The ketogenic diet: Scientific principles underlying its use

Kristopher J. Bough, Carl E. Stafstrom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-protein diet that was initially formulated in the early 1920s as a treatment for intractable epilepsy (Wilder, 1921). Physicians in the 1920s and 1930s were well aware of the effectiveness of the diet; at that time, phenobarbital was the only other epilepsy treatment in widespread use. With the discovery of phenytoin in 1935, and other anticonvulsant medications over subsequent decades, the KD was used much less frequently; however, over the past 15 years, the KD has re-emerged as a viable alternative to standard anticonvulsants in the treatment of refractory epilepsy, especially in children (Freeman et al., 2007b; Kossoff et al., 2009). The history of the KD, including its origin and the reasons for the recent resurgence in its use, is reviewed elsewhere in detail (Freeman et al., 2007a, b; Swink et al., 1997; Wheless, 2004).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpilepsy
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms, Models, and Translational Perspectives
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781420085600
ISBN (Print)9781420085594
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Medicine


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