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Front Neurosci. 2019 Jan 29;13:5. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00005. eCollection 2019.

Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy: What We Know So Far.

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Epilepsy Department, Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Neurology Department, Federal Fluminense University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Neurology Department, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is a modality of treatment used since the 1920s as a treatment for intractable epilepsy. It has been proposed as a dietary treatment that would produce similar benefits to fasting, which is already recorded in the Hippocratic collection. The KD has a high fat content (90%) and low protein and carbohydrate. Evidence shows that KD and its variants are a good alternative for non-surgical pharmacoresistant patients with epilepsy of any age, taking into account that the type of diet should be designed individually and that less-restrictive and more-palatable diets are usually better options for adults and adolescents. This review discusses the KD, including the possible mechanisms of action, applicability, side effects, and evidence for its efficacy, and for the more-palatable diets such as the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) and the Low Glycemic Index Diet (LGID) in children and adults.


diet therapy; ketogenic diet; low glycemic index; modified Atkins diet; refractory epilepsy

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