Keto Depression


Anyone experience Keto depression? I’ll do a search on this, but feel like I need to connect with either someone currently experiencing this, or currently resolved this. Maybe it has nothing to do with Ketodenic diet, but more an absence of comfort food :thinking:

(Karl) #2

Lifelong depression sufferer here.

Keto didn’t improve or worsen my depression - but some claim that it does. Depression’s a tough thing - so many things people say improve things (like maybe dietary changes or supplements) may actually help because they really want them to. The Placebo Effect is VERY real.

Body image is a pretty depressing subject for me, fat or skinny (currently skinny). When I was at 300lb, it was just one more thing dragging me down. But here’s the sad truth: Losing the weight improved my body image, but it didn’t really “fix” anything else in my life. I think a lot of people coping with depression and are also overweight have even more misery to deal with - but believe me when I tell you, losing the weight won’t fix things.

So would I be surprised to hear that going keto might worsen depression because of a lack of comfort food? Not at all. I mean, if some people improve because of the placebo effect of a dietary change, I would think that the reverse could also happen if you suddenly took away a depressed person’s favorite sweets. It’s also pretty well-documented that the effect sugar has on the reward centers of the brain. They really drilled the point home in the documentary “Fed Up”.

I’m pretty sure depression and dieting combined make for a pretty complicated topic.

(Bunny) #3

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  1. Neural Oscillation & GABA
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Thank you for the thoughtful comment. Depression is a ruthless battle. Some days I don’t have the fight in me. I guess a light prescription for now won’t hurt anything. Thanks again :blush:


@atomicspacebunny thank you for your post. I’ve been depressed for the better part of my life and I think part of it was due to my diet lifestyle.
I can see why the absence of comfort food would make someone feel a bit down short-term. I mean, we all felt happy for at least the few moments of guilty pleasure we felt when gorging on comfort food. I know I was, since I’ve been an emotional eater my whole life, whether I was overweight or skinny.

Being an emotional eater makes all the shitty food your scratch. It’s the only thing that makes you feel good at the moment. So yes, from my experience, doing any diet changes that eliminated my comfort food used to make me miserable for a while. The thing is, at some point it’s over. You finished eating. You realized you didn’t actually wanted it or needed it. You feel sluggish, lethargic, bloated and disappointed with yourself not only for aesthetic reasons but mostly for health reasons. You realize you’re abusing your body and it affects you negatively both emotionally and physically. Doesn’t that make you kinda depressed in the long-term? You never feel healthy, you can’t do things you want to do and could if you were at a better shape and better mood etc.

Maybe part of it also has to do with addiction. Sugar is addicting. Going keto fights that and no addiction is an easy peasy thing to fight.
The beautiful thing with keto is that unlike other dietary changes, it has a tremendous positive effect on your physiology and by extend your mental state.

I have found myself feeling so content physically, energetic and positive on keto that I even forget to take my antidepressants. YMMV but it’s worth sticking to it to see for yourself. Are you still restricting? Replacing your comfort food sessions with a nice fatty meal will take care both of your mental and body struggles. Don’t be afraid of fat.

And, even though ive been medicated for depression for the last 3 years because I was basically forced to, I believe they should be very last resort kind of thing. They don’t resolve anything and can be helpful in extreme cases, temporarily. For example, I weighted a healthy 115lb and after my clinical depression I got down to 80lbs. Every bite going in was like “yo it’s me again!”, right back out. So I was forced to take antidepressants after I was hospitalized. I gained like 30 pounds and struggled for a long time with my weight. I think some of them cause insulin resistance, haven’t looked it up much.

what I did look up was research suggesting depression is also largely an inflammatory condition. Keto woe takes care of that, reducing systemic and tissue-specific inflammation. Prob the reason why many people feel better psychologically on keto after a while.

