Ketogenic diet is not so much a diet as it is an alternative therapy for children with difficult to control epilepsy which is usually defined as having two or more seizures a week even when using two or more anticonvulsant medications. It is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that actually mimics the effects of starvation on the body and uses the body’s natural processes to control your seizures <. h2> How it works
When the body does not have carbohydrates available for fuel converts liver fat to use production of ketone bodies which are used by the brain as an energy source. This is called ketosis. Although scientists do not fully understand why it works these ketones have an anticonvulsant effect. Ketogenic diet has been shown to be effective in controlling seizures reduce them for about 50 percent of children and sometimes remove them completely.
The diet prescribed by the physician and should not be attempted without medical supervision. A dietitian will recommend a daily diet that strictly control the number of calories the amount of protein and the ratio of fat to carbohydrates and protein for the baby. Fat consumed usually include butter heavy cream mayonnaise and canola or olive oil and meals must be carefully prepared to strictly regulate the amount of carbohydrates and protein consumed. Even small amounts of excess carbohydrates can drastically reduce efficiency.
The first phase of the diet is usually a medically supervised fast typically in a hospital. After a 24-hour fast food is gradually reintroduced. Some research has shown that fasting may not be necessary for long-term success but ketosis occurs faster with a fast. There are other benefits to hospitalization however. It enables the child to be monitored for any increase in seizures and is an opportunity to educate the family about the specifics of the diet.
As any medical treatment there are possible side effects of the ketogenic diet. The change in diet can cause the child to feel weak or lethargic for the first few days. Side effects of prolonged use may include slowed growth bone fractures constipation dehydration kidney stones and high cholesterol levels. A dietitian usually recommend supplements because ketogenic diet does not provide the vitamins and minerals for a normal balanced diet.
Anticonvulsant medications will be closely monitored while your child is on a diet but usually is not reduced. The doctor must see the child at least every three months if not more often so that his growth can be measured and blood and urine tests done to diagnose any medical problems early.
Although it is possible to remain on the ketogenic diet for years your doctor may suggest going off the diet if seizures have been well controlled for some time. Because of the risk of increased seizures if the diet is stopped abruptly the child will normally gradually returning to a normal diet. As with all aspects of the ketogenic diet you should stop the diet is only done with medical supervision.