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Can Ketosis Make You Depressed?

There’s A Mental Health Reason To Avoid Added Sugar

There’s A Mental Health Reason To Avoid Added Sugar

Image Source When we think about the link between food and feelings, it usually goes something like this: We feel sad, and then we eat something — usually a comforting gut bomb of sugar, salt and fat — to feel better. But what if this relationship were actually reversed? What if the things we ate were actually causing us to become more depressed over time, creating a destructive loop of sadness, bingeing, and sadness again? That’s the premise of a recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that suggests sugary and starchy foods could contributing to depression. Previous long-term studies have shown that people who eat pastries, sugary drinks and other refined carbohydrates have a higher risk of depression, but didn’t determine what is it, exactly, about those foods that ties them to depression risk. The Setup Columbia University psychiatry professor James Gangwisch wanted to find out, and to parse out the different effects that varying amounts of carbohydrates and added sugar have on mood. To do so, he looked back at data from nearly 70,000 postmenopausal women who participated in a research project in 1994 and then again in 1998. Gangswisch and his team looked at both the quality and quantity of the carbs in the women’s diets, applying glycemic index scores — a scale from zero to 100 that measures how a food raises a person’s blood sugar level — to what each woman was eating. (A food like steel-cut oatmeal, with a GI score of 55 or less, raises blood sugar levels less than instant oatmeal, which has a GI score of 70 or more.) They also calculated each woman’s glycemic load, or the amount of carbs she was eating, to understand whether or not that had any link to her level of depression. The Findings Gangwisch found that wome Continue reading >>

Carbohydrate Cravings, Serotonin And Satiety

Carbohydrate Cravings, Serotonin And Satiety

Introduction by: Jessica Apple Diabetes and depression often go hand-in-hand, and recently I spoke to my doctor about my own case of the blues. “Your diet may have something to do with it,” he said. “What?” I asked. I had no idea what he was talking about. I eat a very low-carb diet, which helps me keep my blood sugar levels in the normal range almost all of the time. And there is nothing depressing about normal blood sugar levels. “I don’t understand what you mean,” I said to my doctor. “The Atkins diet is associated with depression,” he said. “Maybe you should eat more carbohydrate and cover it with insulin.” I’m not on the Atkins diet, but I do limit my carbohydrate intake to 30-50 grams a day, depending on how much I exercise. And since I can’t stand the idea of out-of-control blood sugar levels, I blew off my doctor’s suggestion about increasing my carbohydrate intake. I was, however, curious about the link between a low-carb diet and depression and when I began to look into it, I came across the work of Judith Wurtman, co-author with Nina Marquis, M.D , of The Serotonin Power Diet. Judith’s research has focused on the relationship between a person’s emotional state, carbohydrate craving and brain serotonin. With her husband, Richard, she demonstrated that overeating is often related to the need to decrease stress. They showed that when carbohydrate-rich foods are eaten, the resulting production of brain serotonin improved emotional stability. To find out more, I contacted Judith and asked her about her work. And what, I asked specifically, can someone who has diabetes (and can’t consume a lot of carbohydrates) do? Here is an essay she wrote for ASweetLife. Carbohydrate Cravings, Serotonin and Satiety By: Judith Wurtman In the 1970 Continue reading >>

Benefits And Risks Of A Low-carb Diet — And How Low Is Too Low?

Benefits And Risks Of A Low-carb Diet — And How Low Is Too Low?

Made famous by the Atkins diet and other similar weight-loss plans, low-carb diets are most well-known for shedding pounds fast. But despite what might initially come to mind when you think about low-carb diets — loads of meat, cheese and butter on top of constant bread cravings, for example — we know now that a balanced low-carb diet (like the ketogenic diet) done right poses few, if any, major health risks and can be effective for far more than weight loss. Should You Try a Low-Carb Diet? Low-carb diets are nothing new and have been used in the medical community for a variety of purposes for more than a century. Based on decades of research, low-carb diets have been linked to benefits including: reduced hunger better control over insulin and blood sugar enhanced cognitive performance lower risk for heart disease factors reduced risk for certain types of cancer How do low-carb diets work? The benefits of low-carb diets mentioned above are due to a reduction, or in some cases almost an entire elimination, of glucose. Glucose, or other molecules that can turn into glucose once eaten, are found in all carbohydrate foods, whether grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, fruits, sweeteners of all kinds — and even nuts, seeds and vegetables. Once glucose from carbohydrates is no longer available for energy due to following a low-carb diet, we begin to burn stored fat instead and experience weight loss fast. Our bodies normally run on glucose or sugar for energy, but we cannot make glucose ourselves and only store about 24 hours worth within our muscles and liver. Glucose quickly runs out, and when our supply is low enough, the body turns to fat for fuel as a backup — luckily whether it’s coming from our diet or our own body fat. A ketogenic diet — one form of a very Continue reading >>

