Updated: 2019, Aug 1

The Effects Of Ketogenic Diet On Our Mental Health

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
Ketogenic diet

You may have heard of a celebrity diet called the Keto diet/ LCHF diet (Low Carb, High Fat), in which you limit your daily carbohydrate intake to nearly zero while increasing your fat intake in order to burn body fat faster and more efficiently.

I’m going to illustrate for you what the Keto diet looks like, how it manages to burn fat more efficiently, and then we’ll explore the effects of the Keto diet on not just physical health, but also mental and emotional health.

What Do You Eat On The Keto Diet? What’s On Or Off Limits?

To start, the Keto diet severely limits your carbohydrate intake to 20- 50 grams a day, which equates to roughly one to two bananas a day, to give you a mental image.

While this restriction may seem harsh, you make up for the lack of carbs by supplementing extra healthy fats into your diet to curb hunger, and eventually, the body becomes accustomed to eating less carbs and more fats for sustenance.

Keto Diet Healthy

Healthy fats on the Keto diet include: avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, full-fat cheeses, butter and even lard. Carbohydrates include a huge list of foods on the Keto diet, but the main categories to avoid are all grains, all processed foods, and any tropical or other high carb fruits.

Regarding fruit and vegetable intake, on the Keto diet, you want to stick to non-starchy (or carby) vegetables like leafy greens, celery, asparagus, and cucumber while staying away from cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, as well as nightshade vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.

Root vegetables should also be limited, including onions, leeks, garlic, mushrooms, and pumpkin. When it comes to fruit, it’s best to limit your intake of fruits all together, but the occasional berries or stone fruit are permitted.

How Do You Lose Weight On The Keto Diet?

The name “Keto” stands for the process of ketosis, which is a shift in the body’s usage of energy stores that one experiences on the Keto diet.

During ketosis, your body creates energy by utilizing ketones (a fuel molecule) drawn from the liver, rather than glucose, which is produced mainly as a result of carbohydrate consumption.

This shift to burning ketones instead of glucose allows the body to burn fat for energy, contributing to major weight loss.

What Effect Does The Keto Diet Have On Mental Health?

Keto Diet Have On Mental Health

Surprisingly enough many people turn to the Keto diet not just for weight loss but also for improved mental health and performance.

One of the main arguments supporting the Keto diet’s positive effects on mental health is that the reduced carbohydrate consumption leads to less intense and less frequent spikes in blood sugar (glucose) allowing you to remain more evenly energized and mentally focused throughout the day.

Another element of the Keto diet that directly affects brain function is the increase of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), which actually comprise the majority of our brain tissue and have a direct impact on our memory and learning.

The typical Western diet lacks substantially in essential fatty acids, specifically Omega 3, which can be found in salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and chia seeds. It is the reintroduction and increase of Omega 3s in particular that makes the Keto diet a particularly brain-healthy diet.

Omega 3s possess numerous health properties including promotion of brain development, transportation of oxygen into the bloodstream and prevention of blood clotting.

Omega 6s (another essential fatty acid) contribute to the lowering of blood cholesterol as well. These properties of EFAs help keep our brains and bodies healthy, free of disease and functioning at their highest capacity.

The proper ratio to strive for when consuming Omega 3s and Omega 6s is 1:1 to 1:4, with Omega 3s coming first and Omega 6s coming second.

While the typical Western diet has a much unhealthier ratio of 1:25, the Keto diet is excellent and make sure you receive plenty of healthy fats for your daily Omega 3 intake, while limiting your consumption of Omega 6s, commonly found in eggs, poultry and vegetable oils.

Can The Keto Diet Negatively Effect Mental Health?

Keto Diet Negatively Effect Mental Health

While touting the clear health benefits to increasing EFA consumption and healthy fats in general, as well as the reducing carbohydrate intake for brain health, we must also look at the social and emotional effects that one may experience while on the Keto diet.

Partaking in any new diet is always taxing, especially on the mind, as so much of our daily lives revolve around food. The social aspect of eating alone can put tons of pressure on anyone with a special diet or particular needs.

Friends, family or coworkers pressuring one eating their way or a simple lack of dishes that fit your dietary requirement at restaurants and other outings can put a huge strain on one’s mental state, often leading to stress and even anxiety.

Aside from the social aspect of eating, there’s also the day-to-day struggle, especially initially, to find foods that fit within the dietary guidelines, and to fight off cravings that may be all-consuming in their temptation.

The simple internal battle of “to eat a piece of chocolate, or not to eat a piece of chocolate” when repeated on a daily, perhaps hourly basis can lead to anxiety surrounding eating and in some cases eating disorders.

The link between diets in general, no matter how cultivated towards health, and eating disorders is strong and should be kept in mind when embarking on any new way of eating.

Check out: All About Ketogenic Diet

Conclusion

Due to the increased consumption of healthy fats, specifically EFAs, and the elimination of grains and sugar, the Keto diet certainly can reduce stress and anxiety levels as well as improve brain function and mental performance.

However, the Keto diet may also affect daily stress levels negatively when initially transitioning over from a typical Western diet and aiming to avoid all off-limits foods. Why not try out the Keto diet yourself and see if you benefit from improved mental and physical performance?

Nevertheless, if Keto Diet does not help to enhance your brain, you can always opt for a brain enhancement supplement. Many physicians have recommended a brain enhancement supplement such as AdderRX, which helps to improve* your brain’s cognitive functions such as memory, attention, focus, earning ability and concentration. Go through AdderRX Review and decide whether it is a suitable option for you or not. Either way, you can browse through other products on the market.

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com
Author

Tamara Siemering

Tamara Siemering is a freelance writer, passionate about writing and creating videos on health and wellness, specifically healthy recip

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