Low-Carbohydrate Diet Superior to Antipsychotic Medications


From Psychology Today: Research and case studies show that the ketogenic diet may be a promising treatment for psychosis and other mental health challenges. The ketogenic diet has shown to be effective for people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, without the adverse effects of antipsychotic medications.

“Most people don’t realize that options beyond medication exist. It is critical that we spread awareness of these potentially powerful dietary strategies to everyone who may benefit. If you know of someone who is coping with mental illness, please share these inspiring stories with them.

If you yourself are struggling with symptoms of a mood or thought disorder, I encourage you to learn more about ketogenic diets and other nutritional approaches. Yes, medications can play a very important role in your care, but I believe that the most powerful way to change your brain chemistry is through food—because that’s where brain chemicals come from in the first place! Feeding your brain properly has the potential to get to the actual root of the problem, which may allow you to reduce the amount of medication you need to feel well and function at your best. In some cases, a ketogenic diet can even completely replace medications.”

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  1. Low-Carbohydrate Diets have a considerable placebo effect because they dramatically alter the eating habits inscribed in Western culture: bread, rice, corn, potatoes, all the foods that constitute the traditional basis of the diet are replaced by oil, butter, cream, olives, almonds. The strict ketogenic diet also requires severe discipline in our cultural environment, which further increases the placebo effect.

    I’ve been trying a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for a month now, and it’s true the diet improves awakening and the clarity of mind, and it changes the body sensation, but it’s impossible to know if that’s the primary effect or the placebo effect. I also had a nocebo effect: for a week, I felt bad, my chest hurt; I went to see a doctor who told me I had nothing and immediately my pain is gone (fun, but true!).

    Low-Carbohydrate Diet is probably a good treatment for schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is not a real disease. If it avoids a neuroleptic treatment or it is with a gradual withdrawal, it’s all good. The favorable biological effect of ketones on schizophrenia is possible, but there is no doubt the placebo effect is large.

    The possible biological effect of the ketogenic or low-carb diet may possibly be tested as part of a gradual withdrawal from neuroleptics, but it must be compared to a very exotic diet to limit cultural bias: for example, an Indian or African diet for Europeans.

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    • Ketogenic diets for mental syndromes are also an example of how it takes 40 years or so for medical innovations to become generally accepted. I first read about these diets back in the 1970’s in an issue of the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry.

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