Can You Get Depressed on Low Carb?

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Can you get depressed on a low-carb diet? Can it worsen the symptoms – or do symptoms of depression usually get better on low carb?

We asked some of the top low-carb doctors in the world to give their quick and spontaneous answers, and made the video above (transcript).

Here are the doctors in the video:

  0:16  Dr. Jason Fung
  0:37  Dr. Peter Brukner
  1:13  Dr. Sarah Hallberg
  2:15  Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

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4 comments

  1. Jesse
    As someone who suffers from depression I do want to share my own experience with this. It is true that once adapted to low carb my symptoms dramatically decrease, however, I do want to point out that any time I have to go through the induction phase again I always have an episode of depression. I try not to drop out of ketosis very often (I've only done it once this year for a family vacation) but I know the first few days eating right again are going to be tough. Now my depression is mild enough that I don't take medication for it and it doesn't effect my personal life, much. But I think it is important to mention that the first week or two can be very hard for someone who has depression but then it gets much much better.

    Just my 2 cents

    Reply: #3
  2. Bex
    Exactly the same experience. I know that when I go off the wagon and eat carbs, especially sugary, wheat-containing carbs, it is difficult to get back into LCHF, b/c I experience a depressed, moody, low energy transition back. Also, like clockwork, I get withdrawal migraines (usually the 4th day after going back to LCHF) during the transition period. Overall, when I stick to LCHF, my moods and energy levels are more consistent and I do not get migraines.
  3. Margaret
    I have lived in Africa many years as a medical missionary, and the past few years I’d found myself going through spells of depression. This was not normal for me. Then in October 2015 I “crashed,” and in February 2016 I came home to the USA in part to attend a burnout recovery program. I learned much there, and it really helped, but over the summer, I found myself succumbing to the depression once again. Because I was on a sabbatical, I had almost no control over how I ate, as I stayed in other people’s homes. My type 2 diabetes was totally out the top and I was worried about having to start insulin.
    But in September I found Dr. Jason Fung on line when researching the dawn phenomenon. I was also staying in a home at that time where I was able to do my own shopping and cooking. Through researching LCHF I discovered Diet Doctor, and I started the 2 week beginner’s LCHF eating plan. By the 2nd day my depression was gone and has never returned. My mind also cleared. And my blood sugars returned to normal and I stopped my meds. And I have lost 35 pounds.
    Something I discovered by accident as well had to do with yawning. I have always yawned a lot, especially when traveling in a car. It was not until I ate some carbs one day and realized on the 50-mile drive home that day that I was yawning my head off. I didn’t realize until then that I had stopped yawning on the LCHF diet as well.
    I have not read anyone else mentioning this. Do you know why carbs would make me yawn like that?
  4. 1 comment removed
  5. Nero
    Yawning due to carbs? Margaret, chances are you wont read my comment by now, but still if anybody else does it might help them out:

    Carbs made me depressed for years, but it was not until my late teens (I am in my mid thirties now) when a doctor noticed how much carbs made me yawn as well as tired, turned out it was diabetes all along.

    Diabetes type-2 for who know how many years before that, then I began noticing this is not as unusual as it might seem, so it might be worth at least mentioning here.

    (Note: The comment editor does not seem to work, so I deleted my comment and posted it back with edits here and there included)

    Thank You.

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