Origin/Meaning of a Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet is a one that is high in fat and low in carbohydrate (low carb) with acceptable protein which results in the body burning fats in place of carbohydrates. Under normal circumstances, the body functions to convert the carbohydrate content of the food into glucose which is usually circulated around the body for energy and on which the brain depends on to functions as its fuel. But with a ketogenic diet, the reverse becomes the case in that there is very little carbohydrate which makes the liver to convert fats into fatty acids and keton bodies. The keton bodies are then passed into the brain to replace glucose as a source of energy which tends to raise the level of the ketone bodies in the blood at this point, the body is said to be in a state of ketosis. Fasting hastens ketosis.
In 1924, Dr. Russell Wilder designed ketogenic diet at the Mayo Clinic as a treatment for epilepsy and it was quiet effective in reducing the epileptic seizure. However, with the advent of anti-seizure medications in the 1940s, it was over shadowed. In 1994, Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams and family started a foundation – the Charlie Foundation after the ketogenic diet turned out to be the only effective solution to his son’s daily seizures despite having been on anti-seizure medications and enduring an unsuccessful brain surgery. The foundation sponsored a multicenter research study; the results of which was announced in 1996 and that marked the beginning of renewed scientific interest in the diet.
Ketogenis diet being an original therapeutic for paediatric epilepsy by providing just an adequate protein for body growth and appropriate calories to maintain the right body weight for age and height contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to protein and carbohydrate combined. To achieve this, foods high in starch such as fruits, starchy vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, sugar, are avoided while foods high in fats such as nuts, cream, and butter are increased.