The history of the keto diet

The history of the keto diet

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There are two main ways that the keto diet has been developing: the treatment of epilepsy and the treatment of obesity, but letțs take a look at the history of the keto diet before getting to the fundaments of keto.

Without going deep into the technical details, you need to understand that fasting (complete refusal of food) and the keto diet are metabolically very similar. The similarity of these metabolic states (called, respectively, “hungry ketosis” and dietary “ketosis”) partially led to the long-term development of the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet attempts to mimic the metabolic effects of starvation while food continues to be consumed.


Keto diet for epilepsy.

The ketogenic diet has been used to treat various clinical diseases, the most famous of which is pediatric epilepsy. There are mid-century records describing the use of fasting to treat epileptic seizures (convulsions). In the early 1900s, full starvation was actively used to treat seizures in children. But fasting cannot last forever, and seizures can only be controlled as long as fasting continues.


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In connection with the problem of increasing the fasting period, early nutrition researchers were looking for a way to imitate “hungry ketosis” without stopping food intake. They were able to find out that a diet rich in fats, low in carbohydrates and a minimum amount of protein to maintain growth can maintain a “hungry ketosis” for a long time. This led to the development of the original ketogenic diet for epilepsy in 1921 by Dr. Wilder (Russell Wilder, MD). Wilder’s ketogenic diet helped control pediatric epilepsy in many cases where honey failed. drugs and other treatments. The ketogenic diet developed by Dr. Wilder is essentially used today to treat childhood epilepsy.

When in the 30s, 40s and 50s new drugs for epilepsy were invented, the ketogenic diet disappeared into obscurity. The reason at that time was the difficulty in managing their diet, with easily prescribed drugs. Several modified ketogenic diets, such as a diet with medium chain triglycerides, providing a greater variety of diets, also went into the unknown.

In 1994, a ketogenic diet for the treatment of epilepsy was “reopened” in the history of 2-year-old Charlie with seizures who could not control any drugs or other types of treatment, including brain surgery. Charlie’s father found a link to the ketogenic diet in literature and decided to look for additional information, which led him to the John Hopkins Medical Center.

Charlie’s attacks were completely controlled while he was on a diet. The amazing success of the ketogenic diet, where other treatments failed, led Charlie’s father to create the Charlie Foundation, who released several videos, published the book Epilepsy Diet Treatment: An Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet and sponsored a conference to train doctors and nutritionists to introduce the diet.


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Despite the fact that the specific mechanisms of the keto diet, controlling seizures, are still not known, the diet continues to receive recognition as an alternative to drug therapy.


Keto diet for other clinical diseases.

Epilepsy may be a disease in the treatment of which the ketogenic diet is used most often. However, preliminary data show that the ketogenic diet can also be used to treat other diseases, including respiratory failure, some types of cancer in children, and head injuries.

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