When most people think of low-carbohydrate diets, they think of weight loss.  But did you know that neurologists have been successfully treating severe cases of epilepsy with low-carbohydrate (“ketogenic”) diets for nearly 100 years?
What more powerful evidence could there be for the role of diet in brain chemistry?  Not only is this phenomenon remarkable in its own right, but it also has potentially powerful implications for the treatment of a wide variety of neurological disorders.
Ketogenic diets are very low in carbohydrate, therefore blood sugar and insulin levels are lower and much more stable than on standard “balanced” diets that are high in carbohydrate.
What we do know is that epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases are all associated with “mitochondrial dysfunction”.
We also know that epilepsy and other neurodegenerative diseases are universally associated with inflammation. Dietary changes are difficult to make, and benefits can be slow to take effect, therefore nutritional approaches are not recommended in emergency situations. If you are currently taking a mood stabilizing medication, please do not make any changes to your medications without discussing it with your clinician. Very low-carbohydrate diets can alter the way medications are processed by the body, so if you are taking medications of any kind (including blood pressure and diabetes medications), and decide to try a low-carbohydrate diet, please do so with close medical supervision. Sign up to be notified of my latest posts!Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content. Good morning, Jane, and thank you so much for sharing your story–we can all learn so much from one another. It can also be very useful to monitor your blood sugar levels at home periodically, using a blood glucose meter (designed for people with diabetes).
There are 2 excellent books about ketogenic diets: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living (Phinney and Volek) and The Rosedale Diet (Rosedale).
In your opinion, is the sweet potato the lesser evil when compared to the white potato in terms of sugar spikes?
Sweet potatoes and yams have a lower glycemic index (typically between 50 and 70) while white potatoes run between 70 and 110 (Russets are 110). I’m not yet convinced that high fat intake (80%) or MCT oil are necessary for a successful ketogenic diet.
I had had a bout of Bilharzia so I thought that my kidneys might have been bleeding, but this was not the case. No worries if you choose not to share more; if not, just know that I understand that this diet is not for everyone, and may require troubleshooting and special modifications for some people in order to make it comfortable and successful. My wife has had a bi-polar issue for years, and reports that she feels much better on a low carb, high fat diet. Thank you very much for sharing this information with us here; it’s wonderful that your wife has discovered a diet that helps her! Well, sad to say, not long after I wrote the above post my wife committed suicide by shooting herself in the head. I just finished up a busy stretch at work and am logging back into my site today after a couple of months away. Low carbohydrate foods are a crucial part of low carb diets meant to help with weight loss and obesity treatments, or prevention of weight gains. This complete Atkins grocery list is organized into basic food groups with details and best options.
The spiral veggie slicer comes with three blades: a shredder blade (small holes), a chipper blade (large holes) and a straight blade. The Inspiralized cookbook shows you how to transform more than 20 vegetables and fruits into delicious meals that look and taste just like your favorite indulgent originals. Berries: Choose fresh, local fruit in season and stick to berries which are lower in sugar. Try Avocados: A great snack with lemon juice or balsamic, or make guacamole for dipping low carb veggies. Now Foods erythritol powder is a natural sweetener that’s non-GMO, low glycemic impact and zero calorie. Refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing risky spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
To make matters more confusing, there are some forms of grain processing that don’t involve grinding at all. To learn more about the health risks associated with eating refined carbohydrates and added sugars, along with a helpful infographic listing simple ways to reduce your risk, please see my post How to Diagnose, Prevent and Treat Insulin Resistance. Honey (Even though honey exists in nature and isn’t refined, it is a pure sugar that is difficult to obtain in significant quantities without special equipment or risk.
Fermented fruits only turn into ethanol after long periods of fermentation before that happens healthy bacteria and lactic acid are present. Hi Dr Ede, my apologies if this question popped up several times, I’m having trouble posting a comment. Some traditional peoples ate low carb diets, some ate low carb intermittently, and some ate high carb diets, so it’s not about who ate what.
What about artificial or “diabetic” sweetners like maltitol sweetened chocolate?
This weekend I will be posting the first article in an occasional series about sweeteners (first article will be about Nectresse), so sugar alcohols will eventually be covered separately. I know we need none and I know, what you recommend won’t change what my body will or will not tolerate, I am just curious.
Thanks for reading and for your story–congratulations on being so close to your goal weight! You can always change your eating habits I was used to eating sugars, white carbs, and such and was able to change what I cooked.

