Low carb diets have become increasingly popular for people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other diseases that require them to keep their blood sugar levels in check. However, despite these physical health benefits, many low carb dieters experience a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. This presentation will consider some approaches for managing these mental health problems while on low carb diets.

A low carb diet is a weight loss method that restricts the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten. This can be a very effective approach to weight loss, especially when used together with exercise and other healthy lifestyle factors. The typical low carb diet has an average carbohydrate intake of between 20-30% of total calories. This equates to around 300-400 calories per day, with around 10g of carbohydrate per day being consumed.

Following some basic low carb meal planning rules can help you to curb your cravings for high carb foods and keep you feeling fuller between meals.. Read more about keto for mental health and let us know what you think.

Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Perhaps a change in diet would be beneficial? We discuss the growing discipline of nutritional psychiatry and the recent evidence that a low-carbohydrate whole food diet may enhance mood and mental health in our guide Linking Food and Mood. We look at how the contemporary diet, which is high in sugar and other processed carbs, may lead to mental problems in a separate guide.

Has learning about low-carb diets piqued your curiosity in making lifestyle changes? We certainly hope so! If you’re on medication for mental health problems, you’ll need to work a bit harder before ditching your regular diet and converting to a low-carb one. You’ll discover how to prepare for the changes that a low-carb diet may bring to your therapy in this article.

Is it a good idea to attempt a low-carb diet to improve your mental health?

Although there is little scientific evidence linking low-carbohydrate diets to mental illness, the data that is available is promising. It may be years before we see good studies, but for those who don’t want to wait that long, there is enough of scientific evidence that low-carb diets are safe and healthy for nearly everyone.


Starting a new diet may be difficult for many people, but it can be much more difficult if you’re dealing with mental health problems. Changing your diet requires motivation, preparation, consistent effort, and significant disruptions to your normal, comfortable pattern, all of which may be unpleasant. Choose a start date that does not overlap with other significant changes or difficulties in your life to improve your chances of success. You may want to explore short-term medicine to keep you going if you’re too sad to demonstrate willpower or too nervous to bear the stress of a new diet.


To evaluate your preparedness for change, monitor your progress, and remain motivated, ask yourself these questions. It may also be beneficial to address these concerns with your healthcare professionals.

  1. Why did you make the decision to alter your eating habits?
  2. What are your goals for altering your diet?
  3. What are your thoughts on your present diet? Make a note of the emotions and behaviors with which you’ve recently struggled.
  4. What are your thoughts on medication? Make a note of the benefits and drawbacks of any psychiatric medications you’re taking.
  5. What do you believe the most difficult aspect of altering your diet is?
  6. Is there anybody in your family or community that you can turn to for help? If it doesn’t work, you may seek help from a support group, a counselor, or a coach.


Before altering your diet, talk to your doctor about any medicines you’re presently on. Your doctor should ideally be on board with the concept and be acquainted with low-carb diets, or at the very least ready to learn about them. If not, direct them to our continuing education course to learn more about low-carb diets as a therapeutic tool. If your current doctor refuses to accept your recommendations, consider finding a new one or asking if he or she would be willing to collaborate with a nutritionist, family practitioner, or other qualified health professional who has clinical experience with the ketogenic diet and can assist you with your treatment.

Once you’ve begun, make a plan with your doctor to have him or her keep a careful eye on you. During the first six weeks of your new regimen, you should meet weekly with your primary care physician (or his or her team), your primary care physician (if you are seeing someone separately), and other collaborating health care professionals.

Basic examinations

Before altering the diet, blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, and waist circumference should all be documented and monitored. Before you alter your diet, talk to your doctor about getting blood testing. The following are some useful tests:

  • metabolic panel after a complete fast (glucose, electrolytes, renal function, liver function and acid-base balance)
  • Lipid test in a hurry (includes HDL cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • During a fast, the total insulin level rises.
  • Graph of thyroid function
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) is a highly sensitive protein (hs-CRP)
  • Uric acid in the blood
  • Medication levels in the blood, if any (lithium and Depakote are particularly important – see below).
  • Any additional tests that your doctor suggests

It’s also a good idea to have your blood tested for nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and magnesium are the vitamins and minerals most frequently linked to mental disorders.

Beginner’s low-carb diet

Guidelines Carbohydrates, which are mostly found in sweet meals, pasta, and bread, are scarce in low carbohydrate diets. Rather, consume actual food that includes protein, healthy fats, and veggies. In this article, you’ll learn more about low-carb diets and how they may help you reach your specific objectives.

Medication administration

Low-carbohydrate diets may result in fast changes in brain and body composition, which can alter medication levels, doses, and side effects, necessitating close medical supervision. This is particularly crucial in the first two months while your metabolism adapts to your new healthy eating habits.

Read the following information if you are presently taking medication for depression, anxiety, mood disorders, sleep problems, attention deficit disorder, or psychosis and wish to attempt a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet for the first time. This section is not comprehensive, and since each case is different, you should always get personalized advice from your doctor.


Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and Wellbutrin are often given (bupropion). SSRIs include Zoloft (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram), and Prozac (fluoxetine) (fluoxetine). SNRIs include Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine). Although these medicines seldom create issues with low-carb diets, some individuals who use SSRIs and Effexor report increased appetite and weight gain, making it difficult to stick to a new diet. With Wellbutrin and Cymbalta, increased hunger and weight gain are typical side effects.


