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Epilepsy Diet

Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder that causes seizures. Epilepsy largely occurs in children and adults over 65.It is notorious for being very unpredictable. Epilepsy can also cause brain damage. It is such a disorder that it is usually controlled and not cured. Epilepsy is usually controlled by medication but there is also diet that can be followed for better results.
The epilepsy diet for adults and epilepsy diet for children are rather different in a few things.

The epilepsy diet is usually only for children as it is easier to monitor their food. Following an epilepsy diet for adults is very rare. The epilepsy diet is a ketogenic diet or a high protein diet. It is a diet which involves periods of fasting followed by a limited intake of liquids and food that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This epilepsy diet is used for treatment of epilepsy in children. But the diet is a difficult diet to follow.

This epilepsy diet for adults and children was developed in the 1920s. This diet has gained popularity as a treatment for epilepsy as it does not involve medications and therefore, has fewer pharmacological side effects on the patient. It follows the principle that when the body is given fewer carbohydrates, it is compelled to burn fat to subsist. This process is called ketosis hence the ketogenic diet. How this exactly helps epilepsy is not completely clear as yet. If your child gets more than 2 seizures in a week or epilepsy that is difficult to control, you could ask your doctor if the epilepsy diet would suit your child or you could also ask recommendation for some epilepsy diet pills.

The epilepsy diet, also called a modified Atkins Diet, has a plan where 15 grams of carbohydrates are included. The remaining calories come from fat which include eggs, meat heavy cream and oil.  This diet showed a fifty per cent reduction in the seizures the children were having, according to some research studies. A regular ketogenic diet provides 75 to 100 calories for every 2.2 pounds and 4 grams of fat for every gram of carbohydrates. In case of this diet for epilepsy, it is maintained very strictly. Any cheating can lead to a reversal of all earlier efforts. Even ingesting a few cookie crumbs is considered cheating.

The diet begins with a fast, and it is usually begun under medical supervision. Slowly, with monitoring, calorie intake in increased. The epilepsy foods to eat include fats like animal protein, butter and heavy cream, oils. The epilepsy foods to avoid are cereals, breads and grains. Typically children get to hate this diet as it involves eating a lot of cream and butter. Being on this epilepsy diet long term has been known to cause other health problems like cholesterol, constipation, kidney problems, pancreatitis, gall stones and dehydration. Research has not yet proven why this ketogenic diet works for epilepsy. This has also added to the speculation that it does not necessarily work. Some research has shown that in a fixed group, up to 33 per cent of the patients became completely seizure free. All the participant patients had a reduction of 50 per cent in their seizures. Some initial studies showed that even adults responded well but it is not currently being used as a treatment for adults.

The usually prescribed to children who have tried other methods of treatment and not seen great rates of success.  Sometimes the dosage of the medication is reduced as improvement is seen in the appearance of the seizures. If medicines with the combination of the diet do not work, then sometimes surgery is considered as an alternative.
Submitted on January 16, 2014