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. FitDay highlights some of the complications one can experience by consuming too few carbs like fatigue, constipation, dizziness, fainting, headaches and muscle aches.
However, the type of carbs you eat could be affecting how well your body responds to your desired weight loss.
You’ll want to stay away from high-glycemic carbs like breads, potatoes, rice and pasta as these foods cause a spike in blood sugar. With a low-carb diet, maybe you and LeBron will be sporting a slim stature when the basketball season rolls around.
The studies consistently show that when people cut carbs and eat more protein and fat, they end up eating much fewer calories. In fact… when researchers are comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in studies, they need to actively restrict calories in the low-fat groups to make the results comparable (2).
Bottom Line: When people cut carbs, their appetite tends to go down and they often end up eating much fewer calories without trying. Cutting carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. Studies show that people on low-carb diets lose more weight, faster, than people on low-fat diets… even when the low-fat dieters are actively restricting calories. One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. In studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, the low-carbers sometimes lose 2-3 times as much weight, without being hungry (5, 6). Low-carb diets appear to be particularly effective for up to 6 months, but after that the weight starts creeping back up because people give up on the diet and start eating the same old stuff (7).
Bottom Line: Almost without exception, low-carb diets lead to more weight loss than the diets they are compared to, especially in the first 6 months. Visceral fat is fat that tends to lodge around the organs. Having a lot of fat in that area can drive inflammation, insulin resistance and is believed to be a leading driver of the metabolic dysfunction that is so common in Western countries today (8).
Bottom Line: A large percentage of the fat lost on low-carb diets tends to come from the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that is known to cause serious metabolic problems. When people cut carbs, they tend to have a very dramatic reduction in blood triglycerides (14, 15). Compare this to low-fat diets, which can cause triglycerides to go up in many cases (16, 17). Bottom Line: Low-carb diets are very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood and a well known risk factor for heart disease. Whereas LDL carries cholesterol from the liver and to the rest of the body, HDL carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver, where it can be reused or excreted. Bottom Line: Low-carb diets tend to be high in fat, which leads to an impressive increase in blood levels of HDL, often referred to as the “good” cholesterol. For people who are healthy, the quick insulin response tends to minimize the blood sugar “spike” in order to prevent it from harming us. However… many, many people have major problems with this system. This can lead to a disease called type 2 diabetes, when the body fails to secrete enough insulin to lower the blood sugar after meals. If you are currently on blood sugar lowering medication, then talk to your doctor before making changes to your carbohydrate intake, because your dosage may need to be adjusted in order to prevent hypoglycemia. Bottom Line: The best way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels is to reduce carbohydrate consumption.
Bottom Line: Studies show that reducing carbs leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of many common diseases. Metabolic syndrome is a medical condition that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, the government and major health organization still recommend a low-fat diet for this purpose, which is pretty much useless because it does nothing to address the underlying metabolic problem. Bottom Line: Low-carb diets effectively reverse all 5 key symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, a serious condition known to predispose people to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Bottom Line: When you eat a low-carb diet, your LDL particles change from small (bad) LDL to large LDL – which is benign. It is often claimed that glucose is necessary for the brain… and it’s true. Some part of the brain can only burn glucose. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment (44). In many cases, this diet can cure children of epilepsy. About Kris GunnarsKris Gunnars is a medical student, personal trainer and founder of Authority Nutrition, a website that helps people make informed decisions about their health based on the best scientific evidence available.
DISCLOSURE: Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. I have had low blood sugar issues since I was a kid, often passing out in class because I hadn’t eaten enough protein. A low-carb vegan diet led to greater weight loss and lower cholesterol levels than a high-carb vegetarian diet, says a new study coming out of the journal BMJ Open. Both factors contribute to heart health and heart disease risk.
Prior studies have shown a correlation between low-carb diets and losing weight, while other studies have shown how a vegan diet may help lower cholesterol. The main sources of carbohydrate was the high fibre food such as oats and barley and low-starch vegetable such as okra and eggplant. 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.
He decided to try the diet in an effort to stay in tiptop shape and (hopefully) prolong his career. If you do decide to give a low-carb diet a shot, the Medical Center at the University of Maryland has some tips to help you shed pounds healthily.
When your blood sugar rises it sets off a chain reaction starting with an increase in insulin levels. Because they lower insulin levels, the kidneys start shedding excess sodium, leading to rapid weight loss in the first week or two (3, 4). The only way to succeed in the long-term is to stick to it. However, some people may be able to add in healthy carbs after they have reached their goal weight. The higher it is, the greater your risk of heart disease is (26, 27, 28). By lowering triglycerides and raising HDL levels, low-carb diets lead to a major improvement in this ratio.
They have what is called insulin resistance, which means that the cells don’t “see” the insulin and therefore it is harder for the body to bring the blood sugar into the cells (29). This disease is very common today, afflicting about 300 million people worldwide (30). There is actually a very simple solution to this problem… by cutting carbohydrates, you remove the need for all of that insulin. People who have mostly small particles have a high risk of heart disease, while people who have mostly large particles have a low risk (40, 41, 42). It turns out that low-carb diets actually turn the LDL particles from small to large, while reducing the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream (43).
Cutting carbs may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream. That’s why the liver produces glucose out of protein if we don’t eat any carbs. But a large part of the brain can also burn ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carbohydrate intake is very low. In one study, over half of children on a ketogenic diet had a greater than 50% reduction in seizures.
I think you and I live in the same world and I’ve been living a low carb lifestyle for over a decade. 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. 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.
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. I’m always so much healthier with low carb, but it is so hard to not to want to cheat and eat like the rest of the world. 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. 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. 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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