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What Is A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy?
In epilepsy, a ketogenic diet is thought to reduce seizures. Especially in children and adolescents, but also in adults, this dietary change looks promising. Learn more about the diet benefits and appropriate foods.
Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet For Epilepsy
Ketosis, also often referred to as starvation metabolism, is produced by abstaining from carbohydrates. That fasting has a positive effect on the body has been known for many centuries. According to some well-known records, even Hippocrates has experimented successfully with fasting diets for seizures.
- Usually, the body obtains its energy from sugar. Carbohydrates are also converted into glucose and thus made available to the brain. This is precisely where the cause of an overreaction in the form of uncontrollable seizures, epilepsy, can occur.
- The keto diet largely avoids sugar and carbohydrates. Instead, the diet is based on 35 percent protein and about 60 percent fats.
- With the renunciation of sugar, this energy source is no longer available to the brain. Therefore, the body uses another source, fat. However, brain cells cannot use the fat because a natural barrier prevents it from reaching them.
- Through the fat diet, a fasting diet is imitated, and as a result, the body has to switch to a different strategy for energy production. In the liver, ketone bodies are formed from amino acids. The brain obtains its energy from these. We can detect ketone bodies in a urine sample or blood test.
- The combination of fats and proteins is calculated individually. Here, the proportion of proteins ensures that diet-induced muscle loss is counteracted. Only about 5 percent amounts to the coal hydrate portion of this nourishing form.
- In particular, as studies have shown, children and young people, who react moderately or hardly at all to antiepileptic drugs, achieve success with the fat metabolism diet. Thus seizures occur more rarely to hardly. Similar to medication, this diet is initially used for two years. After a few examinations, the doctor and nutritionist decide how to proceed.
Which Foods Are Suitable For The Keto Diet?
In ketosis, metabolism is not based on sugar but fat. Therefore, almost all foods that are metabolized as glucose are avoided. This may mean that you need to realign your food storage.
- Fats: Fish, meat, seeds, and nuts are good sources of fat. Beef, lamb, or veal, as well as poultry meat and game, are recommended. As well as salmon, herring, and cod. As for seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts are a good choice, as are all kinds of nuts (except peanuts).
- Fruits and fruit juices: Fruits may only be consumed in small quantities. The fructose they contain impedes ketosis. Blueberries, strawberries, currants, gooseberries, and melons, lemons, and cranberries are recommended.
- Vegetables: Sweet-tasting vegetables such as carrots, corn, or potatoes hinder ketosis. Therefore, resort to starch-reduced varieties such as cauliflower, broccoli, celery, zucchini, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, salads of all kinds, and spinach leaves.
- Protein: Dairy products, especially in the full-fat stage, such as cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and cream, serve as your protein sources. In addition, you can consume eggs, fish, shellfish, poultry, and beef.
- Oils: All high-quality, cold-pressed cooking oils are suitable here, preferably in organic quality.
- Binders and baking ingredients: For sauces or soups, you can use carob bean gum or psyllium husk flour, for example. But agar-agar, apple pectin, gelatine, or almond flour are also suitable for veto-friendly cooking and baking.
The Low Carb/High-Fat Keto Diet For Vegans
Those who have already changed their diet to vegan or still want to do so can still eat a ketogenic diet.
- Fats and oils: All high-quality organic cooking oils, soy-based fats, and coconut oil are suitable. In addition, avocados, nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower, pumpkin and pine nuts, and hemp and flax seeds provide essential fatty acids.
- Vegetables: as with the animal-based ketogenic diet, you can almost go all out here. Above-ground, starch-reduced vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, artichokes, most cabbage varieties, sprouts, and sprouting seeds, and asparagus are especially suitable.
- Protein: There is a wide variety of plant-based protein sources that are relatively easy to incorporate into the diet. Tofu, tempeh, soy or coconut yogurt, lupine flour, hemp, almond or coconut flour, and protein powders made from soy, rice, hemp, or peas are worth mentioning here. Unfortunately, they have to do without chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
- Fruit: Especially berry varieties with low carbohydrate content such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and currants can be included in your diet. Lemons, cranberries, and melons are also allowed.
- Chocolate and Cocoa: Eating small amounts of chocolate does not have to contradict the keto diet. Here, look for a cocoa content of at least 70 percent and a low carbohydrate content. Homemade chocolate or hot chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder and almond milk can be a treat.
You can also check our article about “Is Vegetarian Keto Diet Possible?“.