Fats in the diet breakdown and form ketones in the body when the body uses fats as a source of energy – therefore, the name of the diet is ketogenic diet. A dietician supervises the diet and monitors the child’s nutrition – whereas a paediatric neurologist monitors medication and overall health status of the child. The dietician also instructs the parents and child what can and cannot be eaten. The diet should also provide adequate vitamins and minerals. Other sources of carbohydrates cannot be eaten. This is how a ketogenic diet works.

Ketogenic Diet in Epilepsy

A paediatric neurologist recommends a ketogenic diet for children with epilepsy who didn’t respond well to medication. A dietician monitors the diet carefully. In general, paediatric neurologist usually prescribe a ketogenic diet to those children in whom seizures have not responded to different types of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

According to several research studies, a ketogenic diet has been shown to be effective against some epileptic conditions in children. Dietary therapy works better for some infants as well.

What is a ketogenic diet in Epilepsy?

A ketogenic diet is high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. This diet includes 3 to 4 grams of fat (long-chain triglyceride) for 1 gram of carbohydrate and protein. This diet provides around 90% of calories from fat. It is a classical ketogenic diet to control seizures in some children with epilepsy. For instance, if a child consumes 1500 calories as a regular diet, then he or she will get the same 1500 calorie ketogenic diet.  A Dietician prescribes this diet according to bodyweight based on a ketogenic ratio. It is a ratio of fat to carbohydrate and protein combined – which is either 4:1 or 3:1. Dieticians recommend 3:1 ratio for infants and 4:1 for children. The fatty foods in the diet include butter, oils (olive or canola), mayonnaise, cream, etc. Careful preparation of meals is important.

Bottom Line

The diet is there since the 1920s when it was first formulated. Children who are on the Ketogenic diet can notice a big drop in the number of seizures they have. In some children, seizures may stop as well. It helps with different types of seizures including myoclonic and others. Certain types of epileptic conditions in both children and adults respond well to the ketogenic diet.

Paediatric neurologists usually recommend this diet when one or two or a combination of antiepileptic drugs haven’t worked. Ketogenic Diet in Epilepsy for Children is demanding. The diet provides significant results when followed under the guidance and supervision of an experienced dietician and epilepsy specialist.

The ketogenic diet works as children and infants who have it can lower their medication doses – and in some cases, stop taking them as well. It has also been seen that kids who were on for keto diet for at least one or two years have become seizure-free and went back to normal eating afterwards.

Next Article – FAQs on Ketogenic Diet – coming soon…