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Depression Cured by Low Carb Diet?

Yes, you heard me right! Do low carb diets play a role in stabilizing mood disorders including depression? Or maybe I should call it this; Do ketones play a role in our brain's energy profile?

What ketone?

Let me explain the above verse a little bit. When we eat carbohydrates our bodies break down into glucose. It passes through the blood-brain barrier and burns our brain. Our bodies always choose to use glucose as a source of energy before using other sources of fuel.

When we remove carbohydrates from our diet, we cannot use glucose as fuel. So our body starts to process the proteins and fats we eat instead. It processes protein and fat into ketones.

These ketones can also be used as fuel and can also pass the blood brain barrier. And these different types of fuel to the brain appear to change it.

Why do ketones work?

One of the most notable side effects of the ketogenic diet is its remarkable effect on seizures in epilepsy patients. Some people have actually become free seizures while others have a significant reduction in their seizures. The effects of ketogenic diets even after carbohydrates have been reintroduced.

There is talk that a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for many mental disorders including depression, bipolar and Alzheimer's. If this diet could only help a family of people burdened with these conditions, it would be revolutionary!

We're not entirely sure why and how these ketones affect the brain. But some theories suggest that different fuels from these ketones help with global cerebral hypometabolism. It seems the brain can use ketones more efficiently. It is also thought that ketosis reduces intracellular sodium concentration, which is actually done by mood stabilizers.

There aren't many human trials that need to be done to see the benefits of a ketogenic diet on mental disorders. But for sure!

What exactly is a ketogenic diet?

Good, good. So now we know what ketones are and how they work. Let's see what you need to do to get a ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic diets are diets that actually reduce carbohydrates to a minimum. The most widely accepted version of the ketogenic diet is less than 20g of carbohydrates a day.

But everyone is different and some people still respond to higher amounts of carbohydrates a day.

Ketosis, so when we produce ketones, can be checked by using keto-stick.

Taking care of 20g of carbohydrates a day is a challenge, believe me.

Where do we find carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are found in many natural products and foods.

The most obvious place to find carbohydrates is sugar. These include added sugars to beverages, food products, candy, cakes and chocolate.

We also found carbohydrates in our starch including rice, couscous, bread, oats and pasta. These are usually completely cut off in the ketogenic diet.

Fruits also contain fructose, which is sugar, and will also increase your carbohydrate intake. Fruit consumption is usually strictly controlled.

Other types of sugar, especially lactose, are found in dairy products.

Ketogenic diets are not for the faint of heart!

So what can I eat?

As you can see many foods are cut out of the equation when we are on a ketogenic diet. What can be eaten in large quantities is non-starchy vegetables, so vegetables that have low carb content. And then we can eat all our meat, eggs and fish. These are usually cooked with an unlimited amount of fat.

It is not an easy diet to follow but when people feel the benefits, they say they will never return. It is advisable to work with a supportive dietitian and doctor when trying a ketogenic diet.


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