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. Many people turn to a low-carb diet in order to maintain a healthy weight through eating more nutritiously. The study followed close to 44,000 women in Sweden from the ages of 30 to 49 from 1991 through 1992. Along with limiting protein, arginine supplements can also be useful in aiding good heart health. While further study needs to be done, this study makes it clear that the answer to good health is not completely eliminating any one food group.
What Our Customers say…"My kidneys are better now since I have been taking this product, and I just recommend it highly to anyone who needs to have their health brought back to normal without taking any medications. Carbophobia gave way to fatphobia in the 1980s (it seems like we’re always scared of something), but it’s an approach that never really went away. I hear quite often from vegans who would like to cut back on carbs and eat more protein, and sometimes from those who even want to eat a more Paleo-style diet. But I don’t think we need to aim for those Paleo levels of 30% to reap the benefits of protein.
The researchers who study the Eco-Atkins diet have devised a vegan diet that is about 30% protein, but it’s just not a very realistic plan for the average vegan. Include nuts in your menus and opt more often for the higher-protein choices like peanuts (which are actually legumes) and almonds. As long as you aren’t among the minority of people with gluten intolerance, seitan can be a good way to enhance protein intake.
Keep in mind that, unless they are protein-fortified, plant milks other than soy are very low in protein. Emphasize vegetables over fruits and choose higher-protein veggies like spinach and broccoli most often.
The association of nuts with protein is a pet peeve of mine, most nuts are not only relatively low in protein on a per calorie basis but the protein is often poor quality as well. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason to recommend, in general, nuts over grains for protein, on average they are about the same (per calorie) and if anything the protein in grains is higher quality. Without the use of protein supplements or protein isolates I think its hard to get over ~15% protein on a plant-based diet.
Fats are generally associated with satiety and low carb diets are alternatively called high fat diets.
Fats are associated with satiety in popular culture which is probably due to their much higher calorie density. There is no evidence that seitan, tofu, tempeh or isolated protein is harmful or less preferable than a whole foods diet.
Sure there is, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the health benefits of whole grains, legumes, nuts, etc and there seems to be none that show the same thing for protein isolates.
And I had metabolic syndrome a decade ago and a diet that is very high in simply carbohydrates works for me. 2) Linguine has a lower GI because of the way starch molecules are linked together structurally within pasta, and how they are absorbed (slowly). Can you explain how you came to the conclusion that the diets of pre-agricultural people were about 30% protein. This is the conclusion of nutritional anthropologists who study diets of pre-ag people based on archeological evidence. When is the last time you heard someone say “Hey, I just lost a ton of weight on this high carb diet!”? When is the last time you heard someone say “Hey, I just lost a ton of weight on this low carb diet!”? For every single gram of carbohydrates you ingest, there are typically 4 calories associated. The worse carbohydrate offenders are: chips, snacks, candy, ice cream, and other junk food! I’d caution you… As easy as it is to follow, you need to be cautious also because carbs and sugars are in darn near everything!
By removing specific items such as bread, candy, grains, pastas and sodas, you introduce the shock and awe of structure in your life and household. You become a chef due to the fact that it becomes increasingly difficult to find decent, low carb, grain free meals while eating out.

