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Ketogenic Diet for Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet may help decrease your child's seizures if they do not respond to epilepsy medicine. The ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. It causes your child's body to produce ketones (chemicals) that can help decrease seizures. Your child may need to follow this diet for at least 3 months to find out if it helps to decrease his or her seizures. Your child may remain on the diet for about 2 years if it helps to decrease his or her seizures. Your child will gradually be weaned off this diet by a healthcare provider. Some children remain seizure-free after following a ketogenic diet.

What are the different types of ketogenic diets?

There are 4 different types of ketogenic diets. Your child's healthcare provider or dietitian can help choose the best ketogenic diet for him or her. He or she will also help you plan meals for your child. Your child's health will need to be monitored very closely while he or she is on a ketogenic diet.

What side effects may occur with a ketogenic diet?

Your child may have low blood sugar, dehydration, and fatigue. Your child may also have nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Your child's growth rate may slow down. Your child may develop kidney stones if he or she takes certain seizure medicines.

What do I need to know about my child's medicines if he or she follows a ketogenic diet?

What else do I need to know if my child follows a ketogenic diet?

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.