Atkins & Children

Most nutrition experts agree that the Atkins diet is not suitable for children. Some researchers go so far as to assert that it could in fact cause children long term and permanent damage, both mental and physical. The Atkins diet restricts carbohydrates and so glucose which the brain needs to properly function. In children this restriction is frequently argued to have an extremely detrimental effect, preventing normal growth in children, mentally and physically.

Adaptations of the Atkins Diet

Given that the traditional Atkins diet is widely regarded as unsuitable to be followed by children an adapted version has been created, a slightly altered version for those for whom the original version may not be suitable.

The Modified Atkins Diet

This version of the Atkins diet is one that does not rely on measuring the quantities of foods (and types of foods) but just attempts to stick to the main principles of the diet. This evolved as a result of families following the traditional Atkins diet for a period of many years and then eventually stopping keeping such a careful eye on the measurements and weights that they were consuming. In these cases the diet generally remained effective.

How it Differs from the Traditional Atkins Diet

This modified diet more heavily restricts carbohydrate intake and emphasises an increased consumption of fats. The carbohydrate consumption however is the only thing that is monitored closely. The types of foods that are consumed are the same for both diets however.

People this Modified Diet may be Suitable for

Research is still being done on this adapted diet, and indeed on the traditional Atkins diet itself. However there are indications that this diet may be beneficial for children who suffer with severe or regular seizures. Early studies have shown that approximately two thirds of participants having been on the diet for 6 months experienced a 50% decrease in seizures. Many of the participants were at least able to decrease the medications they were taking.

How to Begin the Adapted Atkins Diet

As with any big lifestyle changes you should consult with a professional before beginning this diet. Once you have determined that this is the best option for you, or your child, you should equip yourself with as much information as possible and change and plan your meals immediately. Those who follow this diet should be professionally monitored from time to time to ensure that the diet is proving helpful and effective and not causing any long term health problems. Your dietician will be able to give you more information regarding these checks

Side Effects of the Modified Atkins Diet

Such a drastic change in diet can sometimes cause the participant to feel unwell and averse to drinking liquids. Kidney stones are also more likely. To minimise these side effects make sure that you consult with a nutritionist and/or your medical practitioner regularly.

Stopping the Modified Atkins Diet

If the diet appears to stop being helpful, for instance it does not prevent or minimise a child’s susceptibility to seizures, then you should discontinue it. Likewise, if a child does not have any seizures for a long time then it may be appropriate to stop their adapted Atkins diet. Consult a dietician about the best way to go about this, and what type of diet to continue on to.

« Atkins & Athletes Atkins & Medical Conditions »