Efficacy of dietary treatments for epilepsy

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Apr;23(2):113-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01043.x.


The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high fat, restricted carbohydrate regime that has been used as a treatment for seizures since the 1920s, when it was designed to induce a similar metabolic response to fasting. A modification of this early classical version of the KD was introduced in the 1970s using medium chain triglycerides as an alternative fat source. More recently, two alternative, less-restrictive dietary treatments have been developed: the modified Atkins diet and the low glycaemic index diet. There are many case reports and observational studies reporting successful use of the KD, and a growing number of studies reporting similar success with the modified Atkins protocol. A recent randomised controlled trial has shown a significant benefit of the KD compared to no change in treatment. The use of these dietary therapies in the UK is supported by literature evidence, although often is limited by a lack of resources; increasing awareness and knowledge is fundamental to ensure availability for those individuals with intractable epilepsy who may benefit from them.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome