Background: Preliminary evidence suggests that diet manipulation may influence motor and nonmotor symptoms in PD, but conflict exists regarding the ideal fat to carbohydrate ratio.
Objectives: We designed a pilot randomized, controlled trial to compare the plausibility, safety, and efficacy of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet versus a ketogenic diet in a hospital clinic of PD patients.
Methods: We developed a protocol to support PD patients in a diet study and randomly assigned patients to a low-fat or ketogenic diet. Primary outcomes were within- and between-group changes in MDS-UPDRS Parts 1 to 4 over 8 weeks.
Results: We randomized 47 patients, of which 44 commenced the diets and 38 completed the study (86% completion rate for patients commencing the diets). The ketogenic diet group maintained physiological ketosis. Both groups significantly decreased their MDS-UPDRS scores, but the ketogenic group decreased more in Part 1 (-4.58 ± 2.17 points, representing a 41% improvement in baseline Part 1 scores) compared to the low-fat group (-0.99 ± 3.63 points, representing an 11% improvement) (P < 0.001), with the largest between-group decreases observed for urinary problems, pain and other sensations, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and cognitive impairment. There were no between-group differences in the magnitude of decrease for Parts 2 to 4. The most common adverse effects were excessive hunger in the low-fat group and intermittent exacerbation of the PD tremor and/or rigidity in the ketogenic group.
Conclusions: It is plausible and safe for PD patients to maintain a low-fat or ketogenic diet for 8 weeks. Both diet groups significantly improved in motor and nonmotor symptoms; however, the ketogenic group showed greater improvements in nonmotor symptoms. © 2018 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
Keywords: MDS-UPDRS; Parkinson's disease; ketogenic diet; low-fat diet.
© 2018 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.