Experience with the ketogenic diet in infants

Pediatrics. 2001 Jul;108(1):129-33. doi: 10.1542/peds.108.1.129.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness, tolerability, and adverse effects of the ketogenic diet in infants with refractory epilepsy.

Methods: A retrospective review of 32 infants who had been treated with the ketogenic diet at a large metropolitan institution.

Results: Most infants (71%) were able to maintain strong ketosis. The overall effectiveness of the diet in infants was similar to that reported in the literature for older children; 19.4% became seizure-free, and an additional 35.5% had >50% reduction in seizure frequency. The diet was particularly effective for patients with infantile spasms/myoclonic seizures. There were concomitant reductions in antiepileptic medications. The majority of parents reported improvements in seizure frequency and in their child's behavior and function, particularly with respect to attention/alertness, activity level, and socialization. The diet generally was well-tolerated, and 96.4% maintained appropriate growth parameters. Adverse events, all reversible and occurring in one patient each, included renal stone, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, alteration of mentation, and hyperlipidemia.

Conclusion: The ketogenic diet should be considered safe and effective treatment for infants with intractable seizures.

MeSH terms

  • Diet Therapy / adverse effects
  • Diet Therapy / methods
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Epilepsy / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ketone Bodies / biosynthesis*
  • Ketone Bodies / urine
  • Ketosis / etiology*
  • Ketosis / urine
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / diet therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ketone Bodies