Diets for Treating Epilepsy

Studies have shown that, in some cases, children may experience fewer seizures if they stay on a strict diet rich in fats and low in carbohydrates. This unusual diet, called the ketogenic diet, causes the body to break down fats instead of carbohydrates to survive. This creates a condition called ketosis.

One study of 150 children whose seizures were poorly controlled by medication found that about one-fourth of these children had a 90 percent or better decrease in seizures when they followed the ketogenic diet. Another half of the group had a 50 percent or better decrease in their seizures. It was also discovered that some children could discontinue the ketogenic diet after several years and remain seizure-free.

The ketogenic diet is not easy to maintain, as it requires following a diet with an unusual and limited range of foods. Possible side effects include poor growth or other problems due to nutritional deficiencies and kidney stones. Any patient on the ketogenic diet should be monitored closely by a dietician with experience managing patients on the ketogenic diet. 

Find Support

Have questions about epilepsy?

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to parents, caregivers, and professionals about their experiences with epilepsy.



Mayo Clinic
Epilepsy Treatment and Drugs
Epilepsy Treatment 101

Epilepsy Foundation
The Decision to Treat