Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders after stroke, and affects at least 50 million people worldwide. It is diagnosed in a person having recurrent unprovoked seizures. These occur when cortical neurons fire excessively, hypersynchronously, or both, leading to temporary disruption of normal brain function. This might affect, for example, the muscles, the senses, consciousness, or a combination. A seizure can be focal (confined to one part of the brain) or generalised (spread widely throughout the brain and leading to a loss of consciousness). Epilepsy may occur for a variety of reasons; some forms have been classified into epileptic syndromes, most of which begin in childhood. Epilepsy is considered refractory (not yielding to treatment) when two or three anticonvulsant drugs have failed to control it. About 60% of patients will achieve control of their epilepsy with the first drug they use, whereas about 30% do not achieve control with drugs. When drugs fail, other options include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation and the ketogenic diet.
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This is done by heavily restricting carbs and focusing on high-fat, moderate protein meals. The classical ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio of fat to proteins and carbs. (2) In other words, the principle of the keto diet is to “eat fat to burn fat.”
All of a sudden your body has to deal with the lack of glucose and increase in fats, which means building up a new supply of enzymes. As your body becomes induced into a ketogenic state, your body will naturally use what’s left of your glucose.
The first modern study of fasting as a treatment for epilepsy was in France in 1911. Twenty epilepsy patients of all ages were “detoxified” by consuming a low-calorie vegetarian diet, combined with periods of fasting and purging. Two benefited enormously, but most failed to maintain compliance with the imposed restrictions. The diet improved the patients’ mental capabilities, in contrast to their medication, potassium bromide, which dulled the mind.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous metabolic state that is most commonly seen in people with Type 1 diabetes and sometimes Type 2 diabetics if they aren’t properly managing their insulin and diet.
Here’s one study that shows drops in lesions and skin inflammation when switching to a low-carb diet. Another study that shows a probable connection between high-carb eating and increased acne, so it’s likely that keto can help.
Love cooking though I may, I still work a day job, social commitments, exercise, and all the other things everyone does, which is to say that time is scarce. Here’s one of my fast and easy dinners that you might enjoy too.
The ketone bodies are possibly anticonvulsant; in animal models, acetoacetate and acetone protect against seizures. The ketogenic diet results in adaptive changes to brain energy metabolism that increase the energy reserves; ketone bodies are a more efficient fuel than glucose, and the number of mitochondria is increased. This may help the neurons to remain stable in the face of increased energy demand during a seizure, and may confer a neuroprotective effect.
We also see a lot more dessert recipes with the higher carb vegetables because of their natural sweetness. Ginger and pumpkin especially come to mind. If you’re in the mood for an autumn inspired treat, consider adding vegetables to your desserts. Some examples are:
“For sodium, I recommend salting your food, eating salty snacks, and using chicken broth,” Wittrock says. “Increasing sodium is hard for people to grasp, because they associate sodium intake with water retention and fat loss. But replacing your lost sodium is critical, especially when you’re working out.”
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.
Ketosis transforms your body into a fat-burning machine, burning fat (not carbs) for fuel. Specifically, the liver converts fatty acids in your body into ketone bodies, or ketones. This becomes your body’s new energy source. When you increase your fat intake, your body responds by becoming “keto-adaptive,” or more efficient at burning fat.
^ Jump up to: a b c Neal EG, Chaffe H, Schwartz RH, Lawson MS, Edwards N, Fitzsimmons G, et al. The ketogenic diet for the treatment of childhood epilepsy: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2008 Jun;7(6):500–6. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70092-9. PMID 18456557
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Thanks Dr. Jockey…very informative article. Im into pure keto diet almost a week now but started illiminating sugar and carbs 3weeks ago and the side effects that i’ve encountered are frequently urinating and light headache only. Is it good or not? I’ve never consult a specialist before doing keto diet but i do my research, is it okay? As of now i’ve loose almost 11lbs. Im just curious how can i get the percentage of fats, protein etc in my meals? Do i need to measure it all? How can i measure the percentage of foods that i need to eat?is there any ways?
The last thing I suggest doing is buying the speciality items prior to needing them. Normally some of these items you can only find online, and by the time you need them, you’ll actually have them. There are no speciality items used in Week 1 for that reason. Make sure you order what you need and have it by the time you need it.
Dark green and leafy is always the best choice for vegetables. Most of your meals should be a protein with vegetables, and an extra side of fat. Chicken breast basted in olive oil, with broccoli and cheese. Steak topped with a knob of butter, and a side of spinach sauteed in olive oil.
