The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. Wikipedia. Although, the diet can be employed by anyone provided they don't suffer from certain health conditions.
What do I eat in the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet requires substantial fat intake, with moderate protein and low carbohydrates. Consuming low fat protein only can result in rabbit starvation.
Here is a sample menu from the Ketogenic Diet Resource. I also have a blog post specifically reserved for the recipes I use to keep my fat and caloric intake adequate.
What is Ketosis?
The human body can use two forms of energy to maintain activity and keep the brain and organs running - glucose or ketones. Glucose comes from carbohydrates in the diet, which are consumed in regular intervals to keep energy levels adequate. When following a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, the body breaks down dietary and adipose tissue (body fat) into ketones; which then provides a steady supply of energy to keep functioning.
Is Ketosis safe?
For most people, ketosis induced by dietary changes is well tolerated. However, people with type 1 diabetes, alcoholics, or those who are in starvation are at risk for a condition called ketoacidosis, where there are both high levels of sugar and high levels of ketones in the body. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are often confused with one another, but what distinguishes dietary ketosis from ketoacidosis is the dieter's lack of consumption of carbohydrates which is necessary to develop ketoacidosis.
The confusion lies in the minds of laymen (and even some ill-informed doctors) between ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis. The latter is the consequence of insulin-deficient subjects having out-of-control blood-sugar levels, a condition that can occur as well in alcoholics and people in a state of extreme starvation. Even though ketosis and ketoacidosis may sound vaguely alike, the two conditions are virtually polar opposites. They can always be distinguished from each other by the fact that the diabetic has been consuming excessive carbohydrates and has high blood sugar, while the fortunate person who is doing Atkins does not. -- Atkins.com
What are the advantages to a Ketogenic diet?
Because the body uses ketones less efficiently, more fat is burned and ketones are excreted through the breath and urine; facilitating faster weight loss than with conventional diets.
The Ketogenic Diet also helps increase insulin sensitivity, which is helpful to obese people who have metabolic syndrome and have difficulty losing weight on carbohydrate rich diets.
Ketosis is also a natural appetite suppressant as ketones build up in the brain, and while you may have food cravings, they become much more tolerable.
Many studies have found that ketogenic diets help with mental functioning and repair/growth of brain tissue.
There is a mountain of evidence that shows that the ketogenic diet is not only safe, but a naturalistic therapy for many ailments:
High-Fat Ketogenic Diet Misunderstood, Underused
High protein, low carb diet safe for kidneys
Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Acute Stroke
Metabolic Effects of the Very-Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Misunderstood "Villains" of Human Metabolism
High-Fat Ketogenic Diet to Control Seizures Is Safe Over Long Term
High-Fat Diet May Enhance Cancer Patients’ Response to Treatments
Starving Cancer: Ketogenic Diet a Key to Recovery
Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors.
Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients
Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes.
Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects.
Long term effects of ketogenic diet in obese subjects with high cholesterol level.
The Ketogenic Diet as a Treatment Paradigm for Diverse Neurological Disorders
Ketogenic Diet Improves Core Symptoms of Autism in BTBR Mice
Ketosis and Brain Handling of Glutamate, Glutamine and GABA
Effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric oncology patients: two case reports.
Dietary ketosis enhances memory in mild cognitive impairment.
A ketogenic diet favorably affects serum biomarkers for cardiovascular disease in normal-weight men.
The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer
The ketogenic diet for type II bipolar disorder.
Low carbohydrate ketogenic diet enhances cardiac tolerance to global ischaemia.
Therapeutic role of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in diabetes.
Ketogenic Diet Reduces Hypoglycemia-Induced Neuronal Death in Young Rats
Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts
Diet-induced ketosis increases capillary density without altered blood flow in rat brain.
Protective effects of ketogenic diets on signs of hypoglycemia.
Diet-induced ketosis improves cognitive performance in aged rats.
Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets
The ketogenic diet: adolescents can do it, too.
Diet-induced ketosis does not cause cerebral acidosis.
A high-fat, ketogenic diet induces a unique metabolic state in mice.
Ketogenic diets and physical performance.
Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet