We have solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.
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Aude, Y., A. S, Agatston, F. Lopez-Jimenez, et al. “The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat: A Randomized Trial.” JAMA Internal Medicine 164, no. 19 (2004): 2141–46. doi: 10.1001/archinte.164.19.2141. jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/217514.
Children who discontinue the diet after achieving seizure freedom have about a 20% risk of seizures returning. The length of time until recurrence is highly variable, but averages two years. This risk of recurrence compares with 10% for resective surgery (where part of the brain is removed) and 30–50% for anticonvulsant therapy. Of those who have a recurrence, just over half can regain freedom from seizures either with anticonvulsants or by returning to the ketogenic diet. Recurrence is more likely if, despite seizure freedom, an electroencephalogram shows epileptiform spikes, which indicate epileptic activity in the brain but are below the level that will cause a seizure. Recurrence is also likely if an MRI scan shows focal abnormalities (for example, as in children with tuberous sclerosis). Such children may remain on the diet longer than average, and children with tuberous sclerosis who achieve seizure freedom could remain on the ketogenic diet indefinitely.
Every meal should include a heaping portion of low-carb veggies, like leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower, which provide the essential nutrients for optimal health. Vegetables that should be limited due to their higher carbohydrate content include all root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, and parsnips fall into this category, unfortunately. Fruits should be consumed with caution, as well, because they contain high amounts of sugar (read: carbohydrates).
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals, and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D. A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises three small meals and three small snacks:
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Hi Jan, Sorry they didn’t work for you. It’s hard to say what happened without being in the kitchen with you. Did you use exactly the same ingredients and amounts? Also, if they were not cooked, then they probably needed to be in the oven for longer. If they were clumpy, it’s also possible that the almond flour wasn’t fine blanched (it needs to be) or the batter wasn’t mixed well enough. Hope this helps.
Before you fast, consult your health care provider to ensure it is a safe exercise for you. After confirming you can safely fast, I recommend kicking off a ketogenic diet with a 24-48 hour fast, during which time you consume nothing but water—but make sure you drink plenty of it. Once your body is in ketosis and you shift to maintenance mode, I suggest fasting once or twice a year for the same period of time and with the same, water-only restrictions. While fasting can be challenging, especially in the beginning, if you stick with it you can reap huge benefits.
I thought that eating this amount of protein would leave me a withered and emaciated little boy, but this is a belief I held for years of being beating over the head with jugs of protein powder and bro-science. It turns out, you (or, at least I) don’t need as much protein as once thought. However, eating very FEW grams of protein is not smart either.
Weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.
In the absence of CHO, however, the body must shift to fat as the primary energy source. In this case, the body catabolizes stored triglycerides, which exist in abundance in even the leanest individual. In effect, the KD provokes a physiological stimulus, i.e., CHO restriction, that mimics starvation. Due to the limited ability to store or produce CHO during periods of starvation, the body thus switches to ketogenesis, the production of ketone bodies as a primary fuel source (3).
I was on the ketogenic diet for 6 months to support my husband, who is on it permanently for epilepsy. The diet totally messed with my hormones, which my doctor and my husband’s nutritionist sadly confirmed was a possibility. I am continuing to eat low-carb, but the ketogenic thing unfortunately seemed to work against me as a 49-year old pre-menopausal woman.