Short-term results for the LGIT indicate that at one month approximately half of the patients experience a greater than 50% reduction in seizure frequency, with overall figures approaching that of the ketogenic diet. The data (coming from one centre's experience with 76 children up to the year 2009) also indicate fewer side effects than the ketogenic diet and that it is better tolerated, with more palatable meals.
Anticonvulsants suppress epileptic seizures, but they neither cure nor prevent the development of seizure susceptibility. The development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) is a process that is poorly understood. A few anticonvulsants (valproate, levetiracetam and benzodiazepines) have shown antiepileptogenic properties in animal models of epileptogenesis. However, no anticonvulsant has ever achieved this in a clinical trial in humans. The ketogenic diet has been found to have antiepileptogenic properties in rats.
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Does the ketogenic diet protect the brain? Animal studies and some uncontrolled studies in humans have looked at the effect of the keto diet on a variety of conditions and show some hope that the keto diet may have some role in the treatment of other neurologic disorders (39). Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and stroke have all been suggested to benefit from the keto diet. And other animal studies suggest that there may also be a role of the keto diet in the treatment of some cancers (40,41,42,43).
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It's not an actual virus but the result of dehydration that occurs when switching from glucose to fat for energy. Low-carb diets generally have a diuretic effect within the first few days, meaning you lose more water and electrolytes (like potassium and sodium) in urine than normal. It happens because you're body is losing water as it turns to muscle glycogen for energy and your body’s insulin levels decrease.
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The exact amount you should eat to get into ketosis will differ from person to person. Your body fat percentage, how much weight you want to lose, as well as how much exercise you do all make a difference. Our Keto Calculator will give you a good estimate of what macros you should be consuming. But remember that this is just a guide to help you on Keto…it’s not a strict guideline.
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The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.
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Another option for those active individuals determined to go keto is to utilize variations of the keto diet that allows for the selective inclusion of carbohydrates. For example, the Targeted Ketogenic Diet permits additional carbohydrates during workouts while the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet introduces carbohydrates at specific types during the week. However, it’s important to note that these alternate diet schemes have not been well studied for weight loss.
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It is becoming more clearer that there might be something to the argument for choosing a low carb diet when trying to cut calories and drop pounds (1). And while the science is far from conclusive, and the best dietary approaches can differ drastically from one person to the next, we keep seeing more and more people having success with carbohydrate manipulation.
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You may have also heard about a Keto 30 Challenge, a month-long diet program marketed by KetoLogic that involves a whole slew of special supplements. Honest Keto Diet, a company recently featured on Shark Tank, sells similar weight-loss pills. Pricey keto supplements include ingredients like ketones designed to suppress appetite, electrolytes for the dehydrating effects of the diet, certain vitamins and minerals, and even caffeine.
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Normal dietary fat contains mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are more ketogenic than LCTs because they generate more ketones per unit of energy when metabolised. Their use allows for a diet with a lower proportion of fat and a greater proportion of protein and carbohydrate, leading to more food choices and larger portion sizes. The original MCT diet developed by Peter Huttenlocher in the 1970s derived 60% of its calories from MCT oil. Consuming that quantity of MCT oil caused abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting in some children. A figure of 45% is regarded as a balance between achieving good ketosis and minimising gastrointestinal complaints. The classical and modified MCT ketogenic diets are equally effective and differences in tolerability are not statistically significant. The MCT diet is less popular in the United States; MCT oil is more expensive than other dietary fats and is not covered by insurance companies.
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Since there’s limited data on long-term supplement dependence and ketogenic diets, it’s impossible to know now what effects this may have on health and weight overall. A keto-specific example: Selenium, an immune-boosting antioxidant found in plant foods, is insufficient on keto, and when left unmitigated, this can cause cardiomyopathy, a hardening of the heart muscle, leading to heart failure.
The ketogenic diet has been studied and utilized as an effective treatment for epilepsy for over 80 years. While it may seem surprising that a diet can demonstrate such dramatic effects on a neurological disorder, multiple well done studies in adults and children alike have found it to be a successful treatment in epilepsy. This diet can help improve and even cure some cases of epilepsy that are refractory to medications (38).
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Early studies reported high success rates; in one study in 1925, 60% of patients became seizure-free, and another 35% of patients had a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. These studies generally examined a cohort of patients recently treated by the physician (a retrospective study) and selected patients who had successfully maintained the dietary restrictions. However, these studies are difficult to compare to modern trials. One reason is that these older trials suffered from selection bias, as they excluded patients who were unable to start or maintain the diet and thereby selected from patients who would generate better results. In an attempt to control for this bias, modern study design prefers a prospective cohort (the patients in the study are chosen before therapy begins) in which the results are presented for all patients regardless of whether they started or completed the treatment (known as intent-to-treat analysis).
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.