The first thing people typically recommend is re-tracking your macros to make sure you’ve been on track, making sure you’re drinking enough water and supplementing electrolytes, and finally reducing the amount of dairy being used. You can also read more about weight loss plateau’s here >
With inflammation driving most chronic diseases, the keto diet is anti-inflammatory and may help ease some inflammation-related pain conditions, according to researchers at Trinity College. One mechanism at play: The keto diet eliminates sugar and processed foods that can lead to oxidative stress in the body, a cause of chronic inflammation.
Diabetics: When you are eating less carbs and sugar, you will likely need less insulin or blood-sugar lowering medications to maintain blood sugar balance. Again, speak with your physician about this potential change and work with him to coordinate proper medication dosage.
No lunch, oh no! Don’t worry – the fats from the morning should keep you feeling energized and full all the way through lunch. Normally people start hitting a wall at first at around 2pm, so make sure you have plenty of water to drink, drink, and drink.
While the ketogenic diet has become popular for weight loss, studies have also shown numerous other health benefits of following a keto diet. It may help reverse Type 2 diabetes and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and autism (3)(4). The keto diet was first used in the 1920s not as a weight loss diet, but a natural treatment to prevent seizures in epilepsy patients (5).
A study with an intent-to-treat prospective design was published in 1998 by a team from the Johns Hopkins Hospital and followed-up by a report published in 2001. As with most studies of the ketogenic diet, there was no control group (patients who did not receive the treatment). The study enrolled 150 children. After three months, 83% of them were still on the diet, 26% had experienced a good reduction in seizures, 31% had had an excellent reduction and 3% were seizure-free.[Note 7] At twelve months, 55% were still on the diet, 23% had a good response, 20% had an excellent response and 7% were seizure-free. Those who had discontinued the diet by this stage did so because it was ineffective, too restrictive or due to illness, and most of those who remained were benefiting from it. The percentage of those still on the diet at two, three and four years was 39%, 20% and 12% respectively. During this period the most common reason for discontinuing the diet was because the children had become seizure-free or significantly better. At four years, 16% of the original 150 children had a good reduction in seizure frequency, 14% had an excellent reduction and 13% were seizure-free, though these figures include many who were no longer on the diet. Those remaining on the diet after this duration were typically not seizure-free but had had an excellent response.
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:
Restrict your protein intake. Many people come over to keto from an Atkins diet and don’t limit their protein. Too much protein can lead to lower levels of ketosis. Ideally for weight loss, you want to eat between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound lean body mass. To help with this, consider using the keto calculator >
Since carbs are your body’s first choice for energy, the only way to get your body to burn fat for fuel is by getting your body into ketosis. Without stored glucose, your body has no choice but to dip into your fat stores and begin converting those fatty acids to ketones when you need energy (9).
The brain is composed of a network of neurons that transmit signals by propagating nerve impulses. The propagation of this impulse from one neuron to another is typically controlled by neurotransmitters, though there are also electrical pathways between some neurons. Neurotransmitters can inhibit impulse firing (primarily done by γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA) or they can excite the neuron into firing (primarily done by glutamate). A neuron that releases inhibitory neurotransmitters from its terminals is called an inhibitory neuron, while one that releases excitatory neurotransmitters is an excitatory neuron. When the normal balance between inhibition and excitation is significantly disrupted in all or part of the brain, a seizure can occur. The GABA system is an important target for anticonvulsant drugs, since seizures may be discouraged by increasing GABA synthesis, decreasing its breakdown, or enhancing its effect on neurons.
Keto flu is a very common experience that some people go through when transitioning over to keto. It usually goes away in just a few days but if you don’t take active measures to find against it, it can stay around for much longer.
The ketogenic diet is a mainstream dietary therapy that was developed to reproduce the success and remove the limitations of the non-mainstream use of fasting to treat epilepsy.[Note 2] Although popular in the 1920s and 30s, it was largely abandoned in favour of new anticonvulsant drugs. Most individuals with epilepsy can successfully control their seizures with medication. However, 20–30% fail to achieve such control despite trying a number of different drugs. For this group, and for children in particular, the diet has once again found a role in epilepsy management.
Start by using our keto macro calculator below to help you determine what and how much of each category to eat based on your specific body composition and lifestyle. You’ll have a rough estimate of how many grams of fat, protein and carbs your meals need to cover over the course of one day.