The debate around the benefits Ketogenic diet has gained traction in recent years especially among adults seeking to manage type-2 diabetes or lose weight. In fact, there is a plethora of information on low carb diet and its benefits. Initially, Keto diet-also known as low carb diet was developed for children with intractable seizure as therapy for antiepileptic drugs.
The Ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s. It is a diet with high carbohydrate and moderate protein and low carbohydrate. But the question is, should kids do keto? Different schools of thoughts hold contrasting arguments to answer these questions. Proponents of Keto diet say that it can boost weight loss, stave off hunger, and combat cravings. On the flip side, the opponents argue keto diet has adverse effects on kids especially those not suffering from seizures.
The diets should contain 60-80 percent of calories made of fats and 20-30 grams consisting of carbohydrates. The goal is to use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates hence putting the body in the state of Ketosis. According to a study in 2017 about diabetes and metabolic syndrome, people who followed a Ketogenic diet for ten weeks improved their hemoglobin A1C and weight loss even without exercise.
Similarly, a 2018 study in the journal Pediatrics, Keto diet can help children with type 1 diabetes to control their blood glucose levels better. In addition, studies have shown promising results in regards to the low carb benefits for type 2 diabetes, chronic headaches, traumatic brain injury(TBI), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis. There also scanty data that suggest that the diet plan may be beneficial for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients.
The research is however clear on kids with epileptic seizures. According to studies, 50-60 percent of children on Ketogenic diet experience 50-60 percent in their seizures. In fact, 15 percent of the children are seizure free after six months on the diet.
Is Keto safe for kids?
You may have considered Keto diet if your kid is overweight or if you believe it is a healthy diet plan. However, following a Ketogenic diet for kids with seizure is an onerous task. According to Clinical Nutrition Research in 2016, once kids are admitted to the hospital, they are given nutritional assessments and meal plan after meeting with the dietician. The follow-up plan and visits take place for two years at regular intervals.
However, for children without seizures, there is scarce evidence of Keto diet benefits. In fact, there might be more risks associated with this diet. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, kids should take 130 grams of carbohydrate daily.
It recommends that 45-65 of their calories be made of carbohydrates. Fibers which are a type of carbohydrates help children to keep steady blood sugar levels and help them feel satiated. Carbohydrates provide crucial nutrients and energy which essentially growth and development.
Doing away with a whole food group can cause detrimental effects in the body of a child. For instance, may affect their concentration and make them irritable and sluggish. According to a study in Clinical nutrition research, Keto diet can cause vomiting, nausea, constipation, weak bones, kidney stones, and increased triglycerides levels.
Even children with seizures follow a careful plan when on a Ketogenic plan where they eventually embark on a balanced diet. Hence the Ketogenic diet doesn’t seem to be a healthy diet even for obese kids. It is, however, prudent to do your due diligence and consult your pediatric nutritionist to concoct a healthy diet which provides all nutritional needs of the body.