Keto Compulsion

The keto life style


300 million people around the globe suffer with depression, and if you are one of them you know how important it is to treat and overcome this mental health problem. I want to address this topic as it has come up recently, so how does keto affect your mental health?  In this article on Keto and Depression I’m going to explain to you how just changing the way you eat can combat depression.

Brain Complexity

We know now that the keto way of life can give us more clarity and less brain fog. We know that it help’s epileptic patients with seizures. Both of these scenarios have one thing in common: brain function. So it is obvious to me that some research would be done to see if and how the keto way of life might affect mental health and depression.

Clinical studies in rats do show a difference in activity with two groups of subjects. Group one fed the SAD or standard American diet and group two, fed the keto diet. The difference was that group two who were fed the keto diet were more active. One study showed less sensitivity to depression and anxiety in the adult mice that were on a pre natal ketogenic diet.

The brain is a very complex organ with billions of different cells. Scientists have come a long way with understanding some of it is complexities, but there are still many discoveries to be made.

The brain is like the mother board of communication, it is constantly sending messages throughout the body. There are many factors that can interrupt these messages from being delivered to it is destination, one of which are chemicals. We are exposed to more and more chemicals each day, some we know of and some we are unaware of.

Eating whole, real foods is one way to combat chemical exposure and allow the brain to function on a better level.



Can sugar cause depression?

So we know that eating excessive carbohydrates and sugar raises your chance of obesity and type 2 diabetes, but did you know it also makes you susceptible for major depression and psychiatric disorders?

Sugar causes serotonin crashes and also brain inflammation. It also weakens the bodies’ ability to create natural anti depressants. The anti inflammatory properties alone may show proof of improvement in depression on the keto diet.

Although there is not abundant proof scientifically that keto help’s depression. It certainly aids in some areas by preventing highs and lows in serotonin. As well as working as an anti inflammatory property in the brain.

There are many contributors to depression and many treatments. Just like everything else, what works for some might not work for others. According to what research that has been done and the clinical trials. It is promising that the keto diet has potential in treating some cases of depression and mental disorders.

I myself have suffered from depression and yes I still do get depressed but not like I used to. I don’t let it control me, I control it and without medication. Yes I did try that route and have been prescribed a plethora of different medications targeting different types of depression and anxiety. I guess I am one of the lucky ones and this keto way of life is proving to be helpful in my scenario.

Even coming from a background of addiction I am a stay at home Mom of three beautiful children, yes this life is challenging and yes I have bad days but doesn’t everyone?  I manage my emotions and I don’t let depression get the best of me anymore.  I can’t say that if I were still consuming the amount of sugar and carbohydrates that I used to eat, that I would proudly be able to do this.  I remember losing control and how helpless I felt, I remember the overwhelming feeling of regret for how I reacted and I couldn’t take it back.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that just what I put in my body for food would help me manage these uncontrollable episodes, but I sure am thankful.



Keto and the brain

A little off topic but as soon as I typed “keto and the brain” I immediately thought of the that kid show “Pinky and the Brain” and now of course I have the theme song stuck in my head.

I would like to add in here that other beneficial discoveries of keto are made every day. Many that have an impact on brain function such as:

  • Memory: After only six weeks, older adults suffering from Alzheimer disease showed significant improvement with memory.
  • Headaches: The keto way of life has been reported to show relief from chronic headaches and migraines.
  • Clarity: Clinical trials in rats that were fed the keto diet, have shown to improve overall brain function.
  • Brain Injury: Patients treated with the keto diet after injury were able to absorb nourishment. As sugar can prevent recovery.
  • Parkinson: Five out of seven people suffering from Parkinson showed improvement after four weeks on the keto diet. That’s a 43% improvement from Parkinson related symptoms.

These are all amazing results and I think in time and more research we will be able to fine tune how keto may improve mental health disorders. I personally believe that a natural treatment is better rather than filling your body full of man made chemicals that could cause many other problems and I’m sure there’s a pill for that too but I personally think natural treatment is the best. I realize that not everyone will benefit from a natural source and some people rely on medications to get through tough times, but if you do respond to natural remedies I highly suggest it.

I know we live in a world now that has less tolerance and our attention spans are much less that they used to be, we expect things to progress immediately and if they don’t we give up.  Well if you do try this way of life for treating depression, give it the time needed.  There is at least a two week transitional period where your body adjusts to using fat for fuel instead of sugar and carbs.  Once this adaptation takes place you will start seeing the benefits this way of life offers.  To give a better idea of what to expect living this type of lifestyle I have written an article for beginners==> Keto For Beginners – where to start? 