I have put on so much weight and have worked out that carbs are making me eat so much more and I feel sluggish all the time. My apologies for any confusion about this list, which is intended to represent both refined and high glycemic index carbohydrates. Fructose Malabsorbtion, eat LOW FODMAP FOODS many on this list for refined carbs are high in FRUCTOSE…about 30 percent of the population cannot process fructose properly. I have high insulin levels and was researching what foods to avoid, i came across this article and was wondering if their are any suggestions on how to lower insulin levels naturally opposed to doctors prescribed medications, i know they say stay away from refined carbs, saturated fats, trans fats and processed foods… nothing has given me clarity as what exactly i can eat as every food i find is one of the mentioned groups can anyone help?
If you remove all high glycemic and refined carbs and still have trouble, try removing #2, then number 3, then number 4 if all else fails…do not worry about saturated fat at all! I cannot provide personalized medical advice on this site, but I can state generally that the diet you have been advised to eat sounds reasonably healthy, in that it contains no refined carbohydrates and consists of whole foods. I am puzzled in why i feel so tired when i had eight hours of sleep and around 1:pm today i felt really nauseated and headach, no loss of appetite but its wired as soon i have a little of something to eat, that sick feeling goes away for a few moments same as if i drink a pop or juice but when i am done it comes back in waves. Watermelon may have a high glycemic index but isn’t it mostly water so the part that spikes your blood sugar is very small? I’m hoping you may be able to ad some weight in a debate we are currently having at work. In your opinion, is a bowl of Wheetbix and low fat milk a good foundation to build a productive day or what food suggestions would you recommend? My problem is I need to eat 3,000-3,500 calories daily for the intense workouts and not be underweight.
What would you recommend in this morgning, I mean in on a diet to get bigger and lean and I don’t think eating unhealthy cereal with sugar would help my bodyfat % ?
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Hi am new and would love to know what’s your take on a vegan lifestyle and a vegetarian lifestyle also.
I guess it depends on your definition of high… Full-fat milk and full-fat plain, unsweetened yogurt both contain approximately 12 grams of naturally-occurring sugar (lactose) per cup. My doctor recommended I reduce ny highly processed carb intake but sandwhiches are one of my favorite foods.
There’s also an interesting and really funny post about low-carb breads on one of my favorite low-carb websites, hosted by Dr.
Ede may not personally respond to comments, however comments shall remain open to encourage community discussion.
Despite various anti-depressants, I could never seem to feel better…until I went on a low-carb diet 2 years ago.
I would like to monitor the changes, what type of blood tests or lab tests do I need to take so I have a base line of now and how often do I need to redo test to track changes properly?
Then have them all repeated 3 mos after changing your diet to see how they may have changed.
Ede, If it turns out I have normal fasting and post-prandial blood glucose levels (even after eating lots of carbs and sugar for several days, and during the meal just prior) then will eating low-carb still benefit me if I am not in ketosis? When I was eating that small amount of starch each day, I was sleeping like a baby and was even off of all the supplements I had been taking (Melatonin, L-Tryptophan, Taurine).
She has told me that when she eats carbs now, in a moment of weakness, her head just spins and she feels very strange.
She had a terrible time with what we might call impulse control, she was bad tempered and emotional and violent. For the best health, choose grass-fed or organic meats – avoiding antibiotic, pesticide and grain residues. They can be added after the Atkins Induction phase (Usually after the first two weeks of your diet.) once your weight and health are stable. Most common chronic diseases of Western Civilization have been tied to these types of (deliciously addictive) carbohydrates, therefore it is wise to keep them to a minimum. Once the grain is broken into pieces by any kind of processing, it could be considered refined to some extent. 100% stoneground, whole meal flours are less refined and not as unhealthy as other types of flours because they are not as finely ground and take longer to digest.
I hope you will find time to write an article about probiotics (kefir, yogurt, saurkraut, Kim chi, kombucha) since this topic is widely accepted as being de facto an essential part of a so called healthy diet. I just lowered my carbs from 25-30 net carbs to 16 total carbs and lost 4 pounds in just a couple of days.
I now eat lean meat no marbled meats or pork and only put a half teaspoon of raw honey in my morning coffee.
This means that even people who eat a very low-carbohydrate diet can have some milk or yogurt if they would like, since most low-carbers aim for less than 50 grams per day.
It’s a toughie, because bread is so much a part of daily life that it can feel impossible to imagine life without it. If you do decide to try a dietary change, just keep in mind that it can take 3 to 4 weeks before potential benefits become noticeable. Over a period of months, I started to notice I didn’t have that feeling of always having a cloud over me.
