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

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.

Effect of modified Atkins diet in adults with drug-resistant focal epilepsy: A randomized clinical trial.

In this RCT investigating the effect of an adjunctive modified atkins diet on seizure frequency in adults iwht difficult to treat focal epilepsy, the authors found a significant reduction in seizure frequency in the diet group compared to the controls, but only for a moderate benefit (>25% seizure reduction) among those who completed the intervention. Seizure response varied considerably between individuals, perhaps negatively influenced by a drop in serum concentrations of antiepileptic drugs.

Optimal clinical management of children receiving dietary therapies for epilepsy: Updated recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group.

Ketogenic dietary therapies (KDTs) are established, effective nonpharmacologic treatments for intractable childhood epilepsy. For many years KDTs were implemented differently throughout the world due to lack of consistent protocols. In 2009, an expert consensus guideline for the management of children on KDTwas published, focusing on topics of patient selection, pre‐KDT counseling and evaluation, diet choice and attributes, implementation, supplementation, follow‐up, side events, and KDT discontinuation. It has been helpful in outlining a state‐of‐the‐art protocol, standardizing KDT for multicenter clinical trials, and identifying areas of controversy and uncertainty for future research. Now one decade later, the organizers and authors of this guideline present a revised version with additional authors, in order to include recent research, especially regarding other dietary treatments, clarifying indications for use, side effects during initiation and ongoing use, value of supplements, and methods of KDT discontinuation. In addition, authors completed a survey of their institution’s practices, which was compared to responses from the original consensus survey, to show trends in management over the last 10 years.

Exploring the relationship between preferences for high fat foods and efficacy of the ketogenic and modified Atkins diets among children with seizure disorders

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Previous research has indicated that children with seizures may prefer high fat foods – a preference compatible with ketogenic and modified Atkins dietary therapies. The purpose of this prospective study was to examine the relationship between fat preference and efficacy of therapeutic diets in treating intractable seizures among a pediatric population.


Preference for high fat foods was directly assessed in a sample of 30 children prior to commencing either the ketogenic or modified Atkins diet. Seizure control was assessed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months following diet initiation. Using an intent-to-treat analysis, correlations between fat preference and diet efficacy were examined at each follow-up and across the follow-up period.


At individual follow-ups, correlations between fat preference and diet efficacy varied in terms of both strength and significance; however, modest, positive correlations with fat preference were significant when examining high levels of efficacy (100% seizure reduction, ≥90% seizure reduction) across a 1-year follow-up period.


These findings provide preliminary evidence that fat preference, when directly assessed, may be a useful predictor of treatment efficacy for the ketogenic and modified Atkins diets; however, further research is necessary.

Ketogenic diet in pediatric patients with refractory focal status epilepticus

This abstract is published on

The ketogenic diet (KD) has been used as an alternative treatment for patients with refractory status epilepticus (SE).


In this retrospective study we assess the efficacy and tolerability of the KD in patients with refractory SE.


Between March 1, 2010 and January 1, 2014, 10 patients who met the diagnostic criteria of refractory SE seen at our department were placed on the KD and followed for a minimum of 6 months.


Ketonuria was reached within 2-4 days (mean 3 days) for all patients. Seizures stopped in two patients and five patients had a 50-75% seizure reduction within 2-5 days (mean 2.5 days) following the onset of ketonuria and within 5-7 days (mean 5 days) following the onset of the diet. Three patients had a <50% seizure reduction and all of them had severe adverse events so the diet was discontinued. Seven patients remained on the diet for 6 months to 3 years (mean 1.5 years). In all seven patients within 4 months the seizures recurred, but their quality of life did not worsen. The frequency of the seizures consisted of weekly seizures in two, monthly seizures in two, occasional seizures in two, and isolated seizures in one. All of them kept a good tolerability of the diet.


The KD is an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for patients with refractory SE. In patients with focal SE secondary to inflammatory or probably inflammatory diseases, the KD should be considered earlier in the course of the treatment.

A decade of the modified Atkins diet (2003–2013): Results, insights, and future directions

The modified Atkins diet has been used since 2003 for the treatment of children and adults with refractory epilepsy.This “alternative” ketogenic diet is started in clinic, without fasting, hospitalization, and restriction of protein,calories, or fluid intake. Now after 10 years of continued use, approximately 400 patients have been reported in over 30 studies of the modified Atkins diet as treatment for intractable seizures, with results demonstrating similar efficacy to the ketogenic diet and improved tolerability. The modified Atkins diet is being increasingly used in the adult population. Clinical trials have provided insight into the mechanisms of action of dietary therapies overall. This review will discuss the past decade of experience with the modified Atkins diet as well as predictions for its role in the treatment of epilepsy a decade from now.

Use of the modified Atkins diet for treatment of refractory childhood epilepsy: A randomized controlled trial

The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the modified Atkins diet in a randomized controlled trial in children with refractory epilepsy.
Children aged 2-14 years who had daily seizures despite the appropriate use of at least three anticonvulsant drugs were enrolled. Children were randomized to receive either the modified Atkins diet or no dietary intervention for a period of 3 months. The ongoing anticonvulsant medications were continued unchanged in both the groups. Seizure control at 3 months was the primary end point. Analysis was intention to treat. Adverse effects of the diet were assessed by parental reports ( Identifier: NCT00836836).
Among a total of 102 children, 50 were in the diet group and 52 in the control group. Four children discontinued the diet before the study end point, and three children in the control group were lost to follow-up. The mean seizure frequency at 3 months, expressed as a percentage of the baseline, was significantly less in the diet group: 59 ± 54 (95% confidence interval [CI] 44-74.5) versus 95.5 ± 48 (95% CI 82-109), p = 0.003. The proportion of children with >90% seizure reduction (30% vs. 7.7%, p = 0.005) and >50% seizure reduction was significantly higher in the diet group (52% vs. 11.5%, p < 0.001). Constipation was the most common adverse effect among children on the diet (23, 46%).
The modified Atkins diet was found to be effective and well tolerated in children with drug-refractory epilepsy.

Modified Atkins Diet to Children and Adolescents With Medical Intractable Epilepsy


After 3 months six out of the fifteen children (40%) had a seizure reduction of more than 50%, which was seen in different epileptic syndromes and different age groups. The responders reported an increase in quality of life and cognition. At 12 months follow-up 3 (20%) continued the diet with an unchanged marked seizure reduction. The present study confirms the high tolerability and effect of the modified Atkins diet on seizure control in AED treatment resistant epilepsy.

Efficacy of the Atkins Diet as Therapy for Intractable Epilepsy in Children

Following three months of treatment with the Atkins diet, 16 patients (67%) had >50% decrease in seizure frequency, and 6 (25%) had >90% improvement, of whom 5 were seizure-free. Mean seizure frequency after the first, second and third months of treatment were significantly lower than at baseline. The Atkins diet can be considered as a safe and effective alternative therapy for intractable childhood epilepsy. Atkins diet was well tolerated in our patients with rare complications and it appears to demonstrate preliminary efficacy in childhood refractory epilepsy.