When your child is on the medical ketogenic diet, you have to count and limit the carbohydrates (carbs) in everything consumed, not only in foods but also in non-food items. The term “hidden carbs” refers to carbs in products that are easily overlooked because you may not expect these products to contain carbs, or because carbs are listed on the ingredient list in unfamiliar names. Even a small amount of extra carbs can affect the ketogenic ratio, so it’s important to watch out for carbs that may be hiding in unexpected places. In today’s post, we’ll talk about some common non-food items that may be sources of hidden carbs.
Medications are often made with fillers that may contain carbs. When your child is started on the medical ketogenic diet, the neurologist and dietitian will assess the carb content in your child’s prescribed medications and switch to carb-free or lower-carb versions if possible. The ketogenic dietitian will account for any carbs coming from medications when calculating your little one’s total daily carb intake.
If your child needs a new medication while on the medical ketogenic diet (for example an antibiotic for a new ear infection or an antihistamine for seasonal allergies), be sure to contact the neurologist or ketogenic dietitian. If the medication contains carbs, they may be able to recommend a keto-friendly alternative, or if not, adjust the diet to account for the additional carbs coming from the new medication. This applies to situations where you are just switching brands of medications or switching from a brand to generic version and vice versa. Different brands and generic versions can have different ingredients and fillers, so never assume that one version is safe because the other was.
This list is a great guide for keto-friendly products but as always, consult with your health care team before introducing any new medications.
Personal Care Products:
It’s also important to look out for hidden carbs in personal care products because they may be absorbed through the skin. Be especially careful with dental care products, like toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as skin care products that are applied in large amounts, like sunscreen or body lotion.
Before using personal care products, check the ingredient lists closely to check for hidden carbs and consult with your health care team. Unfortunately, identifying carb sources on the ingredient list can be tricky since they are usually listed in unfamiliar names, like “glycerol” or “propylene glycol”. The Charlie Foundation provides this list of carbohydrate and non-carbohydrate ingredients, which is a great resource because it lists the names of carb sources as they might appear on the ingredient list.
Your health care team may be able to recommend certain brands or varieties of personal care products that are keto-friendly, along with varieties to avoid. The Charlie Foundation’s list of Carb-free or Low-Carb Products includes a broad collection of keto-friendly personal care products, such as:
- Toothpaste & other dental products
- Skin lotions & sunscreen
- Shampoos & conditioners
- Soaps & hand sanitizers
- Insect repellent
- Lip balms
Remember, if you are ever unsure if a product is keto safe or not, hold off on using it until you check with your health care team.
Keto parents- Have you ever discovered hidden carbs in an unexpected place? Please share your experiences and tips with other parents in the comment section!
The medical ketogenic diet should be used under medical supervision. KetoCal is a medical food for the dietary management of intractable epilepsy and is intended for use under medical supervision.