The ketogenic diet for epilepsy

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The ketogenic diet for epilepsy

According to doctors, diet for epilepsy for adults and children plays an important role, as well as medication. Using dietary food can improve the patient’s health and reduce the number of seizures in both adults and toddlers.

Nutritional therapy for epilepsy

Epilepsy is a serious chronic disease of the nervous system. In terms of its frequency, it is perhaps the most common. According to some reports, this disease affects up to 40 million people in the world. Moreover, this disease occurs not only in humans, but also in some animals – dogs, cats. The people call this disease epilepsy. The essence of this ailment is that the patient’s body is predisposed to sudden seizures. 

Why do seizures occur? Scientists have shown that a seizure occurs when all neurons are synchronously excited in one of the areas of the cerebral cortex. The cause of this phenomenon can be both trauma, bad habits and poor heredity.

Interestingly, various diets for the treatment of epilepsy have been used since antiquity. Even in biblical times, such a disease was treated by fasting. And only recently, scientists have shown that using a ketogenic diet for epilepsy reduces the number of seizures by up to 50% almost from the first day of use, especially in children. This is evidenced by the numerous reviews of those patients who have tried it on themselves.

Why a ketogenic diet?

So what is the ketogenic diet for epilepsy? This is a special balanced menu based on foods that are high in fat and low in protein and carbohydrates. It is prescribed only by a physician and supervised by a nutritionist. Such a diet must be adhered to very strictly, because any deviation from it (even such as a larger volume of fluid consumed or the use of medicines containing carbohydrates in their composition) can lead to a resumption of seizures.

If proper nutrition of a healthy person is based on a ratio of 1: 1: 4, where one part of fats and proteins and four parts of carbohydrates, then ketogenic nutrition in epilepsy significantly changes this ratio, and it will look like 4: 1, where 4 is fats , and 1 – proteins and carbohydrates. This nutritional system has proven itself especially well in relation to the treatment of children. Especially those whose condition cannot be stabilized by various antiepileptic drugs. As for adults, the ketogenic diet for epilepsy in adults is prescribed less often, but it takes place.

Such a diet begins, as a rule, in a hospital with a 24-48 hour fast. Then the patient is offered those foods that are high in fat and special ketogenic cocktails. Gradually, the ratio of fats, proteins and carbohydrates is adjusted to the desired proportions. Why does the initiation of such feeding occur in the hospital? It’s very simple – doctors monitor the number of seizures in children, and track whether there are fewer of them.

Contraindications for a ketogenic diet 

Naturally, this dietary scheme has its own contraindications. And there are not so few of them. Such food is categorically not suitable for children from birth to one year. This is understandable – the organs that are not fully formed will simply not be able to withstand such a load.

In addition, the contraindications for this diet are as follows:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • metabolic disorders (primarily diabetes mellitus);
  • malfunctions of the cardiovascular system;
  • diseases in which cholesterol plaques are deposited in the vessels.

Every patient who practices such a diet should keep a diary where attacks of illness should be noted (parents can do this for children). Based on such a diary, the doctor will be able to determine the duration of the diet.

Side effects may develop while using this diet, for example:

  • stool disorders;
  • decreased body tone, lethargy, apathy;
  • changes in the blood.

In a diet for epilepsy in adults who are contraindicated in such a diet, you should exclude from your menu the intake of spicy, salty, smoked dishes, as well as indigestible foods. It is necessary to significantly limit the amount of fluid consumed (up to 60 ml per kg of body weight per day).

Ketogenic diet foods

In the patient’s menu with a ketogenic diet, foods rich in fats should be added, first of all. It can be:

  • fat milk;
  • sour cream;
  • fatty cottage cheese;
  • cream;
  • butter;
  • eggs;
  • mayonnaise;
  • olive oil;
  • fatty fish;
  • meat (pork, beef, chicken, turkey).

Children and adults who eat a ketogenic diet usually have a constant feeling of hunger for the first three to four weeks. But over time, the body gets used to eating in this way, and the feeling of hunger disappears. At the same time, it was noted that the higher the number of calories contained in the menu, the more acute hunger the child experiences, while in adults such manifestations are less noticeable.

Ketogenic diet – menu

Such a diet for epilepsy in adults and children begins with starvation. At this time, you can only drink water.

Important! The diet must be prescribed by a dietitian or your health care provider. The ketogenic diet menu is presented for informational purposes only.  

An example of a ketogenic diet menu :  

The first day.

  1. 2 eggs, tea or coffee with heavy cream, 1 tsp. butter.
  2. 2 boiled sausages. 1 tsp mayonnaise;
  3. Cottage cheese with sour cream.
  4. Boiled chicken breast, butter (1 tsp), beans garnish, tea with cream.

Second day.

  1. Bread and butter, coffee with cream.
  2. Boiled turkey, cucumber salad with green onions, seasoned with vegetable oil.
  3. Cabbage soup with sour cream. Fried pork meat, tea with cream.
  4. Scrambled eggs with sausage, a slice of bread.

Day three:

  1. Hard-boiled 2 eggs, tea with cream.
  2. 150 gr. boiled beef.
  3. Turkey fillet, tomato salad with mayonnaise.
  4. Boiled fatty fish with asparagus garnish, coffee with cream.

Snacks are recommended between meals on a ketogenic diet. These are mainly products such as fermented baked milk or yogurt. Sweets, starchy foods, potatoes, cereals, vegetables and fruits should be practically excluded.

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