Today I've eaten eggs, prawns butter and avocado and I feel really anxious/depressed
Does anyone else get depressed on low carb?
When I was first starting out with Paleo, I tried to it low-carb. Everything seemed to be well, but after about a month and a half, I started getting*very anxious and stressed out*.
What ends up happening is your body must break down protein for glucose needs, and it releases a lot of cortisol to make this happen, leaving you feeling anxious, and stressed, which inevitably leads to depression.
Do some carb refeeds. Around 250 grams twice or three times a week. Make your first one today. You'll still be "fat-adapted" with infrequent carb refeeds, but you won't suffer from low glycogen stores.
I go through phases, during a low-carb streak...
At first: I'm tired, a little depressed, a little cloudy, just sort of feeling overall like I'm missing something. I do get a little anxious after the tiredness passes, I feel that I have more energy than I know what to do with; I usually don't sleep more than five hours a night during this phase. This lasts the first couple days.
After that: I break through a wall (low-carb flu) and start feeling really, REALLY good. I'm elated, I'm giddy, I'm clearer than I've been in a long time, I feel like I've figured it all out. A fatty meal makes me feel like I'm flying on several illegal substances. Still sleeping five - six hours a night, but could care less because I have energy. I mean I have ENERGY! This lasts another three or four days.
At this point I'm seven - ten days in, and I start noticing that I'm snapping at people here and there. Irritability sets in; I'm not seeking trouble per se, but if anyone shows any sign of weakness or stupidity at all around me, I have ZERO patience and I pounce like a starving lion aiming to rip the throat out. If I continue in this phase, I feel like I might lose my job; it requires both patience and the ability to support those of lesser capability.
Around three - four weeks of <20g carbs, in deep keto - my irritability levels off a bit, but never completely. I feel like a predator, I'm more aggressive than I like to see in myself; if I become impatient or irritated with anything in my life, I simply cut it out. Emotional ties or value doesn't weigh in at all. I feel like I'm operating at a closer to mammalian level, really eschewing the advances in society we've made over the last thousand years. At the same time, I'm thinking exceptionally clear, I write a lot, I create, I'm busy as can be, utterly discontent with sedentary life. My house stays exceptionally clean, I get ahead at work, and generally feel like a production-machine, but at the same time, incapable of emotional attachment or really loving.
Needless to say, I eat potatoes these days. It fascinates the hell out of me from a psychological standpoint, though.
I can't say that I was especially depressed, but since I started adding in a lot of carbs (ala a smoothie most mornings consisting of at least 2 bananas, berries, coconut milk, and some whey protein isolate), I've actually been happy.
I've never normally been a happy person :D
I will be honest with you - I do not feel depressed when I eat low carb BUT I almost NEVER eat low carb. I make sure to add some starchy vegetables/tubers on a daily basis. Why? I do not believe in low carb. DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME.
I know about people who do well on low-carb diets. My guess is that their blood sugar levels/metabolism is so screwed up, they have to do it in order to re-start it.
However (and this is my belief) long-term low-carb diets are not sustainable. I have no research or experience to back it up, but this is the deduction I have made from reading tons of literature on traditional cuisines and hunter-gatherer's diets.
And I am probably one of the happiest people on earth. Little things make me happy.
Only when I'm not getting enough fat. If I stick to fat being 75% ~ 80% of my calorie intake and the rest split between carbs and protein, I feel happy and insanely productive.
However if the fat percentage slides down and the protein goes up, I get anxious. I suspect prolonged gluconeogenesis is hard on the body.
Eat mostly fat. What little protein you eat should be high quality, like liver, eggs and whole fishes/sea creatures.
Low fat makes me even more depressed. Also, one low carb meal like the breakfast described should not have a dramatic effect on your mood. Maybe you are just having a bad day and that has nothing to do with your diet?
Are there any ongoing factors other than the diet that are contributing to your depression/anxiety?
Yes, avoiding carbs makes it harder for me to manage major depressive disorder. I do not pretend to understand why that is the case, just n=1. Now I try to carb-cycle, ala LeanGains, and just eat the majority of my carbs on workout days. This seems to be pretty manageable for me.
Try taking 5-HTP at night to boost serotonin levels. Beware that high serotonin can also leave you depressed, so I found after the first 2-3 weeks that scaling back to every other night or every 3 nights works well for me. You have to play with it a little to find your own sweet spot.
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