At the Children’s National Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy Clinic, our team works with you and your child to determine if specialized diets will help lessen or eliminate seizures that are difficult to control. Additionally, these therapies can be used to treat some metabolic conditions.
Dietary therapies include:
- Ketogenic diet
- Modified Atkins diet (MAD)
- Low glycemic index therapy
Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy
The ketogenic diet for epilepsy is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate dietary program. It is used when a child’s seizures cannot be controlled with medication or if he or she continues to experience intolerable side effects. In fact, in at least 38% of patients, the ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet have decreased seizures by more than half 1. In some cases, the diet has eliminated seizures in patients all together.
At Children's National, our patients and families have access to a multidisciplinary team who assists with adjusting to–and maintaining a lifestyle on–a ketogenic diet. Dietitians with specific expertise in ketogenic diets will work with you, helping to explain nutritional information and planning a daily diet with specific amounts of fats, protein and carbohydrates. The diet is very specialized and must be carried out under the care, supervision and guidance of trained medical specialists, so the expert knowledge of our dietitians is very important, as is their teamwork with our neurologists.
Modified Atkins Diet
The modified Atkins diet is also used for children who may have seizures or specific metabolic conditions. In contrast to the ketogenic diet, the MAD has a different ratio of grams of fat to grams of non-fat (protein and carbohydrates).
Low Glycemic Index Therapy
This diet allows higher carbohydrate intake than the ketogenic or modified Atkins diet; however, it limits the type of carbohydrates to those that are low in glycemic index – meaning that they lead to lower and more stable blood sugar levels.
Contact Our Team
If you would like to speak to our team to see if these dietary therapies may be right for your child, please call 202-476-3611 to make an appointment. Please complete the intake form (en español), and if possible, email it to us prior to your appointment.
At your first appointment, you will meet with a neurologist and a dietitian who have expertise in these dietary therapies. They will discuss with you how these diets can be implemented.
1. Martin K, Jackson CF, Levy RG, Cooper PN. Ketogenic diet and other dietary treatments for epilepsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;2:CD001903.