Ketogenic Diet

Ask your doctor to call (608) 890-6500 to refer your child to UW Health's Pediatric Epilepsy program.

For children whose seizures are not controlled with medication, a ketogenic diet may be a helpful form of therapy.


Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that alter the body's metabolism to produce ketones, which puts the patient into a state called ketosis. The state of ketosis has been linked to reduced seizure frequency in some children with epilepsy. Studies have shown that approximately 50 percent of patients on this diet experience a 50 percent or greater reduction in seizures.


How It Can Help


Meet children who were treated with the ketogenic diet:


Read Brandi's story

Read Parker's story

Our specially-trained physicians and registered dietitians can offer support and guidance on how to incorporate this therapy safely and effectively into your child's treatment plan. Though very popular in the media these days, there are medical risks that are important to monitor.


Following the ketogenic diet also requires a personal commitment from parents and their child that can impact the whole family, but you won’t have to go it alone. Our registered dieticians who are specialists with the ketogenic diet provide individualized nutrition education, meal planning resources and recipes.


We recommend that parents and patients first make a three-month commitment to see if the diet works. If a ketogenic diet controls or reduces your child's seizures, we ask for a two-year commitment on the plan to monitor the diet's effectiveness. After the two-year period is over, we would then work with you to wean your child from the diet to determine if it is still necessary. Many children retain the benefits of Ketogenic Therapy even after stopping it.


3 Forms of Ketogenic Therapy

  • Classic: The most restrictive and requires very specific measurements of food and nutrients but is the best-documented in its effectiveness for reducing seizures.
  • Modified: Similar to the "Atkins Diet" (but not quite the same), this plan is less restrictive and offers wider choices.
  • Low-Glycemic Index: Similar to the "South Beach Diet" (but not quite the same), this is the least restrictive and was originally developed to lower glucose levels in people with diabetes mellitus. 

More About the Ketogenic Diet