The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that allows the body to stay in a constant state of ketosis. It is used therapeutically to manage refractory seizures or to help reduce the side effects of antiepileptic medications. The diet consists of individually calculated amounts of foods to achieve a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, and lowered-protein diet.
Nearly a century ago, several investigators noticed that epileptic patients had fewer seizures while fasting or while on a "water diet."' The original ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s to mimic the biochemical changes associated with starvation. The diet was an effective and widely used therapy for seizures until the 1950s, when antiepileptic medications became increasingly available. Recently, the diet has regained popularity as an effective alternative or adjunct to these medications. A variety of studies have shown significant reductions in seizure frequency with the ketogenic diet.2-' A recent study reported the efficacy rate of the diet at intervals spanning I year.4 At 6 months, 51% of the children experienced more than a 50% decrease in seizure frequency, and this effect continued for the I year of the study.
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WHAT IT IS A three-phase plan that has been likened to the low-carbohydrate Atkins program because during the first two weeks, South Beach eliminates most carbs, including bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit and most dairy products. In PHASE 2, healthy carbs, including most fruits, whole grains and dairy products are gradually reintroduced, but processed carbs such as bagels, cookies, cornflakes, regular pasta and rice cakes remain on the list of foods to avoid or eat rarely.