Controlling Seizures Through Specialized Diets
Specialized diets can help some children achieve seizure control when anti-seizure medications are not effective. These diets include the ketogenic diet and the modified Atkins diet, both of which are high in fat, low in carbohydrates and have a moderate amount of protein.
These diets may benefit children with epilepsies who have not responded to several different seizure medicines, children who aren't surgical candidates due to the location of the seizure focus or other factors, and children who have specific conditions including:
- Lennox Gastaut syndrome
- Infantile spasms (West syndrome)
- Rett syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis complex
- Dravet syndrome
- Doose syndrome
- GLUT-1 deficiency
These types of diets cause the body to burn fat for energy rather than relying solely on carbohydrates for energy. No one knows for sure why these diets are effective for some people with epilepsy. But studies show that up to two-thirds of children who follow one of these diets are helped by it. Some eventually may be able to decrease the dose of their anti-seizure medications or discontinue their medications altogether.
Dietitians at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center have extensive experience in helping families who want to start a ketogenic or Modified Atkins Diet. They work closely with patients and families to create a meal plan that is as normal as possible so that kids can still enjoy eating and participate in special events, such as birthday parties.
Our team monitors children closely for possible side effects of the diets, such as constipation, and are available to answer questions and provide support over the long term.