The Keto Diet and Mental Health: How Much Should the Food Industry Watch This Trend?

The Keto Diet and Mental Health: How Much Should the Food Industry Watch This Trend?

The ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Ketogenic diets cause the body to produce ketones, which are used as an alternative fuel when blood sugar levels are low. Ketones are produced in the liver from fat, making the ketogenic diet a popular approach to weight loss.

There is also evidence that the keto diet can help treat serious mental health conditions. A new clinical trial from James Cook University in Australia will undertake clinical trials to determine whether a high-fat, low-carb diet could be used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“How ketogenic therapy works is to provide alternative energy sources in the form of so-called ketone bodies (products of fat breakdown) and by helping to bypass abnormally functioning cellular energy pathways in these mental disorders,”said Associate Professor Carlo Longhitano, chief of psychiatry at JCU and co-investigator of the study.

He added that only well-designed and controlled clinical trials such as those currently underway can draw conclusions that support evidence-based medicine. “Without them, it’s just anecdotes and hearsay,”said Dr. Longhitano.

Andy Welch, CEO of Keeto Life, which sells products to more than 250,000 consumers in 15 countries, pointed to the broader, positive effects of healthy eating on mental well-being, but remains excited about the potential of keto diets to address many diverse issues, including mental health.

“Generally, today’s Western diets lack many of the nutrients needed to nourish the body and take care of our precious organs – especially our brains,”he told FoodNavigator. “Introduce a keto diet, or a low carb lifestyle as I like to call it, and you essentially give up many of the highly processed carbs and sugars that dominate western life. An appreciation for healthy foods like leafy greens and the essential nutrients they offer, like superior brain health, is at the heart of keto thinking—how to help your body perform at its peak.

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