The ketogenic diet is a mainstream dietary therapy that was developed to reproduce the success and remove the limitations of the non-mainstream use of fasting to treat epilepsy.[Note 2] Although popular in the 1920s and 30s, it was largely abandoned in favour of new anticonvulsant drugs. Most individuals with epilepsy can successfully control their seizures with medication. However, 20–30% fail to achieve such control despite trying a number of different drugs. For this group, and for children in particular, the diet has once again found a role in epilepsy management.
That's because my intro to this seemingly new plan was when I worked in a hospital, where ketogenic diets were specifically used as a medical nutrition therapy for pediatric patients with seizure disorders, for whom medication was no longer effective. In other words: It was used as an absolute last resort for families who felt otherwise hopeless in the face of a neurological disease, and under strict medical supervision.
Insulin is needed to help cells absorb nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and amino acids (protein). In fact, almost every nutrient is influenced by insulin. Potassium is needed for energy, for balancing sodium in the body, and for all kinds of other important things. We need amino acids for our hair, nails, skin, joints and muscles. We need magnesium for a healthy heart. See where I am going?
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Another common mistake that she sees is that people focus too much on macronutrients: "Micronutrients are really important too as ketosis is metabolically demanding and the diet is not nutritionally adequate most of the time." She says that most of her clients take multivitamins, carnitine supplements, calcium supplements and sometimes selenium or zinc.
Fears about fat: Most people have trouble on a ketogenic diet plan because they are scared to increase the amount of fat they eat, especially saturated fat. The message that fat is bad has been pounded into the collective American consciousness for the last 30 years. It's hard to unlearn the message that fat makes you fat, and saturated fat especially is very bad for you. I understand that message has been repeated over and over, but it is a lie.
In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.
I’m starting the Keto diet tomorrow, and I am making my list to go to Walmart. I don’t really know where to start such as snack foods. With me being a full time student and working full time, it seems hard to plan out my meals and snacks like what I need to snack on and eat. I definitely need advice and tips on how to help stay on track and get started, any help is greatly appreciated!
As a result of those satiating fats required by the ketogenic diet, you may find you’re not craving snacks as much as you usually do. “I find people who follow the ketogenic diet, they’re just not as hungry, so their snack frequency comes down,” says Dina Griffin, RDN, with eNRG Performance in Littleton, Colorado. “There’s just so much fat in their diet, so they say, ‘I don’t want to eat again,’ or ‘I can’t, I’m just not hungry.’”
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.