The popularity of a low-carbohydrate diet is primarily focused on the fight against obesity and diabetes, but did you know that it also helps to prevent psychological problems?
Back to the beginning. Carbohydrates are in almost everything that we ingest. You can find them in pasta, beans, fruit and sweets, among other things. They give you energy in the first place, but your body also converts carbohydrates into blood sugar. If you consume fewer carbohydrates, (for example by avoiding carbohydrate-rich products), this will ensure more balance in your blood sugar level.
Research into mental disorders
That a carbohydrate-rich diet is not only bad for our weight, but also increases the risk of diabetes, is one thing that is certain. In recent years there has been increasing scientific evidence that too much sugar also has a bad influence on our brains. It is therefore not surprising that more and more research is being done into the treatment of mental disorders. This is done by applying an adjusted diet that consists of fewer carbohydrates. “Low carbohydrate diets are safe for almost everyone and can in many cases lead to significant improvements in psychiatric symptoms,” states psychiatrist Georgia Ede. “The many potential benefits of this diet for most people, in my opinion, far outweigh their low risk of side effects.”
Yet Ede states that there are also groups that should consult a doctor before they start this diet. “People who currently use heavy medication or who have a history of serious psychological symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, mania or psychosis should not just start such a diet. It could affect their medication and temporarily worsen symptoms. “
Four proven effects
Although changes in the diet do not completely replace medication, they can improve overall health. Scientific research shows that a low-carbohydrate diet has the following effects on our brains:
1. Reduces toxic reaction by glucose
A low carbohydrate diet ensures that you have fewer spikes in your blood sugar level. And that usually has an effect on your brain. When the amount of glucose in your blood is high, your brain will also be filled with this substance. This gives a toxic reaction to your brain cells, causing certain proteins to be irreparably damaged.
2. Prevents insulin resistance in the brain
A diet rich in sugars (and therefore in carbohydrates) can cause insulin resistance. In the brain, this can cause the insulin receptors to become damaged, insensitive and decrease. As a result, the insulin level in the brain will eventually fall rapidly. Insufficient insulin levels are a risk factor for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
3. Less risk of inflammation
Diets with a high sugar content promote certain inflammations in the brain. These inflammations can cause a large number of existing psychiatric and neurological disorders. Several studies have shown that low carbohydrate diets reduce the risk of these inflammations.
4. Stabilize stress hormones
When your blood sugar rises quickly and then falls again, this also applies to the hormones in your body. Such enormous peaks and troughs ensure that your body produces more of the stress hormone adrenaline. These adrenalin bumps can sometimes occur four to five hours after a sugar boost and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, irritability and concentration problems. A low-carbohydrate diet can help to keep it more balanced.