What is the efficacy of the Atkins diet in the treatment of epilepsy?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Preliminary data have been published about improvement of seizure frequency following a modified Atkins (low-carbohydrate) diet that mimics the ketogenic diet but does not restrict protein, calories, and fluids. In small studies of children with intractable epilepsy, seizure reductions of more than 50% have been seen within 3 months in some children placed on this diet, particularly with carbohydrate limits of 10 g per day. [62, 63]

Preliminary studies of a modified Atkins diet have also been performed in adults. For example, Smith et al found that this diet demonstrates modest efficacy as adjunctive therapy for some adults with medically resistant epilepsy, and it may be also helpful for weight loss but can pose financial and logistical difficulties. [64]

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