A ketogenic diet isn’t just for weight loss, it’s also long been used to treat epilepsy. The ketogenic diet has a lot in common with the famous Atkins diet, in that both of them restrict your intake of carbohydrates. Generally, our body’s main source of fuel is sugar, derived by breaking down carbohydrates. When we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, our body is forced to break down fat and use this as fuel for energy instead. This diet is often used for children who have uncontrollable seizures, that aren’t reducing with medication. In over half of the cases, the frequency of their seizures significantly reduced. Adults find it more difficult to stick to this diet, but it has the same benefits for them too
The Main Features Of This Diet
A pure ketogenic diet isn’t the best idea if you’re doing it for your child. Ketogenic diets usually restrict protein intake as well, but your child needs a lot of protein to grow. Because of this, a combination of an Atkins and ketogenic diet works best. While the exact measurements will vary according to your body weight and age, in general it’s important to not exceed over 15 grams of carbohydrates in a day. You can use as much fat as you like, provided they’re not trans fats. Butter, cheese and cream are all allowed as part of this diet. Since this diet is modified for epilepsy and not weight loss, you don’t have to restrict your calorie intake.
What to Eat For:
If breakfast usually consisted of cereal and bread, it’s time to change that. The best part about this diet is that, barring carbs, you can eat as much of almost everything. Traditional breakfast foods like eggs, bacon and sausages are all allowed as part of this diet. If you absolutely can’t do without bread, you can include a slice of low-carb bread to your breakfast. Make sure it doesn’t put you over the 15 gram a day rule however. If you love pancakes and waffles, try using alternatives to regular white flour. Coconut flour or almond flour work just as well and aren’t sources of carbohydrates. One regular breakfast item you will have to eliminate though, is fruit juice. Fruit juices are pure carbohydrates and sugars, two things you can’t have on this diet.
Lunch And Dinner
Lunch and dinner are usually tricky when you first go on this diet because they tend to be centered around carbohydrates. On a modified Atkins diet, your meals will have to center around vegetables and proteins instead. You can eat chicken, fish, beef, pretty much any meat you want. If you’re not a meat-eater, you can use plant proteins like soy instead. When choosing vegetables, look for the ones that are low in carbs. Starchy, carbohydrate-rich potatoes are a strict no-no. Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and squash are great low-carb vegetables you can pick.
Say goodbye to carb-rich snacks like chips and pretzels. On a modified Atkins diet, you will need to snack smart. This also means you can’t use fruit as a snack option because they’re full of carbs and sugar. Instead, bake yourself banana bread or muffins with a non-carb flour like almond. You can also bake kale until they’re crispy to make kale chips. Roasted and salted soybeans are also a delicious snack option. Plain yogurt also makes for an Atkins-approved snack because it has no carbohydrates. Stay away from flavored versions because they come packed with sugars.
Never put yourself or your child on this diet without first consulting a medical professional. Your doctor will tell you if this diet is appropriate for you and how you should go about it. Most doctors introduce this diet gradually to get a person’s body used to it. People on this diet are also monitored for at least two months to see if the diet is working against seizures.