I am a huge proponent of food as complementary medicine. I’ve not only seen the turnaround in my daughter after implementing Ketogenic and Modified Atkins Diets but have also helped numerous other families to use food to help manage their child’s epilepsy. What I offer through diet and nutrition is designed to complement traditional medication-based treatments.

Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy

A proper Ketogenic Diet should only ever be used under the guidance of the hospital and its specialist dieticians due to the side effects and severe impacts it can have on a child if not handled correctly.

A Ketogenic diet for epilepsy is Keto in its purest form, consisting of 90% fat with the remaining 10% for carbs and protein. Apart from lacking the nutritional elements growing kids typically need (particularly protein), this diet can have other side effects including constipation, fatigue, hair loss and kidney stones.

After implementing the Ketogenic diet we saw a phenomenal 50% reduction in the frequency of seizures in our daughter. In practice it was very hard to implement, she was basically asked to eat buckets of butter with eggs. It became difficult to get her to eat and the side effects were severe. We wanted to maintain the progress without these negatives which is why we switched to a Modified Atkins Diet.

Modified Atkins Diet For Epilepsy

A high-fat Modified Atkins Diet provides all of the benefits of the strict Ketogenic diet while allowing room for the protein and carbohydrates kids need to support their growth and development. It’s also significantly more palatable!

A 2015 study showed that the use of a high-fat Modified Atkins Diet in people with epilepsy resulted in a 48% reduction in seizures. In practice, we saw the same benefits from the Modified Atkins Diet in our daughter as we had with Keto. I’m a big proponent of its use in children with epilepsy for the excellent results it provides as well as the nutritional benefits.

As an experienced nutritionist, I was able to design a diet that embraced the high-fat style of eating while avoiding the excessive use of high-fat inflammatory foods like dairy. It’s these simple tweaks and guidance I offer to parents looking to implement the Modified Atkins Diet to support their child through epilepsy.

Other Dietary Considerations For Epilepsy

Given what we know about the gut-brain connection, it has been hypothesised that where there is inflammation in the gut there may also be inflammation in the brain. For this reason, I typically advise the removal of overly processed foods, eating a low-allergen diet, and examination of any intolerances or food allergies children with epilepsy may have.

  • Studies have shown a high incidence of allergy to cow’s milk in epileptic children.[1]
  • Coeliac disease has been found to be more common in epileptic patients than controls, so removing gluten is a great place to start. Typically the sooner gluten is removed from the diet in relation to the beginning of the seizures, the better its impact will be. [2]
  • There is evidence for removing artificial flavouring and sweeteners such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in children with epilepsy. [3]
  • There is evidence that Low Glycemic Index (GI) diets may have positive outcomes for children with epilepsy. [4]

For more information, check out my Important Dietary Interventions For Epilepsy post.

Sonya Reynolds, nutritionist and wellness coach portrait

About Sonya 

Sonya Reynolds is a Sydney-based degree certified Nutritionist and Life Coach with over 16 years of experience. Sonya uses a holistic approach to help her clients achieve their health and wellbeing goals by combining natural nutrition and wellness coaching.

Sonya provides holistic online nutrition and coaching consultation to clients in Sydney and throughout Australia.