The 2014 Diet: The Mental State of Ketosis on Day 8

At the time of writing this I am starting day 8 of my own version of ‘Atkins Induction’ or ‘Ketogenic Dieting’. To briefly recap, I’ve stopped counting calories and just focus on what I feel, for me, are the ‘right’ foods: unsweetened yogurts and cheeses, eggs, meat, and non-starchy veggies have been the basis.

I’ve been doing low carb for a long time so I have a pretty good feel for carb counts. I’d say I’ve been below 50 grams per day pretty solidly. Even the bad days where there have been some cheats, I can’t imagine that the carb count went much above 50.

I went into Ketosis on day 5. I was at work and knew something was up. A first-time low carber might be a little freaked by the symptoms – mild headache, a kind of listlessness and a feeling of not thinking clear. It sounds awful – but I know what lies on the other side of this – at least in my case.

It happened the evening of day 6. Usually I come home from work exhausted, mentally and physically. This evening the energy came. My mind had cleared, my mood had brightened, and since then I have been feeling better both emotionally and physically.

Please note that I have essentially lost no more weight than since my last post so it isn’t a ‘scale high’ a dieter gets when they see a drop on the scale number. I haven’t gotten that scale rush in days – but I still feel better.

I’m paying more attention to this mental effect this time around because of the book ‘Grain Brain‘. I don’t want to go into too much detail on it at the moment (no time) but its premise is that ketones are a superior fuel for the brain and a very low carb diet is good for you mentally.

It kind of spins the whole ‘diet thing’ on it’s head if this is true: go on a low carb diet as a possible mind-enhancer and mood enhancer – oh, and you might lose weight while you’re at it.

It was rough going to get here – even for an old pro like me. Living with people who drink wine and can eat carbs does not allow me to ‘clear my pantry’ of the foods I try not to eat. The first 24-48 hours of a cutover from my body cutting over from burning glucose to burning ketones makes me feel ill.

But I find the me on the other side of this has energy, clarity, and calm. I tend to take the bumps and bruises of life with more grace and humor. I am probably a more pleasant person to be around.

This might or might not be an actual effect – but if I am deluding myself, what harm is there in it if it helps me adhere to my diet because I attribute positive mental effects to it?

I do want to state again that there is some research that supports a mental effect, and I have noticed it myself in the past and when I read about this effect in ‘Grain Brain’ I put two and two together. I am being very careful in writing this to be sure I don’t come off as if I am certain there is a direct cause and effect between ketosis or ketogenic diets and a positive mental state, but is something I personally have noticed time and again and find it a wonderful side effect.

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5 thoughts on “The 2014 Diet: The Mental State of Ketosis on Day 8

  1. Actually, I use keto-state mainly to prevent migraines and to avoid mood problems. I am a female, after 45 everything were getting worse, so LCarbing came to the rescue, only 30 lb were lost, but my list of improved conditions is unbelievably long, I even stopped having urinary tract infections and seasonal flues. After observing me, even my 21 yo son who can eat anything and stay very slim, go into ketosis when he feels he may be getting a flu.
    I follow blog of that girl http://itsthewooo.blogspot.com/ – she lost 160 lb and manages her mental health with ketosis.

  2. Some people thinks that the comparison of sugar to cocaine is a bit of a hyperbole, but I disagree. When I was on a LFHC diet, I become moody very easily and I get irritated if I am not constantly munching on something sweet. The thought of skipping a meal terrifies me. People who have first-hand experience of the blood-sugar-rollar-coaster can tell you that the physiological symptoms are, in fact, very real. Hence then I have eshewed advice to add back healthywholegrains in my diet and prefer to stick with my bacon and heavy cream. The difference is phenemenol.
    Ketosis has made me a much more mellow person. 🙂

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