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Pediatricians use high fat, low carb ketogenic diet for epilepsy relief

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Life can prove challenging for children diagnosed with epilepsy. As they grow, controlling their seizures can sometimes be problematic for everyone involved: Parents, kids and pediatricians. Now a new study shows that children with epilepsy can find relief from a special high-fat low-carbohydrate diet, reported the Taipei Times on Dec. 24.

Physicians of pediatric neurology at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital evaluated children on the food therapy plan, called a ketogenic diet, for more than a year. Of those youngsters, 30 percent to 70 percent of them had their seizures reduced by more than 50 percent. Moreover, 10 percent to 20 percent became seizure free, the studies revealed.

In addition to providing children with high amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrate, the ketogenic diet used for this study contained adequate amounts of protein. These diets originally were designed to provide the side effects of fasting, which had been found to control seizures as well.

Ketogenic diets vary in their percentage of fat to carbohydrates to protein. For example, some use a ratio of four to one, with 90 percent of the energy from a meal sourced from fat. Other types include medium chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diets, modified Atkins diets and low glycemic index diets, all of which have been shown to provide varying amounts of success in treating epilepsy.

The Chang Gung Memorial Hospital pediatricians noted that they found the MCT ketogenic diets to be most helpful in the majority of cases.

In addition to being used as a treatment for epilepsy, some obesity experts are advocating ketogenic diets for weight loss. In both cases, the diet involves increasing the percentage of fat in the diet, or measuring the ketones produced when fat is broken down by the body for energy. Learn about one expert's discussion on how to use high fat ketogenic diets for weight loss by clicking here.

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