McMaster University

McMaster University

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a treatment that can help many children with seizures. It is a medical therapy requiring the supervision of a specialized dietitian and neurologist. This carefully calculated diet can be quite high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates when compared to a usual diet. Calories are also precisely calculated to support appropriate growth. The diet is not nutritionally complete on its own and will require the use of vitamin and mineral supplementation.

The diet initiation often requires a brief hospital admission. Fine tuning and maintaining the diet to achieve optimal seizure control is monitored on an outpatient basis. The length of time that a child requires ketogenic diet therapy remains undetermined and will need to be discussed with your dietitian and neurologist during regular follow up visits.

A discussion with your pediatric neurologist will help you determine if you or your child is a candidate for ketogenic diet therapy. The ketogenic diet clinic will provide you with the clinical support that your child requires. Recognizing however that adapting to this new diet lifestyle can be difficult, our multidisciplinary team will provide family-centred support. You will have access to the following members of our team:

Should you receive a referral into our Ketogenic Diet Clinic you may journey through several stages before beginning the diet:

1. First Stage — Outpatient Clinic Visit

  • Introduction to the Ketogenic Diet Multidisciplinary Team.
  • Initial Questions and Answers about the diet

2. Second Stage — Outpatient Visit(s)

  • Meeting with dietitian, child life specialist and social worker
  • Goals: Introduction to keto meals and hands on preparation (continued)
  • Identifying and problem solving around issues that may impede adjustment of your child and family onto the diet.
  • Introduce the monitoring expectations of the parent/caregiver.

3. Third Stage — Inpatient Admission

  • Goal: To initiate and clinically monitor the induction of the ketogenic diet

Reinforce the meal preparation and monitoring expectations

4. Fourth Stage – Outpatient Keto Clinic Visit and Phone follow-ups

  • Fine Tuning of the ketogenic diet to optimize seizure control and adjustment to the new diet.

5. Maintenance Stage – Outpatient Keto Clinic Visit

  • Regular outpatient clinic follow-ups with the keto team
  • Medication adjustments

In addition, you have the opportunity to meet other parents and potential keto families through our Parent Information Group that meets regularly.


We recommend the following resources for more information about the ketogenic diet:



The Ketogenic Diet : A Treatment for Children and Others Epilepsy 4rth Edition
John M. Freeman, MD, Eric Kossoff, MD, Jennifer B. Freeman, Millicent T. Kelly, RD, LD
2007, 328 pp Softcover, ISBN 1932603182 / 9781932603187

Keto Kid: Helping Your Child Succeed on the Ketogenic Diet
Deborah Snyder, DO
2006, 159 pp, ISBN 1932603298

Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood 3rd Edition
John M.Freeman, E.P.G. Vining, D.J.Pillas
2002, 395 pp, IBSN 0801870518

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