Feeling Depressed on a Low-Carb Diet?

The problem might not be the low-carb diet as such - simply that the carb restriction, if it is pretty severe, then perhaps a lack of vitamins and minerals can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Also, keep in mind stress depletes serotonin levels. B vitamins, calcium and magnesium play a role in regulating serotonin levels.

The other thing to consider is carbs raise serotonin levels in the brain and that makes one feel good. For instance, a cup of coffee or tea will do the same. Eating carbohydrates or consuming stimulants raises insulin, which raises serotonin levels, but as we know refined carbohydrates will let us crash soon thereafter, causing serotonin levels to plummet as well. Enough fat and protein and some carbs will keep serotonin levels more balanced. If carbs drop too low, for some people this can be a problem. Also, a very low-fat diet makes one deficient in serotonin.

Moral of the story: Make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals (take supplements as well), sufficient protein and fats and some carbs. The carb level will vary with each individual. Some people feel great on a very low-carb diet and others feel better with a moderate carb level. However, high carb with lots of sugar and white flour products will cause serotonin levels to fluctuate wildly in susceptible people. Living off sweets and junk food can actually lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well - and, of course, to anxiety and depression.

Personally, I feel fantastic on a lower carb diet. I take all my vitamins and supplements every day. My moods are more stable and so is my blood sugar on a low-carb diet. The times that I have switched to high carb, I've gained weight over time and felt less healthy, as my food choices seem to deteriorate along with my morale. Low-carbing is the weigh to go for me! 'Scuse the pun! :-)