Diet Slam Of The Week: Can Going Ketogenic Magically Make You Skinny And Cancer-free?

Diet Slam Of The Week: Can Going Ketogenic Magically Make You Skinny And Cancer-free?

Want to lose weight, get happier and fight cancer? The answer is here, and its really charming, roll-off-your-tongue name? The ketogenic diet. This low-carb, high-protein nutrition plan seeks to send your body into a state of fat-burning "ketosis." And this bodily process sounds nothing short of magical in stories like this newly trending piece: "Low carb ketogenic diet combats depression & bipolar disorder, aids weight loss." (Wow, does it make you richer and better in bed, too?) Or this: "Ketogenic Diet May be Key to Cancer Recovery." Or this: "10 Proven Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets." Claims have been made about the diet helping to combat bipolar disorder, epilepsy, cancer and general moodiness...all while abetting in significant weight loss. It's the magic bullet to all of life's problems! Even better than the cookie diet! Or is it? Let's dig in to the facts. Will the Diet Cure Disease? There is indeed some evidence that a ketogenic diet can help with bipolar symptoms. But the most significant, reputable research on this centered on just two (as in: one, two) case studies where a link was found—not exactly a robust consensus. The fact that the diet can aid in treating bipolar disorder implies it could also help with moods in general. But this too is a pretty tenuous connection. The abstract summary of the bipolar research summed up the case studies like this: They also support the hypothesis that acidic plasma may stabilize mood, perhaps by reducing intracellular sodium and calcium. So to be clear: it "may" "perhaps" help stabilize moods—a far cry from claims that it "combats depression." As for epilepsy, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, the diet has been proven to help mostly children with the disease, and only those with some specific co Continue reading >>

3 Reasons You Might Want To Ditch That Ketogenic Eating Plan

3 Reasons You Might Want To Ditch That Ketogenic Eating Plan

Ketogenic eating might just be the most popular idea in the unconventional health and fitness movement right now. I get dozens of emails a week from people asking for Keto tips and tricks. I’m not convinced that most of these people should be Keto though. It’s been billed as a great way to lose weight, which has attracted a lot of attention, but it’s not all roses, unicorns, and fairy dust. Here’s three reasons why you might want to reconsider your plan to go Keto… 1. Ketogenic eating is obsessive. When I interviewed Jimmy Moore, author of Keto Clarity, this is one of the issues I brought up. Ketosis is notoriously difficult to get into, verify, and sustain without bringing back some of the old, obsessive Dieting strategies that we’ve been working hard to get away from. Tracking macros, monitoring blood glucose, and testing ketone levels are all required steps in the process for most people. This kind of protocol attracts people with disordered eating habits. It’s the perfect blend of effective, obsessive, and new. If you’re trying to get into ketosis for medical reasons, then you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. If you want to get into ketosis because you heard it’s great for weight loss or for some other non-medical reason, it’s too obsessive for my taste. 2. Ketogenic eating probably doesn’t fit your lifestyle. You know me—I’m not a huge fan of cardio or long workouts. I’m bearish on exercise as a modern concept, but I’m bullish on functional fitness and DWYLT. In other words, I want people to do active things they love with a little sprinting and short functional strength workouts thrown in. In order to actually enjoy those things and feel strong and healthy when doing them, you’ll need adequate glycogen. That’s something that Continue reading >>

