In this presentation from Certified Clinical Nutrition (CCN) Kelly Barnhill, the ketogenic diet is explored, including its history and development, as well as trends in research and clinical application of the diet for people with autism.
Barnhill describes the long history of studying the effects of diet on health, and especially the great discoveries about ketogenic diets within the last 100 years. In this century of research, several versions of the ketogenic diet have been developed, with the classical ketogenic diet being the most researched. There is also a modified ketogenic diet which eliminates dairy, used mainly with people with autism.
Barnhill then describes what the classical ketogenic diet entails, with strict limits on carbohydrates and proteins. Fat intake will be 3-4 times the total intake of protein and carbohydrates. Those beginning a ketogenic diet will often be treated through inpatient care at first, to help the patient get used to the diet and so medical professionals can watch for certain rare side-effects.
Additionally, Barnhill discusses modified keto diets, which add medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil to increase the digestion of fats and therefore allow the patient to ingest more carbohydrates as well.
While the ketogenic diet was initially developed and researched as it relates to relief from seizures, modern studies have shown a range of improvement in behaviors in children with autism. There is no conclusive answer to the question of whether ketogenic diets improve symptoms in children with autism, but the preliminary research seems to indicate a relationship between a ketogenic diet and improved behavioral wellness in those children.
The Ketogenic Diet and Autism Spectrum Disorders-Part 1 by TheJohnsonCenter
Initial Release Date: Feb 28, 2019
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