Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets

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URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/

Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Publication Date: 08/2013

Summary: Very-low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets have been in use since the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy and can, in some cases, completely remove the need for medication. From the 1960s onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors. The possibility that modifying food intake can be useful for reducing or eliminating pharmaceutical methods of treatment, which are often lifelong with significant side effects, calls for serious investigation. This review revisits the meaning of physiological ketosis in the light of this evidence and considers possible mechanisms for the therapeutic actions of the ketogenic diet on different diseases. The present review also questions whether there are still some preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets, which may be presenting unnecessary barriers to their use as therapeutic tools in the physician’s hand.

Key Takeaways

The ketogenic diet has been used as a way to control patients' epilepsy for a century, but it has been recently shown to have a therapeutic effect in several other diseases such as diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, acne, neurologic diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Click the link to the article to read in more detail about the effects of the ketogenic diet on these diseases.

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