Question About The Brain, Carbs And Depression

Question About The Brain, Carbs And Depression

Q: Every nutritionist I have ever spoken to says that the brain can only metabolize carbs. They give this as one reason so many people are suffering from depression while on low carb diets. How do you respond to that? A: This is one of several myths perpetuated by “classically” trained nutritionists and medical doctors, and consequently believed by most people—that glucose is, of necessity, the body and brain’s primary fuel and completely essential at all times. This is 100% completely wrong—or is at least only conditionally true. The dependence on glucose is true IF—and only if—one has conditioned ones-self to be metabolically dependent on sugar as one’s primary source of fuel. The only tissues in the body absolutely dependent on glucose are your red blood cells. They feed anaerobically so they can preserve their precious cargo which is oxygen. Everything else in the human body, however, can function just beautifully and consistently on ketones. A person metabolically dependent, instead, on fat (a much more natural state for humans) as the primary fuel source has no such fundamental requirement for glucose. The evidence in the literature and basics of human physiology show unmistakably that the brain and body function far more efficiently, age more slowly and suffer far less oxidative stress when depending on ketones (and a few free fatty acids) instead of sugar (glucose) for one’s primary source of fuel. I showed textbook evidence to this effect in my book, Primal Body-Primal Mind. That people are more likely to feel “depressed” on a low carb diet is patently absurd and completely contrary to the scientific and overwhelming empirical evidence. A dependence on sugar means your moods are always dependent on where the glucose is swinging next and in Continue reading >>

Keto Flu: Symptoms And Relief

Keto Flu: Symptoms And Relief

Many people (not everyone!) who start a low carb diet experience what’s called the “keto flu” or the “induction flu” in the first few days while the body is adapting to burning ketones instead of glucose. What is keto flu? The basic symptoms are: headaches nausea upset stomach Lack of mental clarity (brain fog) sleepiness fatigue It’s called the “keto flu” for a reason: you feel sick. I’ve gone through it, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Fortunately, it only lasted four days (2 of them were pretty bad) but then suddenly I woke up feeling much better, less hungry and my energy level was high and consistent throughout the day! While at one point (or three or four) I thought to myself: “what the serious F am I doing? I’m going to die!” but I plowed through it, and when it was over I didn’t regret a thing because what I gained mentally and physically was 100% worth it. Keto and autoimmune disorders I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Fibromyalgia to top it off. So, I’m no stranger to brain fog and fatigue, but the fatigue and brain fog that comes with keto flu is a little different, and feel much more like having the regular flu. How long will the keto flu last? It depends. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all, but some suffer anywhere from a day to a week. In rare cases up to 15 days. Everybody’s bodies are different, and some people handle switching over better than others. You might consider starting keto on the weekend or sometime when you’re able to get good rest deal with the symptoms. For those of you that are going through the keto flu, don’t give up! I know you feel like it’s never going to get better but stick with it and you´ll be so happy you did! I’m telling you, waking up r Continue reading >>

Foods That Might Be Making Your Mental Illness Worse

Foods That Might Be Making Your Mental Illness Worse

Though genetic and situational factors definitely play their part too, what you are eating matters when it comes to mental health. Taking care to avoid these is definitely worth your while, because other forms of treatment may unfortunately cost a lot, involve undesirable side effects, or simply not be enough to bust your symptoms for good. As the old saying goes, food is medicine. Now, that is not to say you should only listen to the people who think juice can cure cancer, but you get the point. When you are suffering from a physical illness, you need to consider whether it has some mental causes (like stress and anxiety). Likewise, when you are suffering from a mental illness, you need to consider whether it has some physical causes (like various levels of nutrients you are or aren't getting from your diet). It's true that changing your diet entirely can be really difficult, but if you focus on one change at a time and replace your mind-unfriendly foods with mood-boosting ones instead, you have only good things to gain. Here are a few culprits to watch out for, from carbs to dessert. 1. Wheat Gluten-free foods have become popular among people with all sorts of diets, but some people really do have celiac disease (or intolerance of other components frequently found in wheat-containing foods). And subjecting yourself so frequently to a food your body can't tolerate seems to be implicated in mental health problems like depression, ADHD, anxiety, autism, and even schizophrenia. Avoiding gluten is difficult enough that you might want to be tested for celiac disease by a doctor before you attempt an elimination diet. 2. Carbs If you're thinking of just swapping out the wheat in your diet for other gluten-free grains, make sure to check with a health professional first. A ke Continue reading >>

Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>

Probiotics Over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating For The Best Brain. (featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine And More)

Probiotics Over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating For The Best Brain. (featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine And More)

There are a lot of subjects here. They are important. And they connect a lot of what we’ve been talking about here, in separate strings, for a long time. Many of the newest learnings in health are related to the significance of the microbiome. From personal experience, I regularly feel what I can only describe as the health of my brain. Chemicals, transmitter-stuff, certain states. Which drives me into these subjects searching for ifs, and if-so-what, is going on. Because there is always a reason for why we feel the way we do. (These topics are also of significant personal importance to me in how they relate to anxiety, which is something I’ve had to handle my entire life. More on that in point 5, below.) Otherwise, this is all just more of the same: learn, live better, prosper. Shall we? 1. We are our microbiomes. I’ve said it; you know it, but a few refreshers JIC: 2. Our microbiomes are best supported by probiotics, live food and excellent digestion via which to absorb the goodness. 3. Our microbiomes are responsible for not only our physical wellbeing, but also our psychological health. Here we go. You have neurons both in your brain and your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain. “Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. “The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn't all that surprising, even though it's often overlooked. “There's also a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurologi Continue reading >>

5 Keto Supplements That Make Ketosis Easier

5 Keto Supplements That Make Ketosis Easier

Scientists agree the Ketogenic diet is an excellent way to lower blood sugar levels, control insulin resistance, and even manage cholesterol levels; yet, as the saying goes, nothing easy is worth having. The Keto diet can pose some resistance, especially if you’re new to the lifestyle, and staying in Ketosis is not always an easy thing to do. Thankfully, supplements are the natural and easy way to improve your experience. Keto supplements are like any other supplements and seek to meet the demands of your body. As you’ll be eating low carb and running on fat, starting with a good supply of quality fats is the best place to start – and while diet plays a central role, it can be necessary to add Keto supplements to your toolkit to give your body the correct ratio of nutrients and fats. Keep reading to learn the 5 Keto supplements you can use to improve your mood, energy levels, fat loss goals and live a more healthy, productive life. Keto Supplement 1: Fish Oil Did you know fish oils can optimize triglyceride levels when paired with the Keto diet? This is one Keto hack you don’t want to miss. Researchers discovered test subjects who took three fish-oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids per day for two weeks recorded a much greater decrease in triglycerides than in test subjects who only followed the Keto diet. People who consume omega-3 fatty acids on a regular basis are known to have a lower BMI, and lower body fat percentile when compared to individuals who do not supplement with fatty acids. The trick is to get your fish oils from a reputable and tested brand. Many fish oils on the market don’t contain the daily recommendation of 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Keto Supplement 2: Sodium & Potassium Supplements Sodium and Potassium play a significant r Continue reading >>

Ketogenic Diet Faq

Ketogenic Diet Faq

Simply click on the question to reveal the answer: Here are some very important factors to consider before you start. Is your liver healthy? A toxic liver will compromise your results and stand in the way between you and weight loss / health. Is your thyroid healthy? If you are either on thyroid medication or suspect a thyroid problem, a modified Ketogenic diet is the option for you. You could be doing more harm than good by doing a conventional keto diet. If you suspect any of the above is true for you, and you would like to find out more about how to proceed with Keto, I invite you to fill out my enquiry form below. Learn about my approach to a healthier you through a ketogenic lifestyle and health restoring program. I will be happy to look at your situation in depth and determine what kind of help would work best for you. If you are carb intolerant, pre-diabetic, overweight or always tired, this way of eating can be a life changer for you! Continue reading >>

Why Ketogenic Diet Is The Healthiest Diet. Treats Depression, Migraines, And Autism

Why Ketogenic Diet Is The Healthiest Diet. Treats Depression, Migraines, And Autism

