Epilepsy Dietary Therapy for Children

For some children, a high-protein, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet helps manage epilepsy symptoms when medication alone doesn’t work. Several different diets have been found to be beneficial. If one is recommended for your child, a team that includes a dietitian, neurologist and social worker will tailor a meal plan to accommodate your child’s likes, needs and feeding abilities. Diets must be followed carefully; our team will work closely with you to provide support and information.

Ketogenic diet

 A ketogenic diet is sometimes recommended for children with epilepsy who are being treated with multiple medications but continue to have seizures. The diet includes enough protein for healthy growth, but is very low in carbohydrates and causes the body to produce ketones as it breaks down fat for its primary source of energy. In some cases, the ketogenic diet may be the only option that is effective. Please speak with your child’s primary neurologist regarding the ketogenic diet or to obtain a referral to our clinic for evaluation.

Modified Atkins Diet

The modified Atkins diet is a version of the ketogenic diet that does not have as many restrictions. It is important that the child follow the prescribed daily carbohydrate level. With help from our registered dietitian, you will learn how to effectively count carbohydrates and successfully integrate foods into the diet that align with your family’s preferences, lifestyle and feeding abilities.

Low-glycemic Index Diet

The low-glycemic index diet focuses on the types of carbohydrate consumed, specifically complex vs. simple, to promote steady glucose levels in the blood. Complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index, which means they take longer to break down in the body and allow for more steady release of glucose (energy) into the bloodstream. When paired with a fat source, this diet allows for steady blood sugar/glucose regulation. With help from our registered dietitian, your family and sometimes your child will learn how to effectively use carbohydrate exchange lists.