The use of diet in the treatment of epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Feb;6(1):4-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.10.006.


Fasting and other dietary regimens have been used to treat epilepsy since biblical times. The ketogenic diet, which mimics the metabolism of fasting, was used by modern physicians to treat intractable epilepsy beginning in the 1920s. With the rising popularity of drug treatments however, the ketogenic diet lost its previous status and was used in only a handful of clinics for most of the 20th century. The diet regained widespread recognition as a viable treatment option beginning in 1992 due to the efforts of parent advocate groups. Despite challenges to implementation of the treatment, the ketogenic diet has significant potential as a powerful tool for fighting epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet / history
  • Diet / methods*
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Epilepsy / history
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Ketones / history
  • Ketones / therapeutic use*


  • Ketones