Growing evidence shows that nutritional ketosis helps treat many health problems, starting with obesity. A ketogenic diet causes metabolic changes in the body, causing the body to shift from burning carbohydrates to burning fats. This diet requires 50-70 percent of the food intake to come from beneficial fats, such as organic pastured eggs, avocado, raw nuts, grass-pastured butter, and coconut oil. The carb intake is limited, leading to burning of fat for energy. In other words, there is little sugar blocking the body from using fat in favor of burning sugar. As mentioned above, the nutritional intake should be around 70 percent fats, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrate. Therefore, the carbohydrates intake should be limited, mostly coming from nuts, dairy, and veggies. Avoid refined carbohydrates like starch ( potatoes, legumes), wheat( cereals, bread) or fruit. “The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories, but through starvation of carbohydrates. Our bodies are extremely adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the main energy source,” according to Ruled.me. Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet Leads to Weight Loss Eliminating carbs from your diet is one of the simplest ways to lose weight. When on a ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake is very low, protein is moderate, and fat intake is increased, so that the body relies on fat as a primary fuel and produces ketones from stored body fat. Fights Cancer Cancer cells feed on sugar, meaning that sugar supports cancer growth. Therefore, any diet that eliminates sugar and other carbs can be effective in preventing and Continue reading >>

Your Food And Your Mood: Carbs, Depression, And Cognitive Decline

Your Food And Your Mood: Carbs, Depression, And Cognitive Decline

We are all too familiar with the obesity and diabetes epidemics that plague our society. These are not the only epidemics we are facing. The United States spends about $215 billion annually on orthopedic surgeries, cancer is catching up to heart disease as the number one killer in the U.S., and we also suffer from chronically low moods and neurodegeneration as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of antidepressants is up 400% when compared to the last couple decades, and Alzheimer’s disease costs this country $100 billion annually. That is not a typo - 400% and $100 billion. Could it be that our current recommended dietary guidelines are a contributing factor to this epidemic? The answer is most definitely yes. Disclaimer: I do not think that diet is the only underlying issue here. We are chronically overstressed, sleep deprived, vitamin D deficient, sedentary, and tend to spend a lot of time alone. Those are all contributing factors to the decreased mood seen in this country. However, for today we are going to focus on nutritional aspects that are major contributing factors. The Possibilities of Eating Low Carb We are encouraged by the USDA to eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat. A study performed in 2012 and published in the Journal of Neurobiology and Aging put 23 older adults on a six-week diet that was either low carb or high carb. Although depressive mood was unchanged, there were reductions in weight, fasting glucose, waist circumference, and fasting insulin, as well as improvements in the verbal memory test of the low-carbohydrate group.1 This study lasted only six weeks, yet showed increased cognitive ability for an older population with mild cognitive decline. What would happen if we ate like this al Continue reading >>

This Reddit User Swears The Ketogenic Diet Made Him Less Depressed—but Is That Possible?

This Reddit User Swears The Ketogenic Diet Made Him Less Depressed—but Is That Possible?

People swear by the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet for plenty of reasons—they say it can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. But now one Reddit user says the ketogenic diet helped fight his depression, too. Under the title “Depression is gone,” Redditor willilikeit writes, “Six months on keto. Have lost 40 pounds. But the best result is how I feel. I've gone from waking up with dread and fighting suicidal thoughts off and on most days, to feeling energetic, positive, and only a rare, passing, suicidal thought. It is night and day! Omg. Thank you for all of your posts and support!" Several other people said in the comments that they experienced similar results with ketogenic diets. “So true, I sleep less, wake up ready for the day instead of dreading it. I have energy and want to actually do things now. So glad you feel it too!” Sea_Hag wrote. “I’m right there with you,” writes EffectedCat. “I don’t constantly think of how much I suck or constantly ask what I’m going to screw up today. …Anger and sudden emotional outbursts have dramatically decreased and everyone around me can notice the difference in my mood. This diet has changed my life.” Does the Keto Diet Really Fight Depression? It actually might, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. “Your diet can absolutely have an effect on your mood,” she says. “Many studies have shown a clear link between diet and a person's state of mind.” The keto diet in particular may cause certain bodily processes that can help fight depression, she says. I Tried It: Keto Diet Here’s how it works: For some reason, when you're on a ketogenic diet, your body produces more GABA, a major neurotransmitter that helps the brain function Continue reading >>

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