Granted, the majority of this quick 4-6 pounds of weight loss is due to reducing glycogen storage in the body. Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, is a condition which has been gaining recognition as a contributing factor in many health issues. New evidence suggests that as many as 1 in 10 people are gluten sensitive, or gluten intolerant. Right now, prior to removing carbs from your diet, your body uses those stored carbs for energy. In approximately 12 days, your body will be depleted from carbs, leaving your body no choice but to use stored body fat for energy! I used a low carb approach to lose approximately 35 pounds and my body honestly feels much better which I remove grains and carbs from my diet.
It takes approximately 12 days for your body to switch from a carb and sugar burning machine, to a fat adapted, body fat burning machine! I experience an extreme increase in overall bloating and water retention when I have cheat meals and carb refeeds.
If so, please join the rest of us who receive exclusive fitness content, workout tips, and get a FREE COPY of 5 fitness guides, The Fitness GPS! Enter your name and email below to get INSTANT ACCESS to my 5 free guides, The Fitness GPS! Once you’ve depleted your glycogen stores, the body draws on fat and protein sources for energy. Hungry for more energy - and with no carbs in sight - you start producing ketone bodies (by-products of fat metabolism). I began training in martial arts in 1964 at the famous Hatashita Judo Club in Toronto, Canada in Jiu Jitsu under Ron Forrester, the Father of Canadian Jiu Jitsu. 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. However, a new study is showing that diets low in carbs can actually have negative health consequences over the years. The subjects were closely monitored for heart disease and were found that those that decreased their level of carbohydrate intake actually ended up with an increased rate of cardiovascular disease. Arginine is optimal because it increases the circulation of blood in the heart, making the blood more plentiful around this area, thus making the heart not have to work so hard in pumping it. Rather eating smaller portions, fatty foods in moderation and taking arginine supplements and other essential vitamins and minerals are the way to ensure good heart health and good health overall. The first book promoting carbohydrate restriction for weight loss, Eat Fat and Grow Slim, was published in 1958. Today, however, low-carb proponents are much more likely to embrace a so-called Paleo-style diet. Best estimates are that pre-agricultural people got about 35 to 50 percent of their calories from carbohydrates.
I’m not at all opposed to boosting protein intake, which may have benefits for some people. And it would be pretty hard to get protein intake that high on a vegan diet without also having high intakes of either carbohydrates or fat.
I think a more practical approach for vegans who want to eat a little more protein and less carbohydrate is to aim for a diet that is about 20% protein, 30-35% fat and 45-50% carbs. My daily intake (and I track it meticulously) is about 50% carb, 18% protein and 32% fat using only whole foods, and limited soy (2oz tempeh per day). An overload of carbs, especially processed carbs, is a real risk factor for metabolic syndrome, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. The Pritikin and Kempner diets allowed simple carbohydrates and produced truly stunning results (albeit small scale) in the treatment of diabetes and CVDs. Al dente linguine has a lower glycemic index than many whole grains (corn, rice, oats) and is a terrific source of resistant starch.
Perhaps someday the Paleo-style eaters will try a vegan diet, when they need more success (like Dan). Mammoth hunts may have been rare and dangerous but anybstudy of hunter gatherer cultures from around the world shows a huge and relatively effortless reliance on meat from snares, traps and fish hooks in addition to a large amount of insect protein and shellfish. Begin your low carb journey by cutting your carb intake to 50-100g per day and watch the fat begin to fall off! In 1965, I trained in Karate, My Jong Law Horn Kung Fu, Chi Kung and Tai Chi with Stephen Tom.
Just a few easy steps and we can continue to make a difference in the lives of our readers!
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. The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard and published in the British Medical Journal, showed that risk of stroke and heart attack actually increased in those that ate a diet low in carbohydrates. The reason for this might be the fact that when people aren’t eating carbs, they tend to instead eat eating much more protein, which can have an adverse effect on good heart health. The regulated your nutritious intake, the more likely it is that you are going to feel and look better, and your body is going to function better.
And I can remember the wildly popular The Drinking Man’s Diet of the 1960s (which restricted carbs but allowed as many martinis as you wanted).
It’s a different spin on low-carbohydrate eating since Paleo advocates avoid dairy foods and processed meats.

Their diets were about 30% protein and 20 to 35% fat, although actual intakes probably varied a lot over different regions. Modern Paleo diets are rich in vegetables, higher in good fats, and completely devoid of processed foods like refined grains.
Higher protein intake is associated with satiety so it can be beneficial for those trying to lose weight. Most of our protein-rich foods come packaged with one or the other (carbs in beans; fats in nuts and seeds).
Ultra-low carb diets discourage them, but that’s a mistake since these foods have so many wonderful health benefits.
I limit my grain intake to 4 slices of ezekiel sprouted flaxseed bread and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ per day.
Carbs are the fuel that burns quickly, providing you with both acceleration and high performance. In 1973, I began training in Chito Ryu Karate with Monty Guest and in My Jong Law Horn, Hsing I, Chi Kung and I Chuan with William Chau after his arrival from Hong Kong. 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. The core findings of the study show that a more well-balanced diet, along with the presence of amino acids – such as arginine supplements – can lead to a more healthy and balanced life. Those that included carbs in their diet had a greater tendency to watch the intake of protein. Another benefit of taking arginine supplements is the fact that it does aid on weight loss and helps to fix a great deal of other health maladies that can befall people of any age. The carbohydrates would have come mostly from vegetables, tubers, and fruits with only small amounts of grains and maybe even smaller amounts of wild beans.
Consuming more vegetables and nuts and fewer doughnuts and soft drinks can only improve your health.
And it might help to protect muscle and bone mass for older people or for those who are shedding pounds. It’s really the best of all worlds since it allows you to pack in a little extra protein and healthy plant fat, while still eating plenty of satisfying and comforting carbs. There is very little evidence that moderate consumption of processed or refined plant foods is associated with risk.
At this stage, you may experience nausea, headaches, fatigue and breath that smells like ammonia. I am forever indebted to my teachers for sharing the deep resources of the martial arts and how they can benefit every aspect of our daily lives.
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. Paleo advocates also recommend avoiding all grains and beans (more food phobia), but the evidence doesn’t support that recommendation. There is nothing Paleo about this plan, though; it’s much too big on legumes—which I think is a good thing. However, the paleo diet is not the answer (at least for me), as it gave me severe hypercholesterolemia. 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.
Nothing against wheat I just don’t really like whole wheat and would rather other grains.
Low-carb veganism (modest amounts of fruit and modest amounts of whole grains) works well from both an ethical and health point of view.
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 agree with you that oats are seriously undersold in terms of protein, and nuts are oversold. 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.
And as far as protein quality, I am already well above the recommendations for all essential amino acids, even while running on a calorie deficit.

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