Can a high fat diet keep seizures under control for people with epilepsy? Elizabeth Tracey reports

July 26, 2021

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The ketogenic diet is a very high fat and very low carbohydrate diet that helps both children and adults with epilepsy control their seizures, and the diet is now celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary. Eric Kossoff, a neurologist and pediatric ketogenic diet expert at Johns Hopkins, says even then, it was known that such a strategy could help.

Kossoff: The diet was created in 1921 so 100 years ago with the idea being that it was going to mimic periods of starvation and fasting. They knew for decades, you might almost argue for millenia, before 1921, that fasting seemed to help this condition. So when the diet was created that was the intention, was that you would be potentially, okay, that was the idea, mimicking a starvation state. What we know now is that it’s much more complicated than that.  :30

Kossoff says why a high fat diet helps may vary between individuals, and notes that up to 20% of those with epilepsy who try it many not need medication at all. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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