Least restrictive, but also less likely to be effective, especially if you want great results. I had a fasting level of 70-75 and post-prandial after exceedingly high carb+sugar meals of 80-87. However I of course don’t know HOW ketogenic I am, so I am going to measure myself soon just to get an idea.

Apparently I only need a tiny amount of ketones present in order to not have migraines, but I want to be in deeper ketosis for my mood, energy, and focus. It felt like my internal clock had been reset, as I found myself getting tired at around 8-9pm and waking up naturally at 6 or 7. All of these processes damage or remove the bran coating of grains, making the grains faster to cook and the starches inside easier to digest. But what about sugars and starches from whole foods, such as fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains? Nonfat unsweetened yogurt contains more sugar than full-fat yogurt, about 17 grams per cup, depending on the brand, and of course sweetened yogurts are MUCH higher in sugar.
There are hundreds of comments below the article that include lots of advice, ideas, and recipes for people looking for good low-carb breads.
It stands to reason that these dietary changes, which have profound effects on other neurological disorders, would have the potential for profound effects on psychiatric disorders, as well.
It nojw feels like the “dark glasses” I had were taken off of me, and life just looks different now, even though not much in terms of life circumstances had changed in the mean time! This diet can smooth out the spikes in blood sugar and insulin but your cells burn mostly carbohydrate on this diet instead of fat. I feel like this isn’t a very significant increase considering HOW much sugar I consumed. I was going to ask you if there were any you found to not be an issue, but I guess it will really be an individual thing and I can just test each one out for myself.
For carbs, I just checked my food journal and I am eating between 40-100 carbs a day, probably averaging at 70. I am curious whether you find you can tolerate any coconut products (milk, oil, aminos) or if you avoid all of it? I am really trying to not do too many changes at once, but it is so hard as I learn new information!
Now I am finding that I need the supplements again, not only to fall asleep, but to stay asleep, and circadian rhythm is off again.
The next food I test is actually going to be pork, because I suspect I have a slight reaction to it (fatigue, head pressure) so maybe when I test it next I will get some pork belly!
Yes, they do not enjoy the depression part very much, and it might be fatal, but how much do they enjoy the “high” and the feelings they have when they are not depressed? They also self-medicate, and apparently, in my wife’s case, with both alcohol and non-prescription (illegal) drugs. It’s easy for most of us to identify sugars, because they taste sweet and usually come in the form of crystals, syrups, or powders.
I keep my protein intake higher than my carbs intake, I get my sugar from fruits now, and drink plenty of water about 8 glasses a day.
I started a low-carb diet to improve my GERD but never expected to have less physical pain or depression! Purists and those who need to use this diet for important medical reasons monitor their blood ketones in addition to blood glucose.
Does this mean I have fairly stable blood sugar, and if so, then can I only expect the therapeutic results you mention if I am actually producing ketones? The first one I ate wasn’t enough to trigger a headache, but the second one was, hence the PM headaches. I think I kind of knew coconut was a trigger for me but was in denial, because without it I have such a (even more!) limited diet. My sense is that such illegal drugs, taken as they usually are, are not only addictive, they seem to make people not reason very well, and lead to bad decisions and terrible outcomes.
Coarse stone-ground grain meals and cracked kernel grains are among the least refined, and soft, powdered grains (flours of all kinds and starches such as corn starch) are the most refined. To learn more about which category you fall into, start by taking my quiz How Carbohydrate-Sensitive Are You? I’m walking to work and have a three mile quick paced walk after dinner and am doing a wee bit of weights at home and I have lost 43 pounds in 14 weeks.
Blood ketone meters are cheap but test strips are very expensive, so most people can’t afford to measure every day.
I am confused over why my blood sugar did not spike, especially because I feel like I’m addicted to carbs! I have never actually tried an olive (despite liking olive oil), but that’s not a bad idea to try sometime. Sugar is a killer and we are so addicted to it that when we reduced our sugar intake (or in my case I stop eating sugar or any product made with it) we will experience headaches and bad mood.
We will see if these results will be long term, but for now at least I am happy about the combination of these two therapies!
Essentially I am currently struggling to get in the high amount of fat needed for this diet.
It is like a drug and your brain needs it to function but in reality the energy burst you get only last for short time and your body keeps asking you for more.
I ate one later as a test, and developed a slight headache pretty quickly after, and to be sure I ate part of the next one, and the headache got much worse.

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