This Reddit User Swears The Ketogenic Diet Made Him Less Depressed—But Is That Possible?
People swear by the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet for plenty of reasons—they say it can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. But now one Reddit user says the ketogenic diet helped fight his depression, too.
Under the title “Depression is gone,” Redditor willilikeit writes, “Six months on keto. Have lost 40 pounds. But the best result is how I feel. I’ve gone from waking up with dread and fighting suicidal thoughts off and on most days, to feeling energetic, positive, and only a rare, passing, suicidal thought. It is night and day! Omg. Thank you for all of your posts and support!”
Several other people said in the comments that they experienced similar results with ketogenic diets. “So true, I sleep less, wake up ready for the day instead of dreading it. I have energy and want to actually do things now. So glad you feel it too!” Sea_Hag wrote. “I’m right there with you,” writes EffectedCat. “I don’t constantly think of how much I suck or constantly ask what I’m going to screw up today. …Anger and sudden emotional outbursts have dramatically decreased and everyone around me can notice the difference in my mood. This diet has changed my life.”
DOES THE KETO DIET REALLY FIGHT DEPRESSION?
It actually might, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. “Your diet can absolutely have an effect on your mood,” she says. “Many studies have shown a clear link between diet and a person’s state of mind.” The keto diet in particular may cause certain bodily processes that can help fight depression, she says.
Here’s how it works: For some reason, when you’re on a ketogenic diet, your body produces more GABA, a major neurotransmitter that helps the brain function properly, says Wider. When GABA levels are low, you’re more at risk for anxiety and depression. When they’re high, it may help stave off depression, she explains.
But, as plenty of Reddit users are quick to point out, just because the keto diet may help to fight depression, that doesn’t mean that it’s an end-all, be-all cure or is more effective than medication or therapy for treating depression.
Plus, weight loss may also help relieve symptoms of depression, especially if one of the reasons a person is depressed is linked to being overweight. After all, no matter the eating plan that you follow, being at a healthy weight is consistently linked to better sleep and cheerier moods.
Still, if you suffer from depression or anxiety, it’s really best to talk to your doctor to find the best plan for you when it comes to both your depression and your diet.