It’s Time to Rename “Fad Diets” as “Treatments” – You’re Not on the Real Keto Diet

“The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture, and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child’s age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more food energy than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.” – Wiki

Meet the keto diet.

However, in the epilepsy community, it’s known as the ketogenic diet and it can be traced back to the 1920s and 1930s.

But, hey, someone said they lost 120 lbs on keto. So, toot, toot! All aboard the temporary weight loss train!

The ketogenic diet is not a diet. It’s a treatment for children and teens with uncontrolled (refractory) epilepsy. In 1994, it gained mainstream attention – as a seizure control treatment – when a young boy with refractory epilepsy was kept seizure free thanks to the ketogenic diet. I live with epilepsy, and I learned about the treatment as a teenager.

When a patient first goes on the ketogenic diet, it requires their doctor referring a dietitian. The dietitian calculates the ketogenic formula for the patient, accounting for their height, weight, level of physical activity, medications and/or supplements and so forth. Each morsel is either restricted, monitored, and measured to the milligram.

Unless you can claim these measures, you’re not eating the ketogenic diet. Because this high fat, low carb diet is a wing and a prayer for families. Not a chicken wing, hold the sauce.

We need to stop taking diets meant for chronic diseases and assigning them cutesy names just because we want thinner thighs and flat stomachs. Because these aren’t fad diets. They’re not even diets. They’re a treatment.

Yes, the ketogenic diet can help with other diseases, however, seizure control is the primary intent.

Fitting into your size 4 dress by New Year’s Eve isn’t a disease.

And please stop flipper-flop dieting. One day you’re keto. The next you’re gluten free. Then you’re paleo. Then back to keto.

A moment on paleo. Do you know what paleo is? It’s food found in nature by hunting and gathering. Do you remember the last time you saw paleo chocolate chip cookies hanging from a tree? I don’t. But stores carry paleo chocolate chip cookies. So, they’re out there. Being gathered. In nature.

So, please, stop stealing diets. No one was interested in Celiac disease until they saw people becoming temporarily thinner. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Oh, you’re on the gluten free diet! How much weight have you lost?”

Um, my soul and will to live?

The Celiac disease diet can also help fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. But I wrote “can,” meaning it’s possible. Plus, a person with Celiac disease doesn’t have a choice. They have to ensure each ingredient is gluten free.

Restrictive, ketogenic and Celiac disease diets aren’t fads. They aren’t optional for people whose health depend on an ingredient or calculation. These diets should be called treatments.

Not fads.

Because you can cheat on a fad diet.