The “classic” ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps to control seizures in some people with epilepsy. It is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian. It is usually used in children with seizures that do not respond to medications. It is stricter than the modified Atkins diet, requiring careful measurements of calories, fluids, and proteins. Foods are weighed and measured.
How does it work?
The name ketogenic means that it produces ketones in the body. (keto = ketone; genic = producing) Ketones are formed when the body uses fat for its source of energy. Usually the body uses carbohydrates (such as sugar, bread, pasta) for its fuel. Because the ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, fats become the primary fuel instead. The body can work very well on ketones (and fats).
Ketones are not dangerous. They can be detected in the urine, blood, and breath. Ketones are one of the more likely mechanisms of action of the diet, with higher ketone levels often leading to improved seizure control. In general, the diet can always be considered as long as there are no clear metabolic or mitochondrial reasons not to use it. The diet is sometimes started to help reduce or even stop anti-seizure drugs. However, that does not always occur – often it is a “partnership” between drugs and food to help reduce seizures that works. Our specialists will work with you to determine if this treatment is a good option for you and will be here to assist you through each stage of your therapy.
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