Antipsychotic medications including Risperdal (risperidone), Abilify (aripiprazole), and Seroquel (quetiapine) may raise insulin levels and induce insulin resistance, making ketones production more difficult. Of course, it is possible to profit from dietary modifications while still taking antipsychotic medicines, but in certain instances, these medications must be entirely stopped in order to fully reap the advantages of a ketogenic diet. Antipsychotics include a wide range of medications. Ask your doctor whether your medicine is an antipsychotic if you’re not sure.


Most individuals lose a few additional pounds of water via urine during the first few days of the ketogenic diet because the ketogenic diet alters the way the body processes fluids and electrolytes (salts), including lithium, which is a salt. This suggests that a ketogenic diet may have an impact on lithium levels. As a result, before beginning a ketogenic diet, lithium levels should be carefully tested and monitored to determine whether the dose has to be changed. It’s critical to consume enough of salt and pay attention to electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, particularly at the start of this diet.

mood stabilizers (anticonvulsants)

Mood swings, sleeplessness, and anxiety are all treated with antiepileptic medications, which were initially designed to treat epileptic seizures. When switching to a ketogenic diet, drugs like Depakote (valproate), Zonegran (zonisamide), and Topamax (topiramate) are more likely to act oddly.

Depakote (valproate) is a fatty acid that may be used as a source of energy by cells. Because a ketogenic diet speeds up your body’s fat metabolism, hungry cells may remove Depakote molecules from your circulation, resulting in decreased Depakote levels in your system.

Zonegran (zonisamide) and Topamax (topiramate) alter the way the kidneys absorb electrolytes (salts) and may cause a small acidity in the blood (metabolic acidosis), which increases the risk of kidney stones. If you’re on any of these medicines, it’s critical to stay hydrated to avoid kidney stones, and to work closely with your doctor, who may want to test your calcium, creatinine, citrate, pH, relative density, and occult blood (a microscopic amount of blood in the urine that can indicate the presence of kidney stones). A low-salt diet is usually recommended for individuals using Zonegran or Topamax who wish to minimize their risk of kidney stones, but this may not be the best option with a ketogenic diet, particularly during the first adjustment period.

Medication for high blood pressure

Clonidine, prazosin, and propranolol were designed to treat high blood pressure, but they’re also used to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, nightmares, and ADHD. Blood pressure may decrease in the early stages of a low-carb diet as the body sheds extra fluid. It may be very beneficial, particularly if you have high blood pressure. If you take blood pressure medicine, however, your blood pressure may drop too low, resulting in dizziness, lightheadedness, tiredness, and, in the worst-case scenario, loss of consciousness. This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your blood pressure while on the ketogenic diet, and why it’s possible that you’ll have to cut down or stop taking your blood pressure medication. Many psychiatric medications, including antipsychotics and SSRI antidepressants, have a modest risk of decreasing blood pressure.

When will I be able to stop taking my medication?

If you’re ready to attempt a low-carb diet in the hopes of lowering or eliminating one or more medicines, go ahead, but be patient, particularly if you go with the ketogenic diet. Most medicines should wait until you’ve been in ketosis for at least six weeks before taking them. This is the average time it takes for your body to utilize ketones as a fuel source. After six weeks, you can talk to your doctor about whether it’s time to cut down, but for some individuals, three months is a better place to start.

While diet is essential for mental health, it is by no means the sole component. As a result, even with the best diet, some individuals may need pharmaceutical assistance. Taking medicine to assist you is not anything to be ashamed about. Your health should always come first.

How can I safely stop taking my medication?

If you and your doctor agree that you have adjusted well to your new diet, you and your doctor may opt to stop therapy based on how you are feeling. Never stop taking your medicine all of a sudden! Always consult your doctor, decrease your dosage gradually, and only switch one medication at a time! If the dosage is not decreased slowly and properly, many psychiatric medications may produce unpleasant and even deadly withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that most psychiatric medications have a six-week effect on brain chemistry after they are discontinued. If you’re on more than one psychiatric drug, it’s probably best to wait at least six weeks after you’ve completed tapering one before starting on the other. If you are a z. If you quit taking an antidepressant like Zoloft in early May, for example, you won’t know how you’ll feel until late June. Whether you start reducing the second drug’s dosage during this six-week period and your depressed symptoms reappear, you won’t be able to determine if it’s because Zoloft’s effects are wearing off or because you’ve started reducing the second drug’s dose.

Many individuals with mental health issues may benefit from a low-carb diet. However, each patient is unique. Before starting a life-changing diet, anybody taking mental medication should talk to their doctor.

Check read our low-carb diet and mental health FAQs if you have any queries; you may find an answer there!

/ Georgia Ede, M.D. / Dr. Georgia Ede, M.D.

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We certainly hope so. We’d want to be clear that we don’t profit from advertising, industry, or product sales. Our only source of revenue is from participants who wish to help us achieve our objective of helping people all around the globe to dramatically improve their health. Would you want to join us in continuing our quest to make low-carb eating a reality?

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I think the low carb diet has a lot to offer as a treatment for psychological and mental health disorders. It is a well-known fact that high carb dieting is linked to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The use of low carb dieting is a logical alternative that turns out to have a lot of beneficial effects.. Read more about low-carb diet and depression and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a low carb diet good for mental health?

There is no evidence that a low carb diet is good for mental health.

Can keto diet cause mental issues?

Yes, keto diet can cause mental issues.

Can a low carb diet cause anxiety?

This is a difficult question to answer. Its possible that low carb diets can cause anxiety, but its also possible that the diet itself could be causing the anxiety.

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