Is the Keto Diet Safe For Kids?
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

Is the Keto Diet Safe For Kids?

Benefits and Side Effects of the Keto Diet

By now, you probably will have heard of the keto diet. It is cropping up all over the world and has a lot of benefits, but is it beneficial for children? This article looks to answer this question.

Today, it seems almost like you can’t find anybody who is not on a ketogenic diet. So many people out there are giving it a go, celebrities are talking about the best keto supplement to try, and even children are contemplating it. The popularity of this high-fat and low-carb diet has led some parents to question whether it is a healthy option for kids.

The idea behind keto is that you receive more calories from fat than from carbohydrates. This allows the body to reach a natural metabolic state called ketosis, whereby the body burns fat reserves instead of burning carbohydrates for fuel. The result is that you can lose all that fat around your body. So is it beneficial for kids? We’ve heard all about things like keto diet and Parkinson’s disease relief, but how does it help with children? Is the keto diet healthy? Are there any benefits and side effects? 

Great for helping teenagers lose weight

One of the most promising things about the ketogenic plan is that it can help obese teenagers to shed their excess weight. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old – keto diet and weight loss go hand in hand. In fact, a number of studies have shown that keto is a lot more effective in adolescent weight loss than low-calorie or low-fat diets. 

Tape measure
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Child obesity is a big problem, and the health benefits of losing weight are overwhelming. There is evidence that teenagers get profits from this kind of restrictive diet, plus it needn’t be necessarily boring and difficult to stick to. Every parent knows that it is difficult to get their child to eat, but not on this diet. It’s possible to eat small amounts of dark chocolate on a keto diet, and you can even purchase keto diet ice cream! 

However, the side-effects of weight loss for young children can be harmful. If children are losing too much weight, particularly at their early stages of development, then this can lead to further problems. We would not recommend this diet for the little ones who can barely walk! Save it for later.

Children will feel less hungry

Because of the large amount of fat consumed, children will often feel much less hungry when on this diet and will, therefore, eat less unhealthy snacks. This is one of the key benefits of the keto diet for children because snacking and putting on more calories can lead to weight gain, and this has serious consequences for young children. 

However, children may experience some side effects at the beginning as they have to wean themselves off certain foods. It can be difficult at the start and takes time to get used to, so expect to hear the young ones frequently moaning when they can’t have their frosted chocolate cake! Even though you may hear your child complain, they just have to stick with it. Usually, it takes around two weeks to get into ketosis if a proper meal plan is stuck to.

Child helping
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Children need time to adjust

A common side effect is that your child may feel lethargic or sleepy. This is one of the major problems with the keto diet, but it improves over time. It is best to speak to a doctor to get an assessment because every child will respond to the keto diet differently. Most of the time, improvements come about after around two weeks when ketosis begins to kick in.

 Great for the treatment of epilepsy

It is an unfortunate case that so many children suffer from epilepsy, but following a ketogenic plan is a common treatment for this disease, and it usually has fantastic results.

 Many studies have proven that keto is useful for reducing the intensity and number of seizures for epileptic children. Ketones, the molecules produced from ketosis, provide an alternative energy source and have been shown to reduce epileptic symptoms. The vast majority of children experience a reduction in seizures, and some children become free of seizures altogether. If the situation can be much better controlled using this diet, doctors can actually reduce the number of antiepileptic drugs prescribed to children that can have side effects.

 The great thing about this diet is that there are few side effects as a result. However, it’s not a good idea to jump into this headfirst on your own. All children require monitoring to see if there are any side effects of the keto diet. Nonetheless, the results are remarkable on the whole.

child eating
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Brilliant for kids with diabetes

The way that keto works are that it restricts people from consuming too many carbohydrates and sugars. Research has shown that this can really help with diabetes, regulating the amount of blood glucose levels in diabetics.

 Children who have been treated on this diet for problems with type II diabetes have generally experienced a much better quality of life with very few adverse effects, although the number of studies for type I diabetes is currently scarce. After a few days, the level of blood glucose decreases to a normal amount, sometimes meaning that diabetes medication is no longer required. There is a general promise for children with type II diabetes, and keto is just one of these solutions that can help, but it is a great one because sticking to a healthy keto diet menu leads to a much more healthier weight than other low-calorie diets. Before getting stuck in, we would always advise that this diet needs to be approved by a pediatrician or doctor.

 Conclusion:

So is a keto diet safe for kids? The matter of fact is that every child is different, and the diet requires careful consideration. It is undeniable that keto has benefits for children, but you should always visit the doctor in order to ask for advice. Some children may be too young to be dieting, whereas teenagers will most likely be fine. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional.

 Do you know anyone who has a keto diet hair loss, or some other side effect? We’d love to hear more from you. Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

Author’s Bio: Richie is a former physician, golf enthusiast, and a proud father of four. You’ll never see him away from his kids! After retiring from his previous job, Richie got really into the diet, nutrition, and pediatrics. He now writes about these subjects and others on a freelance basis. Fun fact: Richie is one of three triplet children!

Featured Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash

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