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» Low Glycemic Index Treatment

Low Glycemic Index Treatment (LGIT)

This diet is similar to the Sugar Busters diet. It has a more liberal total carbohydrate intake than the ketgoenic diet, but is restricted to foods that produce relatively little increase in blood glucose (glycemic index < 50):

  • Carbohydrates
    • Each carbohydrate-containing food should have a glycemic index under 50
    • Total carbohydrates are gradually decreased to 40-60 gm/day (~10% of daily calories)
    • Carbohydrates are divided evenly throughout the day, and balanced with protein and fat.
    • To fine tune the LGIT, daily carbohydrate intake is adjusted to improve seizure control by decreasing daily total carbohydrate intake and eliminating foods with high glycemic index.
  • Other macronutrients
    • Approximately 20-30% of calories are from protein and 60-70% are from fat.
  • Micronutrients
    • Provide a complete sugar-free multivitamin with minerals
    • Provide calcium supplements according to the RDI for age and gender. Calcium should be separated by at least 2 hours before or after any medications, as calcium is an active binder.

Efficacy

According to a study published in Neurology:
Ten of 20 patients treated with this regimen experienced a greater than 90% reduction in seizure frequency.

Looking at the chart that accompanies this study report (.PDF file), 13 out of 19 patients experienced greater than 50% reduction in seizures.

Potential Adverse Events

Whereas no published reports specifically address the issue, a reasonable hypothesis is that, in Western populations, a low-GI diet is a marker for a healthy lifestyle.

I could not find any studies indicating any adverse effects from the long term use of a low glycemic diet. Every long term study I found only reported on it's effectiveness for weight control, preventing heart disease, treating diabetes, etc. No studies mentioned any adverse events from long term use of the diet.

Cost

For the cost of a little research (ie. the Sugar Busters book or a table of foods with glycemic indexes), you can pretty much try this diet on you own with just a little supervision from your doctors. I rated it a 10 for the chart, because there is virtually no extra expense to try it.

Type

This is a diet that needs to be adopted as a permanent lifestyle change. It requires continuous active participation to maintain seizure control.

Latency

Seizure control could start occurring within days to weeks of starting the diet. In the study, most of the patients reporting greater than 90% reduction in seizures were on the diet for at least two months.

Special Notes

This diet is easier to maintain than the Ketogenic diet.

Return to the chart of alternative epilepsy treatments.

This page last modified September 26, 2011.

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