What Is a Ketogenic Diet? | Epilepsy

Steve Wolf MD: Many families ask is there
a possible diet that we could use to stop the seizures? And really there’s two different diets. One is the ketogenic diet, which is basically
a high-fat, no-carb, low-protein diet. And then there’s the modified Atkins diet,
which is again no carbs, but with protein and fats. Patty McGoldrick NP, MPA: Now the thing with
the ketogenic diet and even with the modified Atkins is that they’re not as safe and easy
to implement as people think. They’re difficult to follow. The foods are high-fat. There’s no carbs, so there’s no fruit. There’s no vegetables. The food has to be weighed. The parents have to check the child’s urine
to make sure that they’re in ketosis. It’s actually best used for people who are
still on formula or people who have gastrostomy feeds. And then it’s a good option, especially in
certain kinds of epilepsy. Steve: It might sound difficult to do it,
which it is. You need to work with your nutritionist to
find the right diet, as well as to work with your neurologist to find our whether you really
are a good candidate for the ketogenic diet, as Patty was mentioning. But what’s interesting about this is when
you are on these diets, and you have to be very strict when you’re on the diet, it changes
the way your body breaks down food to make energy for your brain. So by eliminating carbohydrates, it eliminates
certain byproducts of carbohydrates that might be causing seizures and only letting your
body break down fats and proteins, which really the results show that it does control seizures
very effectively. Patty: In addition to monitoring the urine,
you also have to monitor weight loss. It can cause weight loss. And it can be difficult if you have a young
child or a school-age child who’s on the diet, because it limits social interaction, again
because they can’t eat out. They have to weigh and measure the food. But it is a good choice for people with intractable
epilepsy. It’s not really a first-line treatment, though. Steve: So the take-home message is there are
diets for epilepsy, especially very difficult to control epilepsies. It’s important to have a nutritionist to work
with you and a neurologist to find what is the right diet for you. There are many things that need to be monitored
during the diet, but it can be a very effective treatment in the care of patients with very
difficult to control epilepsy.

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Reader Comments

  1. pajamasinhats

    my nephew has a seizure disorder and is ON the ketogenic diet.
    he is also allergic to nuts, milk, and eggs which further limits his options,
    he's 3 and , well you know toddlers, they are very picky. he has to eat ALL of his food, and if he doesn't he needs a meal replacement formula bottle, and again, needs to finish all of it. We are hoping to take him off the diet soon as it is very difficult to maintain, but also that over time, the brain can develop a tolerance to it becoming ineffective.

  2. pajamasinhats

    though it has been noticed that there has been a decrease in his length of seizures (down from 1hour to 3 minutes) and has been less jerky normally. the low protein has made it so his muscle development is behind. Overall, I would recommend this as a temporary fix, but don't expect it to help you forever.

  3. guillermo lambe

    Improved keto diet manuals which aid us
    ) https://sites.google.com/site/KetoDiietplan?id=2476-6822-2763 (
    Fortunately which this still well worth to read..

  4. francis juan

    I found keto diet books that guide our diet problems!
    ) https://twitter.com/rl3f3/status/760053559392083968?pidid=75240547 (
    This is superb diet guide that I located!

  5. natashashikh

    Hello Dr Wolf.. hope you are well. I was your patient in 2002 and Alhamdulillah recovered well. is there any way to contact you??

  6. C Bryce

    This is an Youtube but maybe someone is out here still 🙂
    almost 5 years ago I was dx'd with Celiac Disease. After starting the gluten free diet, I started having seizures, much like grand mal, but I stayed fully aware and was able to talk.
    One day I ate some little rice based cookies at lunch time and didn't feel well the rest of the day. That night when I went to bed, the seizures started, but this time with projectile vomiting. I really thought I was the end of my life. The next day I was still alive so I examined my intake, connecting the dots to rice and cut it out to see if they seizures would stop. They did and I no longer have those kinds of seizures.
    About once a week, I have little seizures, as though someone is kicking me at the knees while standing, but never completely fall. So far anyway. I know that for me, rice is the trigger and I must stay off it (as well as gluten). SO now I eat only whole foods i.e. veggies, fruit and meat. I am doing pretty well now, but still fear they will come back.
    It's only been about a month since not having a GM seizure, when I WAS having them several times a week. Listening to our bodies is critical in getting good health; I wish more people and medical professionals were more knowledgeable to nutrition. All bodies are different and have different requirements.

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