Give it sometime, do it right and I believe you will be happy with your observations as well. A prescription at this point would just be a bandaid. Re-evaluate later, I’d say. For now KCKO, good luck!:slight_smile:

(Sommer Strickland) #6

I have suffered with depression for a long time and as I’m losing weight I feel that it is getting better. I did at one point stop taking all my meds, which worked for awhile I thought. I recently started taking wellbutrin, which seems to help. Before I hated taking all the meds because I felt like I had no emotions at all, but not with the wellbutrin. Depression sucks and taking away the yummies can play with your head I feel, I just try to not sweat the small stuff, I am into healing crystals and meditation, those I feel are very helpful along with exercising. My cousin has dealt with depression and she now does the crystals and manifestations and many things. She is very inspirational. She also does tarot and cleasnsings. Maybe you should try other avenues. She has an etsy store if you want to check her out. HighVibeHealingGems on etsy. Some people think it is a bunch of crap, but I think there is really something to it. She will often say how terrible she felt on a certain day and she literally tells herself, OK, that’s enough it is time to do something that makes you feel good. Good Luck


Can I ask what your Vitamin D levels are?

Vit d deficiency is a widespread thing.

Personally, I got tested for Vit D, was found to be significantly deficient, supplemented with D3 and K2 - and found that my long term depression lifted over time. I hadn’t realised how depressed I had been, or how long it had lasted.

Most docs don’t seem to know that depression is a symptom of D deficiency.

(Bunny) #8

When we eat comfort foods and as we understand it; it is a reward (a treat) seems innocent and everybody else is doing it, why not?

We all luv treats?

Seems really innocent? And we notice no immediate effect …until it makes us neurologically fragile and starts effecting our mental and emotional well-being through our dietary choices and how we respond to social interactions all the way to the core of our sense of identity and solidarity which spills over and starts manifesting a deep sense of helplessness, emptiness, loneliness and hopelessness? When we cannot figure out why we are feeling this way we can just as easily blame our social environment and the people in it, but nobody really stops to think about what they are eating because the people responsible for our care don’t know either?

Sugar and processed foods are so abundant and eaten so frequently that we don’t even realize we are addicted to it? Like being addicted to the stimulant nicotine in cigarettes, if you don’t smoke and pick up a cigarette and smoke it, it is not going to be very pleasurable until you keep doing it, then it becomes a physiological addiction and you will go crazy if you can’t get that next cigarette, it is a vicious cycle because processed sugars and processed foods in general like and others like grains and starches do not get the attention cigarettes do and to top it off then there is the depletion of minerals and trace elements (including the sugar/glucose in our blood stream blocking absorption) of agricultural soils and to make it even worse the GMO foods we buy at the grocery stores is now full of endocrine disrupting agrochemicals which are a very transparent and a very real danger when we eat too much of it and again does not get the attention cigarettes or second hand smoke from cigarettes do?

Since keto, I have a deep sense of well-being and happiness that is so rock solid, that it would take something just short of a nuclear war to make me depressed, hopeless, anxious etc… Our ancestors did not sit around being depressed, they were too busy hunting non-GMO game and marine life, growing and scavenging nutritious non-GMO, non-processed foods and getting healthy doing it?

My reward is in this new found sense of well-being and better health not in a sugary treat or bad dietary choices and expanding on my knowledge about the science behind it to make it sustainable!


  1. Increase Your Brown Fat (BAT) to Maintain a Healthy Body Weight …14…

…14. FNDC5/irisin, a molecular target for boosting reward-related learning and motivation

(LeeAnn Brooks) #9

So many people go into a weight loss journey thinking it’s going to make their whole life better, and when they realize they have many of the same problems, fat or skinny, it can cause depression to worsen.

I suffer from intermittent bouts of depression. It’s not something that’s always with me, so I don’t take my Wellbutrin all the time like I’m supposed to. Yeah, I’m one of those people who thinks they are all better until the moment I’m not. But really I can go a year or more inbetween episodes, and I hate the idea of medicating myself all the time.

I want to get one of those lamps that’s supposed to mimic sun exposure and help with seasonal depression. Have you have any experience with them?

(Karl) #10

No, not with the lamps. But the more time I spend in the sun, the better I feel…so there must be something to it. :slight_smile:

(Bunny) #11

I don’t like to post products or advertisements but look up JOOVV, they swear it works (biohackers, doctors, scientists and unbiased studies etc.)!

A little pricey though!

(LeeAnn Brooks) #12

Thanks. I will look into it.

(Diane) #13

This presentation by Dr. Eades addresses mental health and diet. I found it very interesting. It definitely suggests that eating ketogenically can have more than a placebo effect on depression.

I have been struggling with PCOS and (over the past 16 months) chronic fatigue. Both of these are conditions which can include symptoms of mental fog and depression. Eating ketogenically has definitely made a dramatic improvement in these symptoms for me.

