Low carb Ketogenic diet can fight depression and bi-polar
They say you are what eat, and we all know the difference a better diet makes to our complexion and our waistlines. But what about our heads?
Ketogenic diet and mental health
An increasing number of scientists are praising the Ketogenic diet – similar in nature to the low-carb, high-protein Atkins and Caveman meal plans, which have shown promising results in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder.
Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia says: “It’s a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago. But the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health.”
What is a Ketogenic diet?
A Ketogenic diet typically restricts the intake of carbs to no more than 50g a day. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 60/35/5 rule in which 60% of calories come from fat, 35% from protein, and 5% from carbs. Grass-fed meat, fish, dairy, nuts and avocado are top of the list in terms of foods that comply.
Jodi Corbit, a 47-year-old mother from Maryland, had been battling depression for decades before adopting the Ketogenic diet in a bid to lose weight. To her surprise, she not only shifted several pounds, but also her lifelong depression. She explained: “It was like a veil lifted and I could see life more clearly. It changed everything.”
Diet and mental health
Dr El-Mallakh, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Louisville, believes there’s a strong link between Ketogenic eating and mental health. He authored a book on the subject, Bipolar Depression, and last year published two case studies to support his findings.
One 32 year old woman from San Francisco, suffering from bipolar, tried the Atkins diet three years ago. “I noticed within a day or two the marked difference in my head. It felt clear for the first time in years and years.”
She contacted Dr El-Mallakh in an attempt to spread the word. “It surprised me how little information was out there, because for me it was life-changing,” she said, adding that she had been symptom-free ever since adopting the diet.
What else can the Ketogenic diet do?
The Ketogenic diet has been used for centuries to treat seizures, and widely published research has shown that it can cause up to a 90% decrease in seizures for patients with epilepsy
It’s also been shown to help with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and even cancer. Scientists admit that they aren’t entirely sure why this is, and it’s still more of an association than a direct cause and effect.
Dr Mallakh has pointed out that many of the drugs proven to help with bipolar depression have anti-seizure properties, which has established a link between the high-fat, low-carb diet and its effects on the brain, if nothing else.
Dr Volek, a dietician and professor at the University of Connecticut agrees. “It was nothing short of an epiphany when I changed to a Ketogenic diet 20 years ago,” he told The Examiner. “There are very few people that a Ketogenic diet could not help.”
Celebrity followers of the Ketogenic diet
It’s not just health experts who’ve been singing the praises of the Atkins and Ketogenic diets. A number of celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore, count themselves as fans, and Kim Kardashian famously credited the meal plans for helping her shift 50lb of baby weight in just five months.
Credit: The Daily Mail.