What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a medical or therapeutic diet — a diet designed to help manage or treat a medical condition. The keto diet is suggested for children with epilepsy that continues despite medication.

The keto diet is high in fat, adequate in protein and very low in carbohydrates (carbs). A typical keto diet consists of 70% to 80% fats, 20% proteins and 5% to 10% carbohydrates.

What medical conditions may benefit from a keto diet?

Doctors typically recommend the keto diet to treat epilepsy in children of all ages, including infants. Ketogenic diets usually are not preferred by adults, because the limited food choices make the diet hard to maintain in long run.

The keto diet has been used in other neurological (brain-related) conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and autism.

People with diabetes or morbid obesity also may benefit from the keto diet. The keto diet can be easier to observe than other diabetes diet recommendations, and it can retrain obese bodies to start burning fat.

What happens in your body when you follow a keto diet?

The ketogenic diet resets how your body uses food. Usually, carbohydrates in your diet (like sugars and starches) provide most of the energy. The keto diet lowers the amount of carbs you eat and teaches your body to burn fat for energy instead.

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