If your looking for more information to back this up take a look at this book Grain Brain.

As always please let me know what you think, comments are always welcome.  Be safe.


28 thoughts on “Keto & Depression

  1. Hello,

    I’ve been suffering from depression especially with the loss of my dad last year.

    I couldn’t have guess that consumption of sugar could cause depression as I thought that the body would be happy consuming sweet delicacies.

    I’ll try a ketogenic diet and see if it helps lift my occasional mood swings.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. I am so sorry to hear of your Father’s passing Louis.  Yes sugar affects your because it causes a spike in insulin and in serotonin but then when that sugar blast is gone you drop serotonin levels quickly.  You don’t want spikes and gullies in your serotonin levels, keeping it safely leveled of is your goal.

      Please let me know how you make out and thank you for the comment.

      Amanda Blaine

  2. Interesting post!

    I’ve never heard of the keto diet before and I’ll start to really look into it thanks to you. Depression is becoming more common in this modern day. I think social media platforms have played a huge factor in this and a lot don’t even realize they might have depression. I believe taking care of our brains is crucial since the only person we are stuck with is ourselves and making yourself happy is the first step to making anyone else happy. 

  3. Hello, 

    Can the Keto diet be used if you have type one diabetes? If it can GREAT! My Father has type one and he has been looking for a diet plan that works with his health issue. He has gained quite of bit of weight lately. Since he was diagnosed. 

    If not do have any other recommendations?


    1. Hey Kevin,

      Yes he can but I highly suggest he works with this doctor as the carbohydrate intake may need to be adjusted higher than the reg. keto amount.  Always get your carbs from vegetables rather than a bag of chips 😉


  4. I have brain fog A LOT.

    I do also have a history of depression, however I have always attributed these as being a side effect of my epilepsy.

    You have some great information on here and certainly opened my eyes as to way I feel the way I do.

    I will be taking a closer look at your site.


    1. Honestly Michael,

      I think sugars and empty carbs are hurting our bodies in ways we’ll never understand. I think eating real whole foods is the healthier option. I hope you benefit from the information here. Thank you and be well my friend.


  5. I’ve been on a bit of a quest lately to cut out the sugar in my diet. I want to feel better. I know I can and should feel better. I’ve noticed with myself and most people around me that we are self medicating with sugar filled drinks and foods. It’s crazy that we’ve all become so dependent on these things. Your post struck a cord with me so now I’ve got do some research to learn about keto..well, I guess start with more of your posts. lol. What’s the difference in keto and paleo?

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      Glad to hear I’ve reached out to you and I hope you are able to stay on the straight and narrow so to speak. Its what this planet has come to, everything is sugar based and it really is scary when you think about it. Especially doing research about how sugar can affect you and your health. The main difference in Paleo and Keto is that when your doing the keto diet your goal is to reach ketosis, which is when you burn fat for fuel instead of sugar. As I understand the Paleo diet eliminates grains, legumes and most dairy products. These foods are hard to digest so taking them out of the equation can help with proper gut health, autoimmune conditions and weight loss. I do have an article on getting started with Keto and many other that could be useful to you. Let me know if I’ve answered your question and if there is any further questions or concerns you may have.

      Keto on my friend.

  6. I find this interesting, because I went through a bout of depression about 10 years ago that lasted for a couple years. I wish I’d known then how important things like diet were at the time, as it might have prevented me from taking the antidepressants that I eventually had to drop. It was mostly the prospect of being stuck in that medically-dependent trap that caused me to give them up, since that didn’t seem like much of a life. I’ve never tried the keto diet, but it’s pretty popular and I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot to see what all I could gain from it. When you really look at what’s known about it, it makes sense that practices like cutting back on sugar could definitely help in many ways. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi Amanda,

    An intersting post!  My daughter suffers from Anxiety which, whilst has different symptoms is also caused (in short) by a chemical imbalance of the brain.  It is just so difficult for those of us without these disorders to understand the behaviours that those sufferers exhibit.

    As part of my daughter’s treatment, we we asked to look at her diet as, and I believe you are correct, sugars and other ‘toxins’ can severly alter the checmical balance of the brain.  The human body has not yet caught up to the tyoes of food that we eat now – i.e. highly processed, highly sugared with preservatives everywhere.

