Ketogenic Diet History Its Origins and Growth

The latest eating trends in diet history have included the notorious ketogenic diet. It’s a popular high-fat, low-carb diet that people continue to adopt year after year. But before taking on the diet yourself, there are facts you may want a better understanding of first.

There are many misunderstandings about the ketosis timeline, despite its popularity. You would be surprised learning that the diet originated from groundbreaking epilepsy research. Nearly a century ago, after extensive research, specialists designed a signature diet to adhere to those with epilepsy.

Since then, ketogenic diet fasting has taken off, and there’s still so much to learn. Have a look at our guide to understanding the origins and diet history of the keto beginning!


Ketosis 101

The ketogenic diet started with the idea of creating limits around how many carbohydrates you consume. In fact, the ketogenic diet includes increasing your fats intake to kickstart your body into a “fasted state”. That will help burn ketones rather than glucose and is better for your health.

The idea that following a meal plan with up to 75% fat, up to 30% protein and up to 10% carbs sends the body into a ketosis state. Your system will prioritize glucose (sugar) to run on but will also generate another energy source: fat. That fat then continues to send glucose to your brain.

Limiting your carb supply while ketogenic diet fasting helps your body break down fat. Those compounds are known as ketones and are the key alternative source for fuel. Many people believe that this is where the impressive benefits of the keto diet come in.

The Keto Diet History


Despite the term “ketogenic” not existing before the 20th century, the keto diet history goes as far back as Ancient Greece. Physicians during that time advocated restricting a person’s diet to treat diseases like epilepsy. Ketogenic diet fasting was considered an important start to a healthy lifestyle.

Scientists recorded fasting as the only treatment for epilepsy. It was normal practice to fast and expanded across a lot of the world for thousands of years. Today, people use the ketogenic diet to lose weight or otherwise improve their health. However, it’s still an eating strategy used as a treatment for epilepsy.

The ketosis timeline shows that modern fasting plays a major role in epilepsy. In 1911, a French study revealed that epilepsy patients consuming a low-calorie diet mixed with periods of fasting. Patients were reported experiencing fewer seizures and had less adverse health effects from the condition.

During the same time in America, an osteopathic physician, Hugh Conklin, recommended fasting to epileptic patients to help control their seizures. This method resulted in epileptic patients fasting for 18-25 days. The results revealed a 50 percent success rate on adults and up to 90 percent for children.

The Keto Diet v. Regular Fasting

Though researches had the data proving that fasting could control seizures, fasting is still not the greatest long-term option. Fasting is often meant to be temporary. However, many patients discovered that their seizures returned once they went back to their regular diet.

Doctors continued working on replicating the results and experimenting with different fasts. In fact, the ketosis timeline focuses on eliminating sugars and starches instead of focusing on calories. Keto diet mayo clinic, Dr. Wilder, noticed a major difference in his epilepsy patients.

Those with lower blood sugar after eating a high-fat, low-carb diet experienced far fewer seizures. Thus, the ketogenic diet was born with the intention to mirror the metabolism that fasting created. And modern research that discusses the keto diet continues to highlight all sides of this unique fasting diet.

The Keto Diet In Detail

The keto diet is quite simple: patients remain in a fasted state by limiting carbohydrates intake so that their bodies can burn fat instead of glucose. Through prioritizing fat, sugar from the bloodstream could be better removed and trigger the body to consume ketone bodies instead. To successfully follow the diet, you must convince your body to metabolically act as if it’s starving.

A second keto diet mayo clinic physician, Dr. Peterman, is credited for standardizing the diet to make it easier for everyday use. Traditionally, experts recommend a 4:1 fat ratio to protein and carbs. That includes 90 percent of your calories to come from fat, six percent from protein, and four percent from carbs.

Today those ratios are considered the gold standard. However, a 3:1 ratio is also beneficial to ketogenic diet fasting. A few more acceptable foods for the keto diet include:
  • Leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, and other non-starchy vegetables
  • Yogurt, milk, cheese and other full-fat dairies
  • Beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, shellfish, soybeans, and other protein
  • Walnuts, sunflowers, pistachios, almonds and other nuts and seeds
  • Animal and plant-based fats
  • Berries, coconut, rhubarb, avocado and other fruits (in moderation)
The keto diet had proven to be an effective epilepsy treatment that could be maintained longer than regular fasting. Now in the second century, this eating strategy remains relatively the same. Nutritionists believe that consuming one gram of protein per kilogram of your body weight, 10-15 grams of carbohydrates, and fat will suffice.

Why You Should Adopt The Keto Diet

How the keto diet works is still a bit of a mystery. Scientists continue to study how the natural structure of ketones. They also continue to learn the anti-electrical effects on the brain and how to better prevent electric impulses from triggering seizures.

As the keto diet becomes more and more popular for treating epilepsy, doctors began seeing the benefits ketogenic diet fasting had beyond controlling seizures. Children on the keto diet are reported to be more alert, less irritable and better disciplined. Children also sleep better and reportedly have more energy.

Today you can find the ketogenic being used in nearly all major children’s hospitals. And it continues attracting scientists to study its role with neurological disorders.

Though it’s unclear when the keto diet attracted attention as a solution to weight loss, the results of adopting the diet are still impressive on every health level. Are you considering the keto diet? Keep this guide through the diet history before making any major changes and be sure to talk to your health physician first!