Does lack of sugar, or maybe just low-carb, turn you into a stoic zombie?
Stoic? Possibly. Low-humor zombie? Definitely not.
As someone who used to fall on the anxious and compulsive side of the spectrum, I'm grateful for the calm and clarity I got first after dropping wheat, then other grains, and finally going VLC/ZC. To me -- relatively speaking -- that seems fantastic... closer to what I kind of always wanted and idealized as normal. But I can see that for someone who was closer to the middle to begin with, a trip into deep calm might feel a little Vulcan. A while back I read the blog entry Lizzy mentions, and I get it.
As for the humor: For me, the clearer everything gets, the funnier everything gets.
I think you got it the other way around. Sugar MAKES me a zombie, after I crash from the sugar induced hyperactivity.
My boyfriend had a major sweet tooth which is now completely cured with Paleo (munching on chocolates, candies, etc, all day long to the point he wasn't hungry for actual food) and he has always been stoic. He is still stoic, however =)
But being stoic doesn't mean you have no humor.
Heck no! I'm low sugar/low carb and I'm a regular laugh riot. Carb flu might make you a bit unpleasant but that's just temporary.
Hmmm. Well, four months after going zero carb, I did my first stand-up routine in front of a full house. I was no Louis CK, but I don't think anyone called me a stoic zombie, either.
ETA: I have seen some some evidence, however, that believing that one's way of living, eating, exercising, or praying is not just best for oneself, but for everyone else on the planet, has the power to turn even formerly smart and funny people into self-righteous bores. And there sure ain't nothin' funny about that.
For me, yes! When I went VLC for several months, an old friend visited me and stayed on my couch. We hadn't seen each other for quite a while, not since I'd changed my eating. Our whole interaction was off, none of the usual funny banter we have. My end of the conversation was detached, literal. I went to bed promptly at 9 pm every night, even if she wanted to stay up. It was weird, like I was some alien from an ice planet running a hotel.
We were walking by the ocean and I got a cold-brew coffee. I started drinking it and my eyes lit up, exclaiming it was the best coffee I'd ever had. About halfway into the cup, I realized it's sugar,. There was sugar in the coffee, the first I had tasted in maybe 6 months. I suddenly felt my emotions coming back to me. I was warm, laughing, empathetic, silly, my whole personality changed. "I was wondering what the hell was wrong with you!"
I prefer the more stable emotional spectrum I seem to dwell in when I eat moderate carb paleo (VLC wasn't for me, for the reason above and others), but sugar is certainly drug-like. It's not sustainable for me. Like a lot of people here, sugar causes more cravings, then I'm just on the roller coaster. Since I was more-or-less chasing a sugar high for years without realizing it, the attendant moods are what I constructed as "my personality," so even if I prefer my disposition while eating paleo, it be kind of jarring to lose that.
When I am VLC you could drop a nuke and I wouldn't give a pigs tail. Give me a Coke and I'm an anxious nut case.
Just started low carbing again. Let the nukes fly!
Nah, I was at 2 weeks in ketosis around 50g carbs per day yesterday and i was freaking happier than I had been in months! I was making jokes that were actually funny, I was able to appreciate the good things that happened to me, and I felt good. I failed and ate sugar and carbs last night and today I am a sad, sad human. :( But the first few weeks I felt like my head was swimming in fog and I definitely wasn't up to joking. So I guess it depends on how long you can stick with it and individual differences.
I don't feel this way at all! My mental state is far more consistent, calm, and generally positive. But I don't think I've lost my sense of humor in the least. I still have the same hilarious interactions with my friends and family as I've always had.
I do however, still drink wine and tequila, and occasionally smoke pot. Maybe that's what's keeping me from becoming a stoic zombie. :)
In the book "How to Become Smarter," by Russian biochemist Nikolai Shevchuk, (which, despite its sensationalist title, is actually quite an impressive and well-researched book), the author describes mental changes that tend to be associated with certain diets, based both on his research and on self-experimentation. In short:
High-Protein Diet: Very low carb, high protein, high fat, no dairy (with meat cooked only in liquid at low temps) Greatly increased concentration and focus, improved fluid intelligence, decreased empathy, possibility of depression, but generally less emotional than other diets. Observable stoicism and apparently (from the outside) less of a sense of humor (although not necessarily inside).
Modified High-Protein Diet: Some servings (30-70%) of high-protein foods replaced with dairy equivalents Gives benefits of increased concentration and fluid intelligence; does not, however, lower mood or cause apathy. Effects can also be caused to some extent by replacement of red meat with fowl and fish, but this will reduce the mental benefits. Shevchuk also reports that the addition of grain extracts (water off the top of flour of some kind, preferably wheat, buckwheat, or barley, that has been soaking for up to 8 hours) can improve mood (possibly due to starch).
Raw diet comprised only of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains ADHD-like symptoms, considerable energy, greater empathy and emotional intelligence, much higher susceptibility to emotional states of sadness and happiness. Somewhat unstable.
Shevchuk suggest that the negative effects of the high-protein diet are due at least in part to mutagenic compounds formed in cooked meat, which can cause subtle mood changes.
I haven't experienced it, but "Peggy the Primal Parent" wrote a blog post about eating almost a 100% raw meat carnivore diet which she believed caused her to act Vulcan-ish (lack of emotions). When she re-introduced sugar back into her diet, she claims it cured her apathy.