Plant or meat based diets for mental health?

(KM) #82

What I wonder is whether the whole concept of ratios might be misguided, an effort to ensure people - specifically children - were getting “enough calories”. I know how pervasive calorie obsession is in dietary theory, and here it is again. What if we just set strict limits on carbs and to a lesser extent protein (hopefully tailored to the individual) with an open ended fat consumption, ratios be damned. Perhaps it’s not the ratio but the actual grams of those two macronutrients that matter?


That’s exactly the case for most of us (of course, these grams are in a more or less wide range as well). Some people need specific ratios for reasons, therapeutic keto styles usually have that, some people need to put a strict limit on protein…
Fat is the lever, I have read it here so many times and it’s true. We eat little carbs and our protein should be in its own range, not too much, not too little so of course the fat is what changes when we suddenly need way more energy (or less). In lucky cases protein takes care of itself, I have this. I eat an okay amount of protein on 1000 and 4000 kcal days alike, it’s pretty much automatic (okay according to my body, not calculations. my body wants high protein every day). If I eat too little protein, I just get hungry again. If I start to eat too much, I lose the desire for more. Cool. If I had this with fat, that would be nice :smiley:

Being so focused on percentages just makes no sense… They have little to do with our needs. We may need them in one way but it’s for the individual case, not a general thing.

How would percentages ensure getting enough calories? I thought percentages are popular because people love oversimplification so much that it overpowers even truth and health and everything… I see it everywhere :frowning: Oversimplification and generalization, I mean, not just regarding eating.

(KM) #84

Well, math. If you set strict guidelines for grams of protein and carbs AND strict guidelines for calories, you wind up with a fixed guideline for fat as well, ergo a fixed ratio. Take away the calorie guideline and the ratio is then whatever you make it - and I’m theorizing that’s how it should be.

(Bacon enough and time) #85

You’re definitely on to something. It’s definitely true that it’s the absolute amount of carbohydrate that matters, not the percentage of calories. Protein is a little harder to pin down, but people often seem to have an instinct for how much they need, and again, it’s not a percentage of calories. And fat should be eaten to satiety, which is again . . . not a percentage of calories!

Our obsession with calories dates back to the time, almost a century-and-a-half ago, when calories were all anyone knew about, and all anyone could measure. Biochemistry has progressed amazingly since then, but not nutrition science.


Why would I set strict guidelines for grams? It’s against my personality :smiley: And I strongly disagree to do it even if it’s not me. I am just especially free with my macros. I barely have any control over them but I don’t see the point anyway. We can’t even track so accurately! And we aren’t robots, our needs are change day to day… And the numbers we get from a calculator (mine are from my experiences :slight_smile: I don’t get on well with calculators because they are stupid and don’t know how I function) or from percentages have not necessarily much to do with us…

Indeed, setting the grams sets the ratio too - but it just HAPPENS, it’s not the important thing. And if we eat way more (or less) on some days, we should use the level (fat), mostly, not keeping the percentages. We should keep the grams in their right place. But even that isn’t needed each and every day.

I personally set the calories and the protein only (I mean it’s my plan. what I do is another matter, I am even flexible and ready to change the plan). And try to stick to carnivore but I don’t care about the carbs (the animal ones, I mean). I very often epically miss my vague targets, all my grams may be all over the place (except low-fat or low-protein, I don’t do that. I definite these according to grams) BUT my ratios were almost exactly the same on my first keto years and I still don’t have a big wriggle room now. But it’s about my tastes, almost all my favorite items have 65% fat…
I don’t CARE about my ratio and don’t want to control them. 50 or 80%? Both are great even for me (I don’t have the energy need to have great days with 90-95% fat but that is surely a thing for someone), they are just not realistic and good at the same time for me now.
It’s like my weight. I don’t care about it but it must fall into some range for me to be okay. But it just happens to be there if the really important things (fat mass, muscle mass) fall into place. And it has some wriggle room, just like percentages.

(Ohio ) #87

Can’t let the masses figure out the gut-immune system connection. It would ruin the economy.

(Edith) #88

I think you are giving the masses too much credit. I believe the majority of people don’t want to try diet to improve their health if going by my own group of friends as a sample is concerned.

(Ohio ) #89

I’ve observed that from my sample group too. “We all got to die of something” is the common cliche.


Yeah. And it doesn’t matter if it comes 50 years early or if we loses body parts and stuff… People are odd to think like that.

Okay I know they don’t think like that, they just don’t wanna limit themselves and are better at mental gymnastics than me. My brain is way too honest and harder to trick like that.
Health has very high priority in my life and I can’t understand why it is so very low for so many people… Like, it’s HEALTH, it’s very, very important. Nothing matters if it’s too bad.

(Oliver ) #91

Well to honest Iam trying to not eat more then around 6oz in one setting (because that is what I have told is one serving). But to be honest sometimes I eat at more like 8-10oz before Iam satisfied. More often not I would say no more then 8oz…


Thanks! Oh that’s tiny (especially when it’s one piece, roasted in front of me. even 1 lbs is very small that way, I always get surprised how dense meat is!) but not super tiny, it may be nice for a small meal (or a big meal if one eats it with many other things).
I don’t believe in “servings”, it never made any sense to me. And of course, it wouldn’t work on my carnivore OMAD days so well :wink:

But as I had probably way more vegetarian days in my life than non-vegetarian ones (they were very nice though not good enough but I needed time to figure out what is best for me), I don’t consider even zero meat too little if one simply eats other things and it works for them. Even if I usually meant business on my meat eating days so a little piece wasn’t satisfying. But it’s me, I am aware how wonderfully different people are, it makes things interesting for me.

