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Research suggests low-carb, high-fat foods can drastically improve mental health

Published on March 28, 2014,

The Mail Online is reporting that scientists are suggesting the low carb ketogenic diet has shown promising results in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder…

Can an Atkins-style low-carb diet really fight depression?By Annabel Fenwick Elliott They say you are what eat, and we all know the difference a better diet makes to our complexion and our waistlines. But what about our heads? An increasing number of scientists are pointing to the Ketogenic diet – similar in nature to the low-carb, high-protein Atkins and Caveman meal plans, which have shown promising results in the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. ‘It’s a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago,’ Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia tells The Washington Post. ‘But the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health.’

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Low Carb-Mediterranean Diet Combo Sheds Fat in Clinical Trial (Average Weight Loss 35lbs in a Year)

Published on January 21, 2014,

The brain health and neuroscience bog Brain Posts has highlighted an interesting new research study that has combined low carb, high fat ketogenic dieting (for weight loss) and the Mediterranean diet (for maintenance) into a structured intervention for obese subjects with very positive results…

Mediterranean diet (close up)

Mediterranean diet (close up) (Photo credit: grobery)

Antonio Paoli and colleagues from Italy and Greece conducted a clinical trial in obese subjects that included the following key components:

Subjects: 68 subjects with mean BMI >30 between 25 and 65 years of age without diabetes or other severe chronic illness

Diet intervention: One clinical trial with two cycles of 20 days of a very low carbohydrate diet (30 grams carbohydrate per day), 20 days of low carbohydrate diet (90 grams carbohydrate per day) separated by 4 and 6 month Mediterranean diet maintenance phases (260 grams carbohydrate per day). During carbohydrate restriction cycles, subjects received vitamin, mineral and herbal supplementation.

Measurements: Body weight, body fat, lipids, blood glucose, liver and kidney function and blood pressure

The results of clinical trial were pretty impressive. The average weight loss over 12 months was 16 kilograms or 35 pounds. That is an average 15% loss of body weight. Mean BMI dropped from 35.4 to 30.3. Mean percent body fat decreased from 43% to 34%.

Metabolic parameters improved with weight loss over the trial with mean total cholesterol dropping from 193 to 180, fasting glucose from 102 to 95. Mean blood pressure dropped from 125 to 118 systolic.

The authors note there is significant skepticism by medical professionals about very low carbohydrate diets. There is limited long-term efficacy and safety data. There were no serious adverse effects or deaths noted in the study from participation in the study. The completion rate was high suggesting subjects tolerated the trial.

More at: Low Carb-Mediterranean Diet Combo Sheds Fat in Trial

Read more about the study here: Long Term Successful Weight Loss with a Combination Biphasic Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet and Mediterranean Diet Maintenance Protocol

You can follow Brain Posts author Bill Yates on twitter @WRY999

What Is The Best Low Carb Diet For You?

Published on January 9, 2014,

Our friends at Low Carb Diet Support have put together a very useful comparison of five popular low carb diets to help you pick which one is most suitable for your needs. Here’s an extract…

English: Typical Atkins diet meal

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atkins: the original and still the best-known low-carb diet, consisting of 4 phases, starting with Induction at just 20g net carbs a day and gradually increasing. More about Atkins Diet…

Dukan: very low-fat as well as low-carb and quite radical, starts with Attack phase of several days on protein-only foods, followed by protein-only days alternating with days on protein plus salad vegetables. More about Dukan Diet…

Keto: similar to Atkins Induction, daily carbs are kept to a minimum throughout the full duration of the diet. More about Keto Diet…

Paleo: although not specifically designed to be low-carb, Paleo excludes foods made available by agriculture and processed foods, cutting out grains and refined sugar, which results in lower carb consumption. More about Paleo Diet…

South Beach: low-fat as well as low-carb but a lot less radical than Dukan, with several phases. More about South Beach Diet…

Click on the diet’s name in the first row to see its overview and pros/cons, and click on the criteria in column one to see the full explanation below.

Atkins
Dukan
Paleo
Keto
South Beach
1. Weight loss guaranteed1, 2
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
2. Easy to follow2
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
3. Phased structure
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
4. Amount of fat
High
Very low
High
High
Low
5. Ketogenic
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
6. Suitable for intensive exercise2
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
7. Requires carb counting
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
8. Sweeteners allowed 
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
9. Easy for vegetarians2
No
No
No
No
Yes
10. Supplementation2
Yes
Yes
Optional
Yes
Optional

1 provided all the guidelines of the diet are followed fully and accurately

2 these criteria are subjective and a matter of opinion rather than fact. I provided my judgement based on my knowledge and experience, but other people may have different opinions (please feel free to share in the comments below)…

See more at: What is the best low-carb diet?

There is also a follow-up post where the author’s preferred approach based on the Atkins diet is described: Atkins Diet – What to Expect

See more from Low Carb Diet Support on twitter @Carbophobic

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