Does A Seizure Diet Work? How To Start?

The ketogenic diet, sometimes known as the keto diet, is a medical or therapeutic diet that is intended to aid in the management or treatment of medical conditions. The keto diet is recommended for children who have epilepsy that persists despite treatment.

Benefits & Side Effects Of Keto Diet

The keto diet consists of a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet (carbs). A normal ketogenic diet consists of 70% to 80% fats, 20% protein, and 5% to 10% carbs.

Does A Seizure Diet Work? How To Start?

Benefits

Many studies have demonstrated that the ketogenic diet is particularly beneficial for various epileptic problems including Rett syndrome, Dravet syndrome, Doose syndrome, tuberous sclerosis syndrome, GLUT-1 deficiency, and infantile spasms. 

For children whose seizures have not responded to multiple different seizure medications, doctors frequently recommend the ketogenic diet.

Adults are rarely advised to follow the traditional diet since the limited food options make it difficult to stick to. The modified Atkins diet, on the other hand, is effective. This should also be done with the help of a competent team of adult neurologists and dieticians.

Every child’s ketogenic diet is distinct and is based on various factors:

  • The age and weight of the child
  • The child’s and family’s eating habits (kosher, halal, vegetarian, organic)
  • Dietary guidelines for children (the specific combination of fats, protein, and carbohydrates weighed out)

The diet may not be suitable for everyone, but it is suitable for a wide range of patients.

Does It Work?

Although it does not work for every child, multiple studies have demonstrated that the ketogenic diet reduces or prevents seizures in many children who were unable to manage their seizures with medications or who were unable to endure the medications’ adverse effects. Over half of the children who follow the diet have a 50% reduction in the number of seizures they have. It may begin to assist after just one week, but it usually takes several weeks to months to determine whether it is beneficial. If the diet is effective in controlling seizures, it can be followed for several years under the supervision of the child’s medical team. Many children on the ketogenic diet continue to take seizure medications, but they need one fewer and the dose of the remaining medications is often lowered.

How To Start?

The diet is usually started in the hospital. The youngster is supposed to fast for 18-24 hours (except for water) under medical observation. The diet is then begun by gradually increasing the number of calories or the ratio.  Fasting isn’t necessary for long-term efficacy, according to emerging studies, though it helps hasten the onset of ketosis. Today, most centers do not begin with a fasting period.

Does A Seizure Diet Work? How To Start?

Most institutions admit patients to track any changes in seizures caused by the diet, ensure that all drugs are carbohydrate-free, and educate the families.

Side-Effects

  • Constipation
  • Stones in the kidneys
  • Low weight and slow growth
  • Cholesterol levels are high

Inform your child’s doctor if they have any side effects. You might be able to help them by making dietary or pharmacological modifications.

What To Eat?

The fat content of your child’s diet will be high. To put that in perspective, fat accounts for around 25% to 40% of calories in a healthy child’s diet. About 80 percent to 90 percent of the calories in the ketogenic diet come from fat.

As a result, your child’s meals are high in fats, while protein and carbohydrate quantities are tiny. In a typical ketogenic diet, children consume three to four times more fat per meal than carbs and protein combined. Bread, pasta, chocolates, and other high-carb items are all off the table. This is usually where your doctor starts but there are some variations. If it works, you may generally go back to a modified Atkins diet and gradually add carbs. This usually entails carb tracking and keeping track of the carb to fat ratio.

You must determine whether or not your family is prepared to follow the ketogenic diet. You’ll need to alter the food you keep in your house as well as the meals you consume. If you have additional children in the home, this can be difficult. All of your child’s caretakers, from babysitters to teachers, must be aware of the diet and agree to follow it. A seizure might be triggered by even minor deviations from the diet plan. Consult your child’s doctor if you think you’re up to it. Going “keto” is never simple, but it may be a huge success for many children.

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