(Bacon enough and time) #93

Six ounces of beef contains about 42 grams of protein. That does not seem like enough, unless you are unusually short and slender.

The average daily nitrogen loss is equivalent to 0.6 g of protein per kg of lean body mass. Some people use even more nitrogen than that. Since the body cannot use nitrogen from any other source but amino acids, this means that we require a certain minimum daily protein intake, quite apart from the body’s further need for amino acids in order to replace old, worn-out proteins and to keep our muscles and bones strong.

The recommended daily allowance of protein is the minimum intake required by around 95% of the population just to break even—and the remaining 5% will need even more. A more realistic protein target is somewhere in the range of 1.0-2.0 g/kg of lean mass daily.

This means that someone with 70 kg (154 lbs.) of lean (not total) mass needs 70-140 g of protein, which is 280-560 g (or 10-20 oz.) of beef—and more of fish, which has a slightly lower protein content. Some people find that they do better on a ketogenic diet that contains proportionally more fat, some on on a ketogenic diet that contains proportionally more protein.


Good thing meat isn’t the only protein source then… I had high protein with exactly zero gram meat.
An exclusive meat eater shouldn’t eat only 6oz meat, that’s true (and not only because of the protein, of course) but it’s not the case here.

(Mario) #95

This is interesting, especially when I combine it with what I am reading on keto for mental health. Chris Palmer mentions reducing protein in a mental health diet. That 4:1 is what seems to give the best results. But that is just really hard if not impossible to reach as an adult. Or am I wrong? It means 80% of the total diet in weight comes from fat and only 20% from combined protein and carbs.


I never saw people eating in that way and indeed, it’s impossible for many of us but surely possible for some. Like 50g protein and 200g fat, it is doable for some people. Or they both can be somewhat more. Handling the huge fat/protein ratio is individual, some people can do it, some can’t.

I have no idea about the relationship of fat/protein ratio and mental health, I just can imagine a 4:1 fat:protein ratio in weight for some people if it’s really needed. I only heard about 2:1 several times and 3:1 sometimes, the latter wasn’t an advice, the one in question merely could do it easily enough, apparently. People with high energy need (or low protein need) has advantage…


That’s how I’m currently eating. I posted a bit about it earlier.

Your plates of food do end up far less conventional, but I’ve been doing it for a month and it’s not arduous. Just different.


And it’s doable with almost zero added fat too as long as one finds fatty enough meat (and maybe the right preparation for it, it matters a lot to me when it comes to eating nearly pure fat tissue. the nearly is pretty important, the tiny meat makes it way more enjoyable for me), that’s my approach when I try to go super high-fat percentage wise. But if I really had to, probably could used to high amounts of added fat as well but I can’t be sure. I didn’t even eat really high-fat as I don’t need that at all, I merely have such days and see how much I changed even regarding the fattiness of my diet (percentage both weight and volume wise, NOT grams, I never had problems with tons of fat if there were a bunch of other things with it).
If one is fine with other things than meat and pure fat, there are several options. And we human can change a lot and adapt to things.

(Mario) #99

You are? That’s impressive. I will see if I find your other entries. The hardest part in that 4:1 appears to be the carbs. Not necessarily the protein.

Looking at the keto calculator, for 2500 calories and about 155lbs of body weight, the calculator says that a 4:1 only allows for 57g of protein and 6g of carbs. The omelet in the morning has pretty much 6g of carbs already. So how to manage that?

(Bacon enough and time) #100

This is the therapeutic diet formulated to control medication-resistant epileptic seizures, and Dr. Palmer should be aware of the more-recent studies showing that ketogenic diet with a more reasonable protein intake still controls seizures. I believe the original therapeutic diet was difficult, yes, but when it helps with otherwise uncontrollable seizures, that is a powerful incentive to stay on the diet. The problem is that it’s not enough protein for a growing child, and the diet stunted the growth of quite a few children. Fortunately, it turns out that children can eat an adequate amount of protein and still not get seizures. Or so I understand.

It is beginning to appear more and more that many of the neurological and mental problems we are seeing these days are the result of glucose metabolism errors in the brain. Ketones feed the brain really well, however, and eliminating as much carbohydrate as possible from the diet and eating sufficient fat provides a lot of ketones. Ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier, but fatty acids cannot, so ketones are the alternative brain fuel to glucose.

In any case, many patients with mental problems see quite an improvement on just a regular ketogenic diet. In a recent interview, Dr. Palmer talks about a schizophrenic patient who embarked on a ketogenic diet simply to lose weight, and yet his mental problems improved significantly. So clearly, such a high-fat, low-protein diet is not necessary in all cases.

(Bacon enough and time) #101

According to standard recommendations, you would probably want 63-127 g of protein. However, you could probably eat as little as 38 g and still be okay, assuming your daily nitrogen loss is about average. Fifty-seven grams of protein is 228 g (or about half a pound) of red meat or poultry, a bit more of fish.

In any case, if your breakfast omelette contains all the carbohydrate you want to allow yourself, then your second meal would be all meat and no vegetables. (And lots of fat, of course.) But the point of restricting carbohydrate is to keep insulin low by reducing blood sugar to the minimum. How much carbohydrate you can eat without inhibiting ketogenesis will depend on how insulin-resistant you are. Someone who is insulin-sensitive can eat a lot more carbohydrate (and still keep insulin low enough) than someone who is insulin-resistant. Serum insulin below a level just under 25 μU/mL allows the body to make ketones and metabolise fat; insulin above that level requires the body to metabolise glucose and store fat.