Modified Atkins Diet

The modified Atkins diet is an alternative to the ketogenic diet that can help control seizures.

How is it different from the ketogenic diet ?

Although the foods are very similar, there are key differences between the modified Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet. First, there is no fluid or calorie restriction with the Atkins diet. Also, although fats are strongly encouraged, there are no restrictions on proteins. In addition, foods are not weighed and measured, but carbohydrate counts are monitored by patients and parents. It is also started outside of the hospital without a fast. Lastly, foods can be eaten more freely in restaurants and outside the home, and families (and neurologists!) can do it as well. The diet is a "modified" Atkins diet as it allows for less carbohydrates than traditional Atkins (10-30g/day) and more fat intake. Please remember that no diet should be done without a neurologist and dietitian involved.

Who can it help ?

Preliminary results in a small number of patients suggest that the modified Atkins diet may help some children with intractable seizures.

What can you eat ?

On the modified Atkins diet, children can eat foods high in fat such as bacon, eggs, mayonnaise, butter, hamburger, heavy whipping, and oils. Unlike the ketogenic diet, children can eat more foods and can cheat with some breads and cake products, as long as the total carbohydrates per day remain below the set amount prescribed by the neurologist.

What are the potential risks of the diet ?

  • Weight loss (which may be good!)
  • Some children have had elevated cholesterol
  • Occasionally, the change to this diet and the resultant ketosis can make children feel ill and not want to drink
  • There is also a risk of kidney stones

For all these reasons, the modified Atkins diet should not be done without physician supervision.

Modified Atkins Diet Resources