The ketogenic diet is a diet with a strict ratio between fat and protein intake.
Many forms of the ketogenic diet have been successfully used to treat children whose seizures are not responding to medication; however it is not usually used as a first-option treatment.
About 4 out of 10 children on the ketogenic diet have half the number of seizures they had before being on the diet. Some children have an even greater reduction.
The ketogenic diet may also have some positive side effects, including improvements in mood, behaviour, attention, and social functioning. Improved mental alertness and behaviour have been seen in some children, even if seizure control hasn’t been obtained.
However, some families notice mood changes such as hyperactivity or irritability.
Like most forms of medical treatment, the diet does have side effects, mostly gastrointestinal. Occasionally severe side effects are experienced, so close monitoring by a dietician and doctor is advised.