What Is a Ketogenic Diet? | Epilepsy

What Is a Ketogenic Diet? | Epilepsy

July 25, 2019 20 By William Morgan


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.