Researchers are warning parents against placing their diabetic or prediabetic children on low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets without the supervision and guidance of healthcare professionals.

Low-carb and ketogenic diets are quite popular in the United States, and are often known for their potential benefits in managing type 2 diabetes or prediabetes in adults.

However, despite their increasing popularity, a new clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against placing children dealing with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes on such diets.

According to the study, researchers have found that these diets pose safety concerns that could harm the natural growth and development of children.

The report stated that children typically get 45% to 65% of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates. However, low carbohydrate diets limit the nutrient's intake to less than 26% of total calories. Some of these diets with very low intake further restrict this, by recommending 20 to 50 grams of daily carb intake, whereas keto diets suggest even fewer, falling under under 20 grams.

Although these diets may be beneficial to adults, there is little research available to support their safety and effectiveness for growing children, the researchers warned.

"Despite the increasing popularity of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets for managing diabetes in adults, there are safety concerns to consider for youth with diabetes who are restricting carbohydrate intake to control weight and/or blood glucose," the authors of the study mentioned.

"These include growth deceleration, nutritional deficiencies, poor bone health, nutritional ketosis that cannot be distinguished from ketosis resulting from insulin deficiency, and disordered eating behaviors."

"Children should not be placed on low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets without proper monitoring or surveillance by healthcare professionals," Tok-Hui Yeap, is a registered dietitian and a certified pediatric nutritionist, told Medical News Daily.

She further stated that having updated guidance on carbohydrate requirements for youth with type 1, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity would help pediatricians and registered dietitians in creating evidence-based treatment plans.

Apart from the technical aspects of a low-carb diet, experts advise parents and healthcare providers to be cautious about these dietary plans as they could have long-term effects on how children feel about food.

According to the experts, children and teens should continue to eat healthy carbs found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and dairy products. They also recommended avoiding nutrient-poor foods like processed snacks and sugary beverages.