Many people haven’t ever heard of a ketogenic diet for epilepsy and until ten years ago, neither had I. So what is a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that is used to treat epilepsy by changing the way the body and brain access fuel. By depleting carbohydrate stores in the body, the brain begins to run off fat for fuel instead of glucose, which is normally just recycled over and over again in the blood. Too much sugar (glucose) in the blood can lead to diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, and yes- even trigger epilepsy. It’s not known whether epilepsy is directly caused by glycemic rise, but a ketogenic diet for epilepsy has been proven to be not only effective, but curative with no medication. I’m not here to say if it’s the right approach for you, but it did work incredibly well for me. Let’s take a look at these facts about a ketogenic diet for epilepsy if you’re considering the approach yourself.
1. It’s High Fat
The ketogenic diet for epilepsy is very high in fat because in order to work, the brain needs enough fat to use as fuel. Fats should come from healthy foods like fish, coconut oil, walnuts, macadamia nuts, ghee (clarified butter), pastured eggs, olive oil, avocado, and coconut meat.
2. It Includes Veggies
Veggies are an important part of any diet, including the ketogenic diet. I approached the diet to cure a past seizure disorder and was able to eat all the non-starchy veggies and leafy greens I wanted. You can too, whether you're on this diet or not!
3. It’s Backed by Science
The ketogenic diet has been backed by multiple scientific studies, with some of my favorites being from John Hopkins University. Science shows that not only do patients become seizure-free, but can also transition into eating healthy complex carbs after seizures disappear.
4. Protein Packed
The ketogenic diet is much like the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD), therefore it is protein-packed. Lean sources of protein are included liberally to support the muscles, brain, and energy levels.
5. It Helps Focus
One of the main reasons the ketogenic diet is so successful in treating epilepsy is because it changes the way the brain functions. It improves attention span and focus because the brain runs off fat (which it is made of) instead of glucose.
6. It’s Safe for Adults
Traditionally the ketogenic diet was designed for children. However, it’s also been proven to be completely safe for adults since it includes plenty of calories and has no calorie limitations.
7. It Works
If the body is truly in ketosis and burning fat for fuel instead of glucose, it can quickly treat epilepsy as long as there are no slip-ups in the diet. This means no sugar, fruit, starchy carbs, sodas, grains, natural sugars, starchy veggies, or processed foods of any kind.
Remember not to approach a ketogenic diet if you don’t have a seizure condition or don’t need to lose a lot of weight. It is a very difficult diet to transition to and should only be used when truly needed. You should always do your research and talk with someone you trust about this issue, or be under a doctor’s care. I also suggest checking out the sources below to learn more about the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Have you ever been on a ketogenic diet?