The ketogenic diet is a form of epilepsy treatment, aimed particularly at children, when seizures cannot be controlled with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).
Becoming increasingly common amongst epilepsy patients this specific diet may help to reduce the number of seizures an individual experiences as well as introduce other positive effects.
So What is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet has been used in the treatment of epilepsy as far back as the 1920s consisting of a high fat, low carb, controlled protein diet. The combination of high protein foods and low carb intake changes the way energy is used in the body producing more ketone bodies as well as lowering glucose levels and improving insulin resistance. This elevated level of ketone in the blood is a state known as ketosis and leads to a reduction in the occurrence of epileptic seizures.
The diet is individualised and structured to provide specific meal plans where foods are weighed and meals should be consumed in their entirety for best results. It is important to note however that this form of treatment for epilepsy must only be followed with the support of an experienced epilepsy specialist or dietitian.
Working Alongside Assistive Technology
Whilst the ketogenic diet comes highly recommended by many parents across the nation it is still important, especially within the initial stages, to ensure the complete safety or your child. Assistive technology is an excellent solution for detecting seizures and in turn ensuring peace of mind night and day for any mum or dad.
In fact in a recent survey carried out by our team, 100% of respondents would recommend assistive technology. When monitoring the risks and activities of those who have epilepsy Alert-it monitors and alarms are both reliable and robust, but most importantly enhance and encourage independence.
Who is The Ketogenic Diet Suitable For?
The decision to undertake this specific diet should not be taken lightly and is considered a medical treatment when at least two suitable medications have been tried and proven not to work.
This established treatment is specifically aimed at children with hard to control epilepsy although some adults may also benefit. And whilst it may not work for everyone it can be tried with a range of seizure types in mind including myoclonic astatic epilepsy and dravet syndrome. For example Research has shown that for children with refractory epilepsy, and taking part in the ketogenic diet for between 6 and 24 months, can see up to a 90% decrease or elimination of seizures.
Does it Really Work?
A Clinical trial taken place at Great Ormond street hospital in 2008 showed that the diet had significant reduced the number of seizures in some children who had previously not responded well to AEDs. The findings continued to show that after 3 months 40% of children experienced reduced seizures by over half and as a result were able to reduce their medication.
However, whilst not all children may benefit from better seizure control they will likely experience other benefits including increased alertness, awareness and responsiveness.
What Types of Food Can You Eat?
Whilst a relatively strict diet there are still plenty of delicious foods and hundreds of ketogenic specific recipes available. A dietitian will usually recommend 75-100 calories and 1-2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. They will also provide you with a detailed meal plan, but for the curious we have listed a brief outline of the foods you should expect to see.
Fats will be the majority of your child?s daily calories intake when they are on the ketogenic diet but you will need to ensure that they receive a good balance of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 throughout the day. We?d suggest plenty of fish such as salmon, tuna or trout.
Saturated and monounsaturated fats such as butter, macadamia nuts, avocado, egg yolk and coconut oil are great choices.
Why not combine these fats and oils and create sauces and dressings to add to your meal?
It is best practice to only opt for organic, grass fed and free range products in order to minimise your bacteria and steroid intake.
- Fish ? catfish, cod, halibut, and mackerel
- shellfish ? clams, oysters, lobster, and crab
- Free range eggs
- Meat ? beef, veal, goat, lamb, pork loin/chops, ham, chicken, and duck
Look out for vegetables which are both leafy greens and grown above ground, as well as organic like the small selection below
- asparagus, avocado, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, garlic, green beans, peppers, spinach, and tomatoes
When purchasing dairy products opt for raw and organic milk products and always opt for full fat products
- Heavy whipping cream
- Hard and soft cheese ? cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, and mascarpone
- Sour cream
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are best roasted as they remove any anti-nutrients and are also high in omega 6 fatty acids.
- Macadamias, walnuts, and almonds are best for low carb count
- Cashews and pistachios whilst higher in carb content are great in small quantities
More Help and Information
When deciding to try the ketogenic diet it is extremely important to work alongside a dietitian or other professional. It is also often the case that this lifestyle change sees its first few days in hospital where you child can be monitored.
Whether you are considering the keto diet or not you may also be in need of assistive technology to ensure the safe keeping of your child throughout the night. Our range of Ep-it alarms have been designed to detect signs of an oncoming seizure and in doing so providing you peace of mind that you shall be alerted at any point throughout the night. For more information and help give our friendly and experienced team a call on 0845 217 9552 or 01530 231215.