The ketogenic diet is indicated as an adjunctive (additional) treatment in children and young people with drug-resistant epilepsy. It is approved by national clinical guidelines in Scotland, England and Wales and reimbursed by nearly all US insurance companies. Children with a focal lesion (a single point of brain abnormality causing the epilepsy) who would make suitable candidates for surgery are more likely to become seizure-free with surgery than with the ketogenic diet. About a third of epilepsy centres that offer the ketogenic diet also offer a dietary therapy to adults. Some clinicians consider the two less restrictive dietary variants—the low glycaemic index treatment and the modified Atkins diet—to be more appropriate for adolescents and adults. A liquid form of the ketogenic diet is particularly easy to prepare for, and well tolerated by, infants on formula and children who are tube-fed.
Upon starting the diet, some patients report symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches. However, these short-lived symptoms are, in fact, a sign that the diet is working, and the body is switching over from burning glucose as fuel to burning fat. This transition involves upregulating certain enzymes and down-regulating others; it is a profound shift for the human body that can have uncomfortable symptoms. However, these side effect usually last only 3-4 weeks. They can be ameliorated in most cases, by drinking several cups of bouillion broth during the day until the transition is completed.15
Don’t think that “Mediterranean diet” means gorging on pasta and pizza, though. People in Mediterranean countries traditionally eat small portions of grains – for example, a side dish of 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta, instead of the full platter of pasta Americans are used to. Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables to fill you up without many calories.
Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in children increases the risk of slowed or stunted growth, bone fractures and kidney stones. The diet reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is important for childhood growth. Like many anticonvulsant drugs, the ketogenic diet has an adverse effect on bone health. Many factors may be involved such as acidosis and suppressed growth hormone. About 1 in 20 children on the ketogenic diet will develop kidney stones (compared with one in several thousand for the general population). A class of anticonvulsants known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (topiramate, zonisamide) are known to increase the risk of kidney stones, but the combination of these anticonvulsants and the ketogenic diet does not appear to elevate the risk above that of the diet alone. The stones are treatable and do not justify discontinuation of the diet. Johns Hopkins Hospital now gives oral potassium citrate supplements to all ketogenic diet patients, resulting in a sevenfold decrease in the incidence of kidney stones. However, this empiric usage has not been tested in a prospective controlled trial. Kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) is associated with the diet for four reasons:
Ben Tzeel is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holding a Masters in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ben has lived with Type 1 Diabetes since 1999 and has never allowed it to hold him back from achieving his goals. He is a published fitness model and author who writes about exercise, nutrition, and diabetes.
Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:
Emerging evidence suggests that eating this way may offer protective effects for those with and at risk for type 2 diabetes. For one, Mediterranean eating improves blood sugar control in those already diagnosed with the condition, suggesting it can be a good way to manage the disease. What’s more, given those with diabetes are at increased odds for cardiovascular disease, adopting this diet can help improve their heart health, according to a paper published in April 2014 in the journal Nutrients. (4)
According to the Mayo Clinic, the DASH diet calls for eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits, but it requires consuming only a moderate amount of whole grains, as well as lean sources of protein and healthy fats, such as fish and nuts, respectively. (6) This distinguishes the DASH Diet from other popular plans, such as the Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet, or the high-fat, low-carb diet.
This diet plan will be especially important for people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, or diabetes. Post menopausal women will find that this plans helps them lose that extra midlife weight that is so troublesome. It will reduce your body's demand for insulin, and reduce the tendency to deposit fat in your midsection. Yes, that's right - this plan will reduce your waist size, which is an important indicator of health risks.
The benefits above are the most common ones. But there are others that are potentially even more surprising and – at least for some people – life changing. Did you know that a keto diet can help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, may help control migraine, might help with certain mental health issues and could have a few other potential benefits?