The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fiction

The ketogenic diet is described as a consistent regime that includes the consumption of a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet. This method was first applied mainly for the treatment of epilepsy in babies and continues to push the body to consume fats rather than sugars. Usually the sugars contained in matter are converted into glucose, which is then carried in the body and is especially critical in fueling brain-function. The body converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies and still retains the ability to do so with small amounts of sugars.

These ketone bodies circulate into the mind and use ketones as a main energy source. The elevated level of ketone bodies in the people, the government called ketosis, leads to a decrease in the rate of epileptic seizures. An analysis of the ketogenic diet reveals the benefits and disadvantages of following a specific regimen that restricts consuming the major macronutrient, carbohydrates

Dating back to the fifth century BC, Hippocrates witnessed a man diagnosed with epilepsy consistently suffering from seizures and through experimental trials surrounding his diet, was able to cure it entirely; thereby concluding the significant impact diet has in health.

This has provided researchers with the information necessary to further investigate the ketogenic diet’s methods and reasons for curing epilepsy. Guelpa and Marie (1911) were the first accredited writers of discovering the correlation between fasting and epilepsy. When the body is fasted and enters a starvation mode, the body uses energy reserves of fat also known as ketones to avoid the protein breakdown of muscle.

Get quality help now
Writer Lyla

Proficient in: Dieting

5 (876)

“ Have been using her for a while and please believe when I tell you, she never fail. Thanks Writer Lyla you are indeed awesome ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The body uses ketone bodies instead of glucose as an alternative source of fuel and with this valuable information scientists tried to implement this type of diet without having to fast by eating a diet comprising of mainly fats and proteins with limited carbohydrates. For the body to enter ketosis the consumption of carbohydrates should be less than ten percent of total consumption.

The ketogenic diet has been used as an alternative form of treatment for those who have become drug-resistant. Information from animal models indicate that the ketogenic diet may take healing benefits for anxiety, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, and even potentially brain cancer. There have been multiple studies that show that the ketogenic diet may help with weight loss and help those suffering with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. According to Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet as a Treatment Option for Epilepsy: Meta-analysis patients who stayed on the diet were two times more likely to improve their chances of controlling their seizures. Scientists still haven’t figured out the mechanisms and impacts of the ketogenic diet or ketosis-inducing treatments such as fasting on the effects of the human mind.

Throughout the past few decades there have been many “fad diets” that claim to provide health benefits like the “fat-free ” or “gluten- free” diet. Although these diets can provide short term benefits there is typically not enough scientific research to back the claims that these diets provide. Social media presents these diets with little regard to the harm that it could do and their long-term effects. Despite the supposed benefits new fads in food have presented, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes have become an epidemic in the United States that continue to grow and severely impact younger generations and the population’s overall health. Although the ketogenic diet was first made known by the epileptic community, many people who do not have epilepsy have recognized the benefits that this diet could provide such as improving cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Considering that the leading cause of death in America is hypertension, this diet may seem appealing to many who are overweight. Studies have shown that the time required to lose weight due to the lack of consuming carbohydrates is greatly increased. When in ketosis, the body uses fats as an energy source, and seeing that many people who decide to start the ketogenic diet have an excess amount of fat stored in the body it would be sensible that the weight loss will be rapid. Taking into account that carbohydrates that is not used as energy is stored as fat, it would make sense that the reduction of carbohydrates would lead to weight loss. Since many carbohydrates that people may consume may be high in sugars, eliminating them would probably the best choice for effective weight loss when it comes to the ketogenic diet.

Since this nutritional method has gained popularity within the past few years, many people including social media influencers, have been purposely putting themselves in a state of ketosis to reap the benefits such as heightened brain function and faster weight loss results. Although these outcomes may seem plausible, many skeptics question whether the body can properly function in a state of ketosis resulting from the lack of carbohydrates or if it negatively counteracts by damaging organs that utilize carbohydrates as their main energy source.

The article Diet and Exercise for Weight loss: A Review of Current Issues (2005) provides a little insight for the efficacy of starting the ketogenic diet. It states that although there are many proven studies that show that this diet can be very effective at promoting weight loss, the long-term effects have not been studied yet. Since carbohydrates have an important role in fueling your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles, and central nervous system, some may be concerned that the lack of a macronutrient in the diet may be detrimental in the long term. Despite the ketogenic diet being a newer discovery, limiting a specific nutrient is not a new science, throughout the past decades there have been many fad diets that insist that by constricting the amount of a certain nutrient they would lose significant weight and reap certain benefits such as the Atkins diet which requires for the subject to eat a low-fat diet.

The duration period for the ketogenic diet varies upon the individual’s daily activity, diet, and body type; however, the body can enter into a state of ketosis anywhere from two to several days with the restriction of consuming carbohydrates. In experiments done to explore its efficacy in weight loss, one trial observed its patients over a four-week period and included the daily restriction of carbohydrates to less than fifty grams per day. Another conducted similar trials in which participants were observed with a ketogenic diet over a three-week period while consuming between ten to twenty grams of carbohydrates per day. Although these trials used a specific limit for dietary carbohydrates, the recommended daily intake for the ketogenic diet is less than fifty grams per day. Something that people also need to consider is how they will get fiber to prevent constipation since carbohydrates contain the highest source of fiber, it is imperative to choose carbohydrates that contain high amounts of fiber.

There has been a numerous amount of misconceptions about the ketogenic diet, many people assume that in order to reach a state of ketosis, one can immediately stop eating carbohydrates and the body will not have negative side effects. They must incorporate this new lifestyle into their diet by weaning carbohydrates out of their diet slowly. It is also highly recommended that people consult with their physicians before starting such a demanding diet. Some of the minor side effects many people will experience in the short term may include: frequent urination due to the excess sodium that the kidney excretes as the body’s insulin level drops, constipation due to the lack of fiber, smelly breath due to the acetone that ketone bodies, and flu-like symptoms due to the body switching from using sugars to fats as an energy source. All these side effects can be lessened or avoided if the subject increases their sodium, water, and fat intake.

The ketogenic diet and works over the last decade that have conducted studies over its efficiency in weight loss have concluded that it is not only the most common method for the treatment of obesity but has proven to assist in reducing symptoms for diabetes, neurological diseases, and cancer. For rapid weight loss, the use of this diet for individuals, especially those with higher risk factors is highly encouraged, due to the ideal that with this diet could help in the possible elimination of pharmaceutical methods of treatments with the proper modification of food intake. However, women who plan to or are already pregnant in the future are advised to stay away from this type of diet. Others should consult a doctor before starting this diet if kidney, heart, or gallbladder disease is possible. Without consultation or supervision while conducting this diet, patients are at a high risk of nutritional deficiencies.


  1. Henderson, C. B., Filloux, F. M., Alder, S. C., Lyon, J. L., & Caplin, D. A. (2006). Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet as a Treatment Option for Epilepsy: Meta-analysis. Journal of Child Neurology, 21(3), 193–198.
  2. Neal, E. (2012). Dietary treatment of epilepsy: Practical implementation of ketogenic therapy (2nd ed.). Chichester [England]: Wiley-Blackwell.
  3. Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(8), 789–796.
  4. Volek, J. S., VanHeest, J. L., & Forsythe, C. E. (2005). Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss: A Review of Current Issues. Sports Medicine, 35(1), 1–9. Retrieved from

Cite this page

The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fiction. (2022, May 01). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7