The latest craze right now is the Keto diet. People love this high-fat low carb regimen and most people jumping on this bandwagon are doing so to lose weight, but if you are epileptic that isn’t why you want to try it. What many don’t know is that the Keto diet was developed to treat epilepsy and now it can be used for various medical reasons under the supervision of a doctor. So you may be wondering if you should try this diet to control your seizures. In fact, an epileptic friend may have mentioned it and now you are ready to dive in. Before you try this diet here are somethings you need to know and consider.
- Consult your Doctor before jumping on the bandwagon!
This is not a diet you should just do, although with all the keto branded health coaches out there it can be tempting. This is something that you need to discuss with your doctor first. Why? Because not all doctors like to prescribe Keto as a treatment. Most doctors won’t even consider this as a form of treatment until medication fails and even then some would rather test for brain surgery or a vns implant first. You see using this diet as treatment requires monitoring you extra close and most won’t do it unless they team up with a dietitian or nutritionist to help them treat you with this way of eating. They will need to run numerous regular blood tests and more regular check-ups will be required while on this diet.
2. Success Rates Vary…A Lot
You may have read or heard some amazing epilepsy success stories with Keto and you can’t wait to be one of them, but you need to slow down. While yes, Keto can be successful in helping to control seizures it isn’t right for every epileptic. Depending on the kind of epilepsy you have and the kinds of seizures you have will determine how effective this way treatment will be for you. For some it’s a miracle and they can’t help but recommend it to everyone because of the good it’s done for them, but for others it just doesn’t work. For example, when I asked my own neurologist about this diet as a form of treatment before Keto was even a thing, he didn’t hesitate to say no. He said that he had no reason to believe this diet would even work with the kind of epilepsy I had and with the health risks involved he didn’t want to attempt it.
3. Keto has its risks.
It can be hard to see a downside to keto when media is bombarding us with all these positive results and officially branding it as a healthy way of eating. Except that Keto has some serious health risks you need to consider and ask your doctor about before you start it. Keto is extremely bad for diabetics. For diabetics it can be deadly and should be avoided as a lifestyle. It is also extremely dangerous for those with a family history of heart disease. This could cause a fatal heart attack in someone with heart problems. Not to mention that if you are on this long term and on a more restrictive version that eliminates all vegetable and fruits then you may also be looking at possible renal failure as well; as some natural sugars are needed for your vital organs to function properly. Those who follow keto are also at higher risk of cancer as well. All these things need to be considered and discussed with your doctor before trying this out yourself.
4. There Are Different Versions of Keto
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that with Keto all you have to do is eat a lot of fat and cut down the carbs, but it is much more complicated than that. What many people don’t realize is that their around 4 or 5 versions of Keto. They vary from extremely restrictive to restrictive. This is a diet where you can’t have an abundance of cheat days if you are using for medical reasons. You’ll need to stick to it to have the desired effects. After talking with a doctor and dietitian you may end up on a very strict version where all fruits, vegetables, and grains are off limits. This can be incredibly hard to follow and make you feel miserable too. Not to mention that on the more restrictive versions you’ll likely end up on supplements to compensate for all the vitamins and minerals your body is no longer consuming. Thankfully these days there are modified less restrictive versions that do allow you to eat a limited amount of fruit, vegetables, and maybe even a smidgen of grains. Chances are you’ll need to once again talk to your doctor about the different versions of Keto and which one would be the right one for you.
5. It’s Usually Not A Permanent Fix
When doctors do decide to prescribe Keto as a treatment they don’t like making it a permanent lifestyle change for the risks mentioned earlier. It’s a very real worry that in the long term this could destroy your health. So when it is prescribed usually they prefer to wean a patient off after a couple years in favor of a new treatment or in hopes the effects of the diet will have a permanent effect without the diet. Whether or not this diet becomes a long term fixture in your life should really be discussed at length with your doctor.
In closing I urge you not to make the decision to try Keto as treatment rashly or on your own. Please talk to your doctor at length about benefits versus risks before you start this diet. Make sure the proper health precautions are being taken. I do want to add this is not meant to insult anyone’s lifestyle choice. It is just meant as an informational guide with