Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition defined as a clustering of risk factors that is strongly associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes (Kahn, Buse, Ferrannini, & Stern, 2005). The prevalence of MetS has reached epidemic levels globally. It is estimated that 20% to 25% of the adult global population has MetS (Alic, 2018). MetS is diagnosed when three of the five risk factors are present. The risk factors are a large waistline (abdominal obesity), high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar. The standard and most effective treatment for MetS has been lifestyle interventions, with dietary interventions being one of the major effective lifestyle interventions utilized to treat MetS (Grundy et al., 2005; Samson & Garber, 2014). The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is one dietary intervention that may have the potential to improve MetS risk factors. One of the primary uses of the KD has been to treat epilepsy however, there is substantial evidence that it may help improve other conditions and illnesses, such as MetS (Mobbs, Mastaitis, Isoda, & Poplawski, 2013; Westman et al., 2007; Paoli, 2014). Despite this potential, certain dietary misconceptions may have prevented or slowed further research and use of the KD, particularly the national dietary guidelines that have promoted a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet for several decades (Hite et al., 2010; Woolf, & Nestle, 2008; Woolston, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to conduct a review of the literature regarding MetS, the KD, and the implications of the KD as a treatment for MetS. Existing research is systematically reviewed regarding the KD’s potential to address MetS and MetS risk factors. The results of the review indicate the validity and the need for further research on the KD and its potential to address MetS and MetS risk factors.