The low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) ketogenic diet prevents epilepsy-induced seizures, researchers at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio said in a press release Feb. 19.
But they're not sure exactly why this is so, and are exploring whether metabolic defects cause seizures in epileptics.
“It is well known that certain diets, such as the ketogenic diet, have effects on seizures, but there is little agreement on the mechanism behind this diet,” said biology professor Dr. Daniel Kuebler.
The research spotlights the importance that diet plays in managing brain disorders such as epilepsy, with more top medical experts now agreeing that a high-carb diet not only makes us fat, but damages the brain, contributing to Alzheimer's and ADHD.
In January 2013, scientists at McGill and the University of Zurich discovered there is a direct link between metabolism and the neurological signals that cause epileptic seizures.
Their research showed that epileptic patients who consumed a ketogenic diet (which is extremely low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat) were able to inhibit seizure-related brain activity.
The findings are exciting because scientists previously thought metabolism and brain-cell signaling were unrelated. Showing these two processes are related confirms its possible to manage epilepsy through diet alone — without drugs. While drugs are commonly used to treat epileptic seizures, many patients complain about side effects.
This isn't the first time the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has proven effective at treating disease. The ketogenic diet has also been touted for its ability to produce rapid weight loss, reverse diabetes, prevent dementia, and heart disease.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter recently told me the ketogenic diet prevents (and in some instances reverses) Alzheimer's disease and ADHD. He detailed the research in his book, Grain Brain.
And nationally renowned obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman said his patients at the Duke University Obesity Center rapidly lost dramatic amounts of weight on the ketogenic diet (without exercise) and reversed their high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Westman, author of A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual and A New Atkins for a New You, is pleased that mainstream media is finally dispelling the myth that eating fat makes you fat and sick. To the contrary, he said: Eating fat makes you skinny and healthy.
"Eat lots of fat," said Dr. Westman. "There's no problem with fat. "In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we've been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat. Hypertension gets better, heartburn gets better, fatty liver. The list goes on and on."