A diet rich in whipping cream, butter and vegetable oils can help control epileptic seizures in children, suggests a new study.
In the study, children on highly regimented ketogenic diet, a high-fat nutritional therapy, were found to have 90pct reduction in seizure frequency.
However, The Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin researchers recommend that ketogenic diet require long-term medical management and strong parental commitment to achieve both sufficient nutrition and improved seizure control in children.
"This diet cannot be tried by parents without close medical management and follow-up," said Dr Mary L. Zupanc, professor of pediatrics and medical director of the pediatric epilepsy program.
"It requires careful metabolic monitoring and precise supplementation of missing nutrients.
"Lack of compliance or of consistent medical monitoring can lead to poor growth, impaired nutrition and seizure rcurrence," she added.
The researchers studied 43 patients at Children's Hospital, between the ages of twelve months and 15 years, where majority of the children who responded to the diet had either a severe form of childhood epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or symptomatic generalized epilepsy.
Their brain activity also improved significantly, paralleling the dramatic changes in seizure control.
The carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diet also requires strong parental support.
"Fat comprises between 80 and 90 percent of the diet's calories and is provided by foods such as whipping cream, butter and vegetable oils.
"The remaining calories are allocated to essential protein requirements from meat and fish, and secondarily to low-carbohydrate vegetables and fruit.
"The elimination of carbohydrate-rich foods such as simple sugars, bread, pasta, cereals grains and milk makes this diet difficult for many patients to follow," she added.
The study appeared journal Epilepsia.