by Dr Mercola
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 American children and young adults ages 6 to 19 are obese. While several different factors can contribute to obesity, there’s no denying that a poor diet plays a major role in the alarming epidemic. If you’re not on the ketogenic diet, you’ve likely heard of it. The popularity of keto has soared in recent years, and for good reason.
A ketogenic diet is a dietary approach that focuses on minimal carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high healthy fat consumption. Research shows it can help fight inflammation, lower insulin levels, reduce appetite and increase weight loss, among many other benefits.
While carbohydrates can help fuel a growing child, the problem is that too many children are eating the wrong kinds of carbohydrates — they’re loading up on sugary cereals, chips, candy, greasy fast food meals and other processed foods that contain dangerous amounts of sugar, trans fat and artificial ingredients that can lead to obesity and many other serious health problems. Shaping your child’s eating habits while they’re still young is an extremely important part of helping them achieve a healthy lifestyle in years to come.
So can a ketogenic diet help obese children safely reach a healthy weight? The research says yes. But a ketogenic diet created for a child may look different from a ketogenic diet for an adult. Parents wanting to help their obese children return to health by following a ketogenic diet should work closely with a health care professional to ensure the plan is followed safely and the child does not suffer from any nutrient deficiencies or other medical issues while following a keto diet.
Obesity is far from the only health condition a ketogenic diet can benefit. The keto diet is used today as an effective alternative therapy for epileptic children, to help reduce seizures. It has also been used as a treatment for children with Lennox Gastaut syndrome, Glucose transporter type-1 deficiency, Dravet syndrome and Pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency — conditions in which the body isn’t able to utilize glucose efficiently.