seizure frequency by more than 50% in half of the patients who try it and by more than 90% in a third of patients. Three-quarters of children who respond do so within two weeks, though experts recommend a trial of at least three months before assuming it has been ineffective. Children with refractory epilepsy are more likely to benefit from the ketogenic diet than from trying another anticonvulsant drug. There is some evidence that adolescents and adults may also benefit from the diet.
Full disclosure: I have followed a low-carb diet for nearly a decade and find no problem adhering to it. I’ve lost weight and all my cardiovascular biomarkers have improved. Moreover, I’ve studied the science and history behind low-carbohydrate diets, so beyond my personal experience, I bring an evidence-based perspective. (Previously, for 25+ years, I adhered faithfully to a “mostly plants” regimen of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, including my own homemade 7-grain bread, while exercising religiously. Yet during that time my blood lipids were unhealthy, and I never could shake an extra 10-20 pounds.)
There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.
Forget old low-carb diet plans that focused on processed protein bars and shakes. This year, the keto diet got high marks for low carb. Keto, short for "ketogenic," is all about training the body to burn fat for fuel. How? By eating fat—and lots of it. Most keto diets recommend getting at least 70 percent of your daily calories from fat and the rest from protein. The goal is to eat as few carbohydrates as possible. Proponents say it helps them drop weight fast with little or no hunger in addition to perks like more energy and mental clarity. (Interested? Here's everything you need to know about the keto diet.)
Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, assigned 322 moderately obese adults to one of three diets: calorie-restricted low-fat; calorie-restricted Mediterranean; and non-calorie-restricted low-carb. After two years, the Mediterranean group had lost an average of 9 7/10 pounds; the low-fat group, 6 4/10 pounds; and the low-carb group, 10 3/10 pounds. Although weight loss didn't differ greatly between the low-carb and Mediterranean groups, both lost appreciably more than the low-fat group did.
Ketogenic diet (“keto” diet for short) is a catch-all term for any diet that pushes your body into the natural metabolic state of ketosis, which means burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Though there’s no set formula for keto, generally, the diet works by cutting back on carbohydrates, to about 20 g of net carbs to start, and replacing those with mostly fat and a moderate amount of protein, according to the popular website Keto Connect. Net carbs are the total number of carbs minus the fiber and sugar alcohols, according to the Atkins website. (More on this diet later.)
Meat products make up a big part of the keto diet, but experts stress the importance of choosing quality. "Since the keto diet is based a lot on animal proteins, it's important to buy organic poultry and grass-fed, organic beef," says Aimee Aristotelous, RD. "Not only do organic selections help with limiting environmental toxins, but grass-fed options of red meats even change the composition of fats." The result, she explains, is that your body is able to better absorb those healthy fats.
Here are a few of the most common side effects that I come across when people first start keto. Frequently the issues relate to dehydration or lack of micronutrients (vitamins) in the body. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water (close to a gallon a day) and eating foods with good sources of micronutrients. To read more on micronutrients, click here >
In 2008, researchers conducted a 24-week study to determine the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. At the end of the study, participants who followed the ketogenic diet saw greater improvements in glycemic control and medication reduction compared to those who followed a low-glycemic diet. A study from 2017 found the ketogenic diet outperformed a conventional, low-fat diabetes diet over 32 weeks in regards to weight loss and A1c. A 2013 review reports again that a ketogenic diet can lead to more significant improvements in blood sugar control, A1c, weight loss, and discontinued insulin requirements than other diets.
I was diagnosed in 2004 with Brittle Type 1 diabetes, peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, and Hypothyroidism. A short time later with Gastroparesis due to the nerve damage from diabetes. Since then, I had followed every guideline and rule that the Endocrinologist and Primary Care Doctors had told me to follow. NOTHING WAS GETTING BETTER. In fact, I was gradually getting worse. So many ups and downs. Extreme highs (250-500 bgl ) to seizures from crashes (drop from 300 to 13 in no time). It was a constant battle with adjustments in insulin intake (and different insulins NPH, R, Novolog, Humalog, Lantus), carb intake, exercise and one contributing factor was the Gastroparesis. Meds were taken for the Gastroparesis but I always had side effects from meds. To my point. I was kicking a dead horse and I told them this. My sister and mom had come across the ketogenic way of eating and it dramatically improved thier lives. Mom was diagnosed way back with Type 2 and within a week or two she was off of her meds completely. I was totally interested. So, I decided to go for it on April 17, 2017. I did go through some rough patches of what they call Keto Flu. It did pass after a couple weeks. I was gaining so much energy like never before as well as mental focus. The even greater aspect of this all was, I had DRAMATICALLY LOWERED MY INSULIN INTAKE TO ALMOST NONE! My Lantus was always being adjusted from 30-40 units daily (and changed from AM to PM to splitting it to half AM, other half PM). I was on a sliding scale of Humalog or Novolog. From 4-6 units per meal and then there were the corrections throughout my day (some daily totals could be up to 40 UNITS)! Very exciting for me to only take 2 units of Lantus in the AM and daily totals of Humalog/Novolog….1.5-3 units! Other great things I began to notice, neuropathy pains were fading and finally GONE. No more nights up stinging, burning and RLS (restless leg syndrome). So, in my life, there are no questions or hardships on whether I can get off of this way of eating. It’s either do or die. If someone truly wants to have a better life, they can. The sad thing is, doctors and nutritionists aren’t being educated in the real facts. My primary care doctor isn’t willing to help me with all the labs I need nor listen. Always telling me “You need carbohydrates and insulin to live.” All that know me see the dramatic change for the better. I’m doing the Ketogenic way of eating with intermittent fasting for the rest of my life. The alternative IS NOT WORTH a lifetime of illnesses and suffering.
Researchers at Florida State University studied watermelon for its ability to regulate blood pressure due to it being “one of the richest natural sources of L-citrulline”, an amino acid that the body converts into L-arginine, which improves circulation. They discovered that watermelon, due to its high L-citrulline, may prevent pre-hypertension from becoming full blown hypertension.