Better Moods with Ketosis?
Can Ketosis Fix Your Moods?
Have you ever felt depressed? Maybe it is not just a once-in-a-while kind of thing. Maybe it is a constant occurrence kind of thing… Whatever the source is, a ketogenic diet will provide much more relief than you would expect. Hear me out. While it may sound too good to be true, it is not!
Much of life comes down to 1 thing: seeking things to feel better. Now, much of that is fulfilled in short-term gratification that is usually not so good. But there are good ways to feel better too. They are just more long-term and require patience.
And in case you didn’t catch it, yes, the power of ketosis is the main focus here. Not because it is a hot topic. Because there is truth behind it. Ketosis might even be your best shot at a life with sustainably lifted spirits. This special kind of metabolism can do a lot more for you than just shed your weight. It will make you happier. Whether you want it or not, it happens. Real, legitimate, down-to-the-root happiness. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Yep, it is – I know from both experience and scientific literature. Let’s dive in.
Growing up in adolescence and going through high school, I remember having this fog around my head. I don’t know how else to explain it, but there was some sort of canopy covering my brain. There was something blocking the light. Without going into too much detail, this “fog” would not allow me to live life the way a young man should be able to.
There were even points where it was debilitating. I couldn’t get the motivation to do my homework, do my chores, or even get out of bed on the really bad days. (If you want the true story, it is full of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll which is not as nice to post publicly. So we are sticking with the PG version for now.) What was I supposed to do? Just truck along I guess. My parents tried all sorts of remedies. Anything and everything – ranging the wingspan of an albatross.
But nothing really seemed to “do the trick.” You know what I mean? It just wasn’t there.. So years went by with this canopy casting its shade on me.
And I actually learned to cope over time. I could get by, but I knew I was still not living to my full potential. I figured there had to be something that could help me..
And there was! Every day I thank the Lord for the one foundational change that helped everything else in my life.
Keto Lifts the Cloud
Yes, that one thing is a ketogenic diet. Had it not been for my mother discovering the diet, I assure you that I would not have the same level of happiness as I now have. She pestered me, and my entire family, about just trying the diet.
So, I finally decided to give in to mom’s desires for me. I went shopping and bought all the food she told me too. Then I went home and got rid of all the bread, pasta, rice, etc. (It was then I realized how addicting those foods are. A topic for another time – but it was really hard to get rid of all those snack foods!)
Yes, I went through the keto flu (which was awful for me because I didn’t make sure to take enough salt), and I didn’t know if this lifestyle was for me. But I pushed through, and I remember something magical happening. This was about a year ago.
I was riding my bike one day on a mountain trail – a beautiful Spring day with nothing to worry about. Next thing I know, my brain felt better. “Better” is a hard word to describe. I literally felt the ketone bodies hitting my brain. The blanket lifted from my head. It was like some outside force had reached out a hand and pulled the canopy away. I honestly don’t know what happened, but that’s the way it worked.
BAM! All of a sudden like that. I mean in the span of seconds, I went from fog to clarity. That quickly. Ever since then, nothing has been able to give me sustainable moods. I know for a fact it was the ketones that were fixing my brain because every time I fall away from keto, I get that fog again. There is just something about my biology that allows for that. But I always have one go-to answer that will allows work. Without fail, a ketogenic diet is the only way I can get happiness from the root.
Yes! If you are anything like me, then you would like some scientific literature to compare my story too. Is what I felt “normal?” Is it repeatable? Or was it just a fluke experience I had? Let’s look to the world of research for an answer.
I am not the only one who experiences better moods. Because the research on ketogenic diets is limited, there have been no clinical trials on humans specifically looking for the effect on depression. But several studies (looking at other aspects of the diet) have come out reporting their patients have better moods.
In a study conducted by McClernon et al. in 2007, researchers found that a low carb, ketogenic diet decreased depression, anger, indecision, and many other negative emotions. Not only did it decreased their depression, it did it much more effectively as compared to a low fat diet.
Then there are animal model studies that give a pretty good projection of how humans would respond. Not perfect – but close. There are two main studies that show this effect on rats. In the first study, rats fed a ketogenic diet experienced similar effects as those given antidepressants. The rats fed a ketogenic diet “were less likely to experience behavior despair.” In the second study, rats fed a ketogenic diet experienced less anxiety and restlessness – symptoms of ADHD.
The last article I analyzed was one from 2001. Researchers proposed a hypothesis that a ketogenic diet should also help with mood disorders. It is probably because of studies like this one that so many people realize the promise the diet has. But they give a hypothetical mechanism and show the similarity between the effects of antidepressants and ketone bodies. They both improve the brain-energy profile and lower the intracellular sodium concentrations.
It looks like we need to consider ketogenic diets antidepressants! They work the same way, but one occurs naturally from changing the motor of your body. I would choose that way over pills any day of the week!
Now, these are only a few studies. Sadly, it is incredibly hard to gain funding for studies on high fat diets. They are too radical I guess. But there are so many instances that people report that “fog” being lifted from their head. Check out any internet forum on the diet. Everyone talks as if their body and mind are finally in harmony. The scientific literature suggests the validity of those statements.
The bottom line it: a ketogenic diet will certainly stabilize your moods and lift that fog that’s been covering your head – perhaps, like me, a fog that was present for too long. Get rid of it! It doesn’t need to be there. You will be surprised at how well it works. I want you to be happy. Like my mom would say, “Just give it a try.”
 McClernon FJ, Yancy WS, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC. (2007). The Effects of a Low‐Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low‐Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self‐Reported Symptoms. Obesity 15(1): 182-187
 Murphy P, Likhodii S, Nylen K, Burnham WM. (2004). The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological Psychiatry 56(12): 981-983.
 Murphy P, Burnham WM. (2006). The ketogenic diet causes a reversible decrease in activity level in Long-Evans rats. Experimental Neurology 201(1): 84-89.
 El-Mallakh RS, Paskitti ME. (2001). The ketogenic diet may have mood-stabilizing properties. Medical Hypotheses 57(6): 724-726.