Getting Started

The diet starts in the hospital.

The child is placed on a 24-hour fast and is closely watched to be sure he or she is handling the very real stress of not getting any food during that time.

Once the child begins burning fat for energy instead of glucose (a state called ketosis), the doctors gradually introduce the foods that are part of the diet in amounts that are right for that child.

When the child goes home, the parents continue to carry out the diet at home, weighing every item and making sure that the balance between fat and other nutritional elements is maintained. Doctors and dietitians follow children closely to make sure they’re getting enough nutrition and are growing.

Parents of children on the diet use special paper strips to check the ketone level in the child’s urine.

Ketones are the chemicals that the body produces when it burns fat. Parents also test urine weekly for blood, which could be an early sign of kidney stones, a possible side effect of the diet.