Supplementing with MCT (or coconut oil) has helped. But since I don’t seem to be able to metabolize fat and use it for energy well, I also supplement with various forms of L-carnitine. I take 500 mg of acetyl L-carnitine twice a day (morning and evening). I also take 500 mg of L-carnitine tartrate (also morning and evening). The acetyl L-carnitine passes through the blood brain barrier better, so that helps me with energy metabolism in the brain. The L-carnitine tartrate is for general, physical energy. I lead a very sedentary life because my condition makes me very exercise intolerant, but if I have to be more active (going grocery shopping, going to the doctor, etc), I might taken an additional 500 mg of L-carnitine tartrate during the day.

Your situation is definitely different than mine. I’m just putting this information out there in case it might be of interest or benefit to you or others who are struggling.

Good luck with your journey!


I actually just scheduled some lab work. Curious to find out

(linda) #15

20 minutes in the morning for a minimum of two weeks - lamp needs minimum of 14 thousand lux to be effective. This has been proven to be helpful for those with circadian rhythm issues (problems sleeping) as well as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Depression is a complex problem!
In other countries - the first treatment approach is to exercise!!
In America we have a large pharmaceutical industry and a lot of impatient people who struggle with emotional problems. The data supports cognitive behavioral treatment over SSRI’s for good results but again there are lots of factors to consider:
trauma/attachment concerns/family of origin issues/ lack of self compassion/ poor basic skills - (sleep, nutrition, exercise) lack of life purpose/losses/head trauma and the list goes on!!
Demystifying and de-stigmatizing mental issues is imprortant to us all - so we can attain a rewarding life! It’s good to talk about it!

(Old Baconian) #16

Since they don’t really know what causes depression (is it really serotonin, or something else? no one knows), and no one has a clue how any of the anti-depressants work, I suppose we should really be grateful for anything that appears to help. I’ve gotten a lot of relief from anti-depressants, and I can’t really say from the inside whether or not I feel any less depressed on keto. I can say, however, after a year of ketosis, that I seem to be fine on half the dose of anti-depressant I was taking before, and there are days when I forget to take the pill and never even notice. That, at least, was never the case before keto!

ETA: It surely makes sense that if Alzheimer’s disease can be diet-related, then so can depression.

(linda) #17

There are multiple factors that cause depression. And, yes, we do know how anti-depressants effect the neurotransmitters in the brain that, in turn, reduce depressive symptoms in some people. (just google it) But because of the complexity of the diagnosis there is not often one simple cure, But I do agree that poor diet exacerbates mood swings -Sugar Blues was a popular book in the 80’s - now we can add carbs and additives, dyes etc to the ongoing pollution of our bodies. So I totally agree that diet has an important effect on mood!

I haven’t heard that Alzheimers is cured by diet but I have read that HFLC can help deter the development of Alzheimers disease - as well as control epilepsy and reverse diabetes. I had a good response to KETO in that it stabilized my mood as many have attested - nutrition is key to good health!


I did start on lowest dose of Wellbutrin 4 days ago. I feel it starting to work, but have been really conscientious of a proper ketogenic diet to assist as well. I’m starting to believe low dose Wellbutrin therapy isn’t a bad thing, wish I had done this a few years ago.

(Old Baconian) #19

@Porkbellybella After I started my first anti-depressant, I realized that I must have been depressed since childhood. For a while, it made me angry that my depression hadn’t been diagnose back then. Then I learned to be grateful for the healing I have now, and not to worry about might-have-beens.

For one thing, the only anti-depressant drugs they had back when I was a child were all horror shows. It may actually have been a mercy that I didn’t start treatment until there were much better drugs to take!

So even if the Wellbutrin might have helped you a few years ago, I rejoice that you found it now. I hope it makes as much difference in your life as my first anti-depressant made in mine!

(LeeAnn Brooks) #20

I’m supposed to be in Wellbutrin all the time, and I’m terrible about keeping it up. I get a lecture from the doctor every time I go back in when I start having issues.

The thing is, I only have issues with depression every few years. I hate taking a medication long term when I don’t experience depression that often.

I know I may be able to avoid any instances with it if I continued taking the drug permanently, as the drug is supposed to build up in your system, but I’d rather deal with it when the flair ups occur. Who knows what effects or problems long term use might occur.

And it may also be because I’m simply terrible about remembering to take medication.