By: Nikki Nies
While the title of this blog post is “Ketogenic Diets”, the word ‘diet’ may be presumed to be synonymous with the Atkins diet. Yet, the word ‘diet’ may be misperceived in this instance. Therefore, for this post, diet means medical nutrition therapy. Those with nervous system or neurological disorders (i.e. epilepsy) could benefit from ketogenic consumption.
The ketogenic diet is comprised of high fat, low carbohydrate intake. Since ketone bodies behave as inhibitory neurotransmitters, mild dehydration is needed to prevent dilution of ketones. A 4:1 ratio of fat to non-fat grams is recommended. A ketogenic diet contains 70-90% fat and the remainder as protein and carbohydrates.
One will also need calcium, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B6 and B12 supplements. MCTs are more ketogenic, more rapidly metabolized and absorbed. MCTs alleviate some of the obstacles of compliance and acceptance. Patients and clients should be aware that this high fat diet can lead to slower growth, even with overall calorie restriction, which is supposed to increase efficacy of ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet mimics the fasting state and has been found to successfully treat seizures. However, it may be unpalatable. Stimulants, like coffee, tea, colas and alcohol are to be limited. With an adequate amount of fiber and fluid, this can aid in the relief of constipation. A gradual change is diet is advised and it’s important to note cough syrups, laxatives and certain medications can contain large amounts of carbohydrates, so one should monitor interactions with the diet.
Furthermore, with a high fat diet, this can lead to nausea and vomiting. A small drink of fruit juice can mediate such symptoms. If you’re in the need to increase long chain triglycerides, by adding sour cream, whipped cream, butter, margarine and/or oils can be added to desserts, casseroles and entrees. To use MCT, it’s advised to use in salad dressings, fruit juice, sandwich spreads (i.e. guacamole) and casseroles.
If you’re apprehensive about the ketogenic diet, a low glycemic index is considered a less strict route, with more liberal total carbohydrate intake. If hyperuricemia or hypercalciuria, increase fluid intake and consider using diuretics.
Photo Credit:Lurie Children’s