What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a special diet designed to help children with epilepsy that fails to respond adequately to routine anti-epileptic medications. A typical ketogenic diet is made up of the following:

  • A high proportion of fats
  • Adequate levels of protein
  • A low proportion of carbohydrates

This diet is termed ketogenic because it mimics the effects of fasting, which causes the body to produce ketones. During starvation, the body is forced to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. In a ketogenic diet, the main source of energy is fat and when this is combined with a low intake of carbohydrates, the body makes ketones.

When a person follows a regular diet, food is converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and used by various cells as an energy source. The brain usually relies on glucose as an energy source, but when too little carbohydrates are available, the liver processes fats to provide the brain with energy in the form of fatty acids and ketone bodies. An increased blood level of ketone bodies is referred to as ketosis and several studies have shown that a ketogenic diet is associated with seizure reduction in children with epilepsy that is difficult to manage.

The ketogenic diet contains adequate amounts of protein for body growth and repair. The total calories in the diet are also sufficient to maintain a healthy weight for a given age and height.

In the classic ketogenic diet, the ratio of fats to carbohydrates and proteins combined is 4:1. Examples of the high-fat foods eaten include butter, cream, lard, olive oil and duck fat and examples of high-carbohydrate foods to avoid include grains, bread, pasta, sugar, starchy fruits.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 20). What is the Ketogenic Diet?. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 23, 2023 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Ketogenic-Diet.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is the Ketogenic Diet?". News-Medical. 23 September 2023. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Ketogenic-Diet.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is the Ketogenic Diet?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Ketogenic-Diet.aspx. (accessed September 23, 2023).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What is the Ketogenic Diet?. News-Medical, viewed 23 September 2023, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Ketogenic-Diet.aspx.


  1. Cleusa Nogueira de Castro Cleusa Nogueira de Castro Brazil says:

    Achei muito interessante essa dieta e pretendo me aprofundar no estudo dela, pois tenho urgência em adotá-la para pessoa de minha família.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
How effective is the keto diet for managing PCOS?