Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Classic and Modified Ketogenic Diets for Treatment of Epilepsy

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Aug;117(8):1279-1292. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.06.006.


Ketogenic diet (KD) therapy is an established form of treatment for both pediatric and adult patients with intractable epilepsy. Ketogenic diet is a term that refers to any diet therapy in which dietary composition would be expected to result in a ketogenic state of human metabolism. While historically considered a last-resort therapy, classic KDs and their modified counterparts, including the modified Atkins diet and low glycemic index treatment, are gaining ground for use across the spectrum of seizure disorders. Registered dietitian nutritionists are often the first line and the most influential team members when it comes to treating those on KD therapy. This paper offers registered dietitian nutritionists insight into the history of KD therapy, an overview of the various diets, and a brief review of the literature with regard to efficacy; provides basic guidelines for practical implementation and coordination of care across multiple health care and community settings; and describes the role of registered dietitian nutritionists in achieving successful KD therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietetics*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritionists
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins