6

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Depressed if not enough fat in your diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Hey guys, I've just started eating paleo again after a long hiatus, and this time I've put much more emphasis on having enough fat in my diet. I'm on day 7 at the moment. In the past I've suffered from depression and anxiety, and eating paleo generally relieves these things. However, yesterday I ate just protein and vegetables (no extra fat), and I noticed by the end of the day that I felt really depressed. This morning I had some eggs with grassfed butter and a little bit of coconut milk with my coffee, and within 10 minutes I felt back to normal again. Has anyone else experienced this?

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on August 12, 2012
at 02:34 AM

oh yea - been there done that!

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Quality of fats definitely make a difference, including especially the omegas. A combination of vit-D, omega-3, and more healthy fats together all helped me with energy and depression. And as you point out, this will vary for each person. We much each figure out what works best for ourselves.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:01 PM

Vit D helped me too, but wasn't enough by itself. As you saw, eating fats (good ones!) is needed too. There are a lot of factors at play, of which the imbalance of any one can lead to depression.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:00 PM

This was the issue for me. Increasing vit-D helped a little. But I was still low on energy which still left me somewhat susceptible to depression cycles. Making up for a lower carb diet by increasing my healthy fat intake gave the energy back and avoids the depressive dips.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 07:57 PM

I've read that book too and found it useful for targetting specific mood-related issues with nutritional remedies, including supplements and even pharmaceuticals if needed.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 10, 2012
at 05:50 PM

With that being said, I do not think high fat diets are beneficial for an athletically/lean person. I generally keep my fat between 20 and 30% of cals and no more than that. Any more and carbs/protein have to be dropped, and I need some high octane fuel in my tank. Actually, fat would be high octane fuel, and carbs/protein would be the NOS :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 10, 2012
at 05:48 PM

With that being said, i don't really believe in high fat diets. I generally keep mine between 20 and 30 percent. Any more than that and carbs and/or protein have to decline, and need some high intensity energy in my tank.

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on August 10, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I agree that if someone has serious depression issues, the paleo diet is no substitute for the advice of a medical professional and modern drug therapies.

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11 Answers

4
Bff65d57550834052d577657f7e84275

on August 10, 2012
at 04:57 PM

I am a 27 year old female who had NO signs of depression/anxiety until about 2 years ago when I started an extreme low fat diet. For 2 years I progressively got more depressed and went from being a completely confident woman to having an eating disorder. My family was completely SHOCKED when I told them. I too have recently started the Paleo diet as suggested by my uncle (a very smart man and nutritionist). The turnaround was almost instant. I can't believe how great I feel. I did my own research and there is definitely a connection between lack of fats and mood. I am so happy to be back to my good 'ol self! Of course, this is just my story, everyone is different. But I definitely can relate with you! PS I hope you got rid of the sugar in your diet as well, that doesn't help anything!

3
75b3b900d09e555fc57b74ca24f7a76a

on August 10, 2012
at 04:54 PM

My moods stabilize when I have a low carb diet with plenty of fat. I get much less anxious and am less likely to feel overwhelmed.

3
7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

on August 10, 2012
at 04:38 PM

I thought this too for a while then it stopped working, what really helped me was prozac because I actually had quite serious depression, I think diet can be to blame for some people but not everyone, paleo has helped a lot though I think

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on August 10, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I agree that if someone has serious depression issues, the paleo diet is no substitute for the advice of a medical professional and modern drug therapies.

2
93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 10, 2012
at 05:57 PM

Depression was a major issue for me when I was vitamin D deficient... But I do feel that eating fat makes me feel happier because my stomach is full and sated, so maybe your brain is feeling the same?

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:01 PM

Vit D helped me too, but wasn't enough by itself. As you saw, eating fats (good ones!) is needed too. There are a lot of factors at play, of which the imbalance of any one can lead to depression.

2
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on August 10, 2012
at 04:54 PM

i would not say that I get depressed when I don't eat sufficient fat, but maybe a little manic or a little "off." However, for me it is definitely the omegas and not the saturates that have the most positive effect- wild salmon, sardines, eggs, avocado, and leaner cuts of grass fed beef/bison.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Quality of fats definitely make a difference, including especially the omegas. A combination of vit-D, omega-3, and more healthy fats together all helped me with energy and depression. And as you point out, this will vary for each person. We much each figure out what works best for ourselves.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 10, 2012
at 05:48 PM

With that being said, i don't really believe in high fat diets. I generally keep mine between 20 and 30 percent. Any more than that and carbs and/or protein have to decline, and need some high intensity energy in my tank.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 10, 2012
at 05:50 PM

With that being said, I do not think high fat diets are beneficial for an athletically/lean person. I generally keep my fat between 20 and 30% of cals and no more than that. Any more and carbs/protein have to be dropped, and I need some high octane fuel in my tank. Actually, fat would be high octane fuel, and carbs/protein would be the NOS :)

1
F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 10, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Every time in my life that I've lost weight I've become very depressed. One of those times I actually had a plan to throw my hairdrier in the tub. All those times losing weight I did it with extremely low fat. My boyfriend said the same has happened for him--low fat = depression. This time it is different for me. I've lost the weight on high fat and I've never felt this sunny and cheerful in my entire life (and I'm 47 years old.) Meanwhile, I've spoken to some other folks and they have experienced similar extraordinary mood improvements just from giving up flour and sugar and making sure every meal has 1/4 cup olive oil or equivalent fat.

1
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 10, 2012
at 06:44 PM

I get depressed when I'm low on energy, too.

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 08:00 PM

This was the issue for me. Increasing vit-D helped a little. But I was still low on energy which still left me somewhat susceptible to depression cycles. Making up for a lower carb diet by increasing my healthy fat intake gave the energy back and avoids the depressive dips.

1
1b32fc0f24120eb9fdc387e841d0dc8f

(161)

on August 10, 2012
at 05:57 PM

You may be interested in reading Julia Ross' book The Mood Cure, which provides information on treating depression and other psychological symptoms with amino acids and diet (including plenty of saturated fats). http://www.moodcure.com/

A9007c998e3b924deebbe9ebb98d4db6

(340)

on August 10, 2012
at 07:57 PM

I've read that book too and found it useful for targetting specific mood-related issues with nutritional remedies, including supplements and even pharmaceuticals if needed.

0
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on August 11, 2012
at 01:54 AM

My moods are definitely lighter and more stable when I'm getting lots of good fat. And I remember being incredibly depressed while on low-fat diets in the past.

I'm not sure it's just the fat that is doing it for me, though. I ended up pre-diabetic, and I suspect the crazy blood-sugar spikes and crashes and chronically elevated insulin levels had a lot to do with my erratic moods. If I consume more than small amounts of sugar, I get cranky, anxious, and emotional right away--it's so noticeable now because I rarely eat sugar at all anymore. And I'm sure the depression would come right back if I resumed eating wheat in anywhere near the quantities I once did, as even small amounts leave me brain-fogged and lethargic the next morning.

That said, I do notice a slight difference for the better on days when I'm eating lots of fat, as opposed to days that are more protein-heavy, even if the caloric consumption is the same. It's not dramatic, but it is noticeable.

0
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on August 10, 2012
at 04:35 PM

It looks like there have been some studies that link dietary fat intake with depression. That said, if you have a past history of depression, it could just be coincidence. If it happens regularly when you cut fat out, I'd say it's a great reason to load up on the saturated goodness. French/Mediterranean cuisine for the win!

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