#3 Low-Carb Fear: Does the Brain Need Carbs?

brainDoesn’t the brain need carbs?

No. On a strict low-carb diet the brain can be primarily fueled by fat. The fat gets converted in the liver to ketones, that are used by the brain as fuel.

This means that fat-burning goes up significantly – a big plus for people who want to lose excess weight.

Furthermore, our body can produce the glucose it needs through a process called gluconeogenesis, converting other nutrients to glucose.

There is no need for carbohydrates in the diet, and the brain functions fine without it.

 
Watch doctors explain why the brain doesn’t need carbs

Learn more about ketones and ketosis

More low-carb fears

15 comments

  1. Stephanie Oberg
    If you don't need carbs in your diet how come I become really mean (like, cannot control what comes out of my mouth while feeling sick at the same time) when I don't eat them? I'm curious how to avoid being "hangry" as I'd like to remain married and keep my job!
    Replies: #2, #7
  2. Pierre
    Probably wheat withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Ricky
    My wife has the same problem, if it persist then you should look for another style of eating. Low fat does work for some people.
  4. Kitty
    I would suggest weaning yourself slowly. First eliminate refined carbs, sugar and white flour and gradually removing whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal quinoa etc.. It is not only great for weight loss but reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure! Good Luck!
  5. Linda
    Mood swings and feeling "hangry" are part of the sugar detox. Those will stop as you enter ketosis and become fat adapted.
  6. Jim
    Whenever I low-carb and get irritable, twitchy, sluggish, and feeling like I'm hungover it invariably ends up being electrolytes. I think due to much fewer restaurant meals and a massive decrease in salts. I have some broth or a couple of pickles, maybe electrolyte power drink (no sugar) and I'm right as rain within hours. That's me and a few others I know. YMMV
  7. Walt
    That's known as the carb flu to those in the low carb community. After a few days of no carbs your moods will adjust. Try drinking some broth for the first few days to raise your sodium levels. If you have some more carbs though your body might switch back to carb burning and then you will have to go through the same process again. I find drinking a couple bullion soup cubes works.
  8. Michelle
    I am at my goal wait and do not want to loose more. I cheat every so often with fruit and the odd potatoe or rice with Sunday lunch...is this okay?
    Reply: #13
  9. Morgana2011
    Talk about giving only partial Information. Why doesn't the author say where the glucose comes from? The brain does not run on fat. How about some research based information please.
    Reply: #12
  10. Noema Pliego
    How come my hair is falling out?
    Reply: #11
  11. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Noema!

    Find some interesting reading here:
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/side-effects#hair-loss

    How come my hair is falling out?

  12. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Morgana!

    "The fat gets converted in the liver to ketones, that are used by the brain as fuel."

    Talk about giving only partial Information. Why doesn't the author say where the glucose comes from? The brain does not run on fat. How about some research based information please.

  13. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor

    I am at my goal wait and do not want to loose more. I cheat every so often with fruit and the odd potatoe or rice with Sunday lunch...is this okay?

    Hi Michelle!

    It's a bit up to you, eating more fruit and the odd potatoe or rice , is OK. :)

  14. bjohns7778
    Stephanie Oberg, see the first sentence of the paragraph for your answer. It is the carb withdrawal that sucks, not the lack of carbs.
  15. Benedikt
    But if your brain has been accustomed to running on refined carbs for a long time, and you cut them out, will there be an adjustment period where your brain functions non-optimally? Feels like that's where I'm at right now. I'm worried that I wont get my mental functioning back. It's a radical difference.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts