The ketogenic diet is similar to the atkins in that the foods eaten are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and full of adequate protein. The ketogenic diet can be used effectively to treat uncontrollable epilepsy in children. Rather than supplying the body with carbohydrates, which supply the body with energy, the body is forced to burn off fats instead.
About the Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet was founded in the 1920s by Lyle McDonald. It is a popular diet that is followed worldwide. The ketogenic diet is effective in preventing epileptic seizures because there are fewer carbohydrates consumed and less glucose formed from the starches in the body. When the body receives fewer carbohydrates, it is forced to produce glucose from fats, and therefore enters ketosis. This is when the body uses fat as energy rather than carbohydrates.
The extra fats in the body produce glucose, and elevated levels of ketosis have been proven to reduce seizures. The ratio used in the ketogenic diet is 4:1 of fat to a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Following this diet, you will have to exclude foods high in carbohydrates like bread, sugar, grains, pasta and potatoes.
The ketogenic diet has proven to work effectively for one third of patients who have tried it. Controlled trials found it effective to treat uncontrollable epilepsy in children, and evidence has even shown that it may also be beneficial for adults who suffer with epilepsy. Although this diet is popular with bodybuilders, it does not give much freedom to consume other colorful foods, which are high in vitamins and minerals, e.g. broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, berries, raisins, figs, etc.
Foods to Consume
Some foods are more ketogenic than others, and there are variations of this diet to reduce the levels of fat in the blood. Butter, cream and dairy products like cheese and full-fat milk are allowed on the ketogenic diet. All meats are allowed, along with egg yolks, all kinds of nut varieties, fish and extra virgin olive oils.
Sample Meal Plan
- Breakfast – Two eggs, two rashers of bacon and one cooked tomato.
- Lunch – Beef burger wrapped in lettuce.
- Dinner – Green beans, mushrooms and red peppers fried in flaxseed oil with a salmon steak.
- Snacks – Unlimited yogurt and full-fat milk. Match box size of cheese. Strawberries and cream, peanut butter.
Foods to Avoid
- starchy fruits and vegetables
- sweet potatoes
- salad dressings
Positives and Negatives of the Ketogenic Diet
- Positive - It has proven to work effectively with children who suffer with refractory epilepsy. It may also offer some benefits to adults.
- Negative - Consuming foods high in fat over time may cause problems such as high cholesterol and hypertension.
- Positive - The body turns to ketosis, which uses fat as a fuel rather than carbohydrates.
- Negative - Over time, the breath may start to smell foul.
- Positive - Effective to use over the short term.
- Negative - The diet is limited. Many beneficial fruits and vegetables are avoided because of their starch content.
- Negative - Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.