    We did not look at the KETO diet itself, rather just one that reduced processed food in favour of ‘clean’ food such as fruit, vegetables and lean meats.  This alone did not cure it but it definintely helped.

    Thanks so much for your post, whether it is KETO or any other healthy food program there is definite beneift for the sufferes of mental health issues.


  8. You lay out a strong case for the keto diet aiding in the fight against depression that so many people suffer from in this post. I really had never thought through in the terms that you have detailed here, but I must say, your logic makes sense. It also provides an even stronger case for adopting such a diet.

    All the different ways that the diet also works to improve the overall health of a person just add to the strength of your conclusions, I think, as many of the benefits are directly related to body function and the mental health of a person. It just makes sense that depression could be addressed as well.

    I am convinced that a healthier diet could make a major positive impact on many areas of society, and whether or not a full keto diet is adopted, some effort at moderation would be a step in the right direction. Too many foods are just plain not very healthy and we could do without them.

    Thanks for an enlightening post, I learned more about depression and how to take steps to fight it through adopting a better diet, one of which is a keto diet. This is a topic that needs further discussion, and more testing as well, so the word gets out and people get help. 

  9. Yes, Your site is so pleasing to the eyes, easy to follow, and very informative. I did not realize that there were so many aspects to depression. I know quite a few people that suffer from depression and I have your site bookmarked and I am definitely going to be passing it along.

    I want to thank you for this detailed information.



  10. My daughter and I both went on the Keto diet. when real life issues hit us last year, we both went into depression, (my husband of 35 years had a stroke, and I lost my job and was evicted from my house, all in a period of less than a year) and while on this Keto diet, I found it only made me sick. I have heard that Keto affects those well into years differently and I wanted to ask you about that. Is there a Keto way to help boost metabolism? I also hear that getting into Ketosis for those 50 years old and older is difficult. My Daughter went into ketosis within three days, we ate the same foods, and i could never achieve ketosis. Any thoughts on that? She ended up with more energy, lost weight, her mood brightened, and all I could do was just watch her regain herself while I remained in a low emotional frame of mind. Please help.

    1. Hey Joni,

      I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties. It would be hard for me to decipher why you found it just made you sick without knowing what you were eating daily as there are a lot of reasons besides the fact that you were going through such a hard time that it could make you sick. Electrolytes are very important when it comes to living a keto lifestyle as well as lots of water and leafy greens. I do realize there is a difference with age and keto but I have not yet done all the research I need to do, to get an article started. There are a lot of factors that can come into play as we get older like a shift in hormones, as well as thyroid seems to be a big one. If your thyroid is off it just works against you, this is one I know from experience. I am 40 and losing weight does get harder as we age and everyone is different and will respond differently. With that being said I will get some research in about the differences on keto with us wiser people vs the under experienced 😉 Also please feel free to email me and I have a facebook page and group your welcome to join as well

      Amanda Blaine

  11. Per your request I reviewed the article Keto and Depression and giving comments on what I read. 

    I learned something new about depression and how to combat it using the Keto way of life. Great ideas on conrtolling ones diet as part of the plan. It was refreshing to hear you were able to replace medication to combat depression in this way. You made it clear that this does not eliminate repression, but provides one the benefit of being able to cope with it safely without taking drugs. Would this help to alleviate the opioid crisis? 

    I was amazed at the number of health conditions that can be controilled using the keto diet.

    Although I know people who suffer from depression, I feel fortunate that I have been free from this condition all my life. You have created a website that can be of tremendous benefit for those who suffer from depression. 

    Keep up the good work. 

    1. Edwin,

      I wish it could alleviate the opioid crisis I really do, this one hits close to home but I don’t think Keto is the answer to everything. Although living a Keto lifestyle does help ease physical pain due to inflammation, but for those suffering with addictions need more than just a diet change.

      I am happy to hear you were one of the lucky ones that have not been touched by depression and I hope you continue that way. Thank you for your kind words.

  12. What an interesting topic Amanda.  I know so little about the keto diet but would love to learn more.  After reading your post on the relationship between a Keto lifestyle and how it can promote healthy body functions and even help with those who suffer depression I am inclined to read more of your posts.

    I love your well thought out approach to this particular topic.  Like you I have suffered from depression in the past, tried several medicines with no positive results.  I have learned to control my problem but for many others it is not that easy.

    Your approach to considering a Keto lifestyle that will help promote both physical and mental health is well worth considering for anyone whether they do it for physical health or mental health.

    Again thanks for your efforts to inform us on the benefits of Keto.

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