2

votes

Clarity of Mind?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 08, 2013 at 8:44 PM

VLC-ers describe a "clarity of mind" while in ketosis - something that is the antithesis of the "brain fog" that one is said to get when first going VLC. I am wondering what this is and how it is experienced as good.

Anxiety is often described as clarity, as opposed to depression which is more of a state of "fogginess"

Is extreme clarity desired? It seems that there are times it would be nice to not be so clear - just to be balanced seems to be a better state to aim for.

I ask this because I see such a tried for either hyperbole or a need for accelerated, superhuman states achieved by forms of dietary modification, and I wonder if it is good in the long term. Traditionally, states of transcendence and ecstasy have been induced by fasting, and while it may be important (as a religious experience, let's say) for a moment it is certainly not optimal, no matter how good it may feel.

Can this analogy hold with VLC/ketosis?

Any thoughts appreciated!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on August 31, 2013
at 02:37 AM

You need to decide if fat burning is your priority or if feeling good and optimal while being metabolically balanced is better for you. I know that for me, as well as for others, the state of VLC ketosis did NOT FEEL RIGHT, but I was losing fat. It just wasn't worth it to me in the long run, so I incorporated safe starches - white rice and potatoes work for me, occasionally corn in the form of masa or polenta

D7a35e2f7f32dd500b74eeb316894fb3

(0)

on August 30, 2013
at 09:35 PM

I am guessing maybe drink some coconut milk and other things. I'm just such in a fat burning mode, I don't want to sabotage myself.

D7a35e2f7f32dd500b74eeb316894fb3

(0)

on August 30, 2013
at 09:31 PM

I believe I get plenty of fats, how can I incorporate more carbs, if I am 0 grains?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 30, 2013
at 06:56 PM

What's your carb levels? Try increasing carbs and fat for energy. Your brain could use it.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 10, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Check out Peter Attia's blog for more great articles on ketosis: http://eatingacademy.com/

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 10, 2013
at 12:04 AM

That was a good read, @Dragonfly - thank you! I have alot to learn about the ins and outs of the effects of ketosis on the brain. Can dopamine be effected by ketosis? Or serotonin? Are the positive effects seen in low fat low carb diets as well? I often wonder if it is the MCT oil that is actually doing the lion's share of the work. Again - I have alot to learn!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:39 PM

Yes - we are experiencing it differently. I definitely don't feel calm, but not jittery either.Like my brain is running at a higher frequency, or like my third eye is about to open. That might be pleasant to some, but not me unfortunately!

D1d9b0d839144b72b5f5dae893a686d3

(602)

on July 09, 2013
at 04:53 PM

I am talking about the exact opposite of anxiety, though I am not typically an anxious person. It is basically like a calm, focused state. I become less likely to get upset about the stupid crap of the world and am able to perform at a higher level for daily tasks.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 09, 2013
at 03:40 AM

Extreme dopamine sensitivity due to an unusually large number of dopamine receptors:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050708055534.htm

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:28 AM

@Mark, can you describe this clarity? I just want to know if it is what I experience as "anxiety". I have been in ketosis before, and I was a wreck of anxiety, but it might be that your clarity IS anxiety, for me. You know what I mean?

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:27 AM

@Dragonfly, I think AxialGentleman's pont is a good one - anorexics often speak of the energy and euphoria they feel when living off small amounts of food (usually carb-free) and engaging in extreme exercising. I imagine they are in ketosis. What else could it be?

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:24 AM

@Dragonfly - I experience my anxiety as an extreme and unpleasant state of hyper-clarity. I feel my heart beat, hear my blood rush, small noises are intensified, everything seems brighter, my emotions are heightened. In a fight-or-flight response, one's senses NEED to be attenuated in order to respond to what is perceived as a life-threatening situation. Anxiety and panic are misfirings of that perception. That is what I meant by anxiety = clarity, and it could just be my personal, subjective experience of it.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:21 AM

@AxialGentleman - yes you may have a point about anxiety and brain fog not being on opposite ends of a continuum. I also suffer from anxiety, and depression - for me anxiety is a hyper-aware state where the clarity has been turned on to an overload of sorts, and what I know of as "fog" descends when a depression muffles and dampens my senses. I have been in ketosis, and I found it anxiety provoking - but I find eating too much coconut oil anxiety provoking as well! Sometimes eating an extra egg yolk will get me all jacked up and hyper aware. Just my experience - interesting to hear yours!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 08, 2013
at 09:26 PM

Most folk take 6 weeks to 6 months to fully keto-adapt.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 08, 2013
at 09:23 PM

Anyone who is actually keto-adapted and eating sufficient calories would never desribe their mental state as being similar to starvation, IMO. Not keto-adapted? For sure!

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 08, 2013
at 09:15 PM

I've heard other people claim that ketosis and starvation produce similar states. Probably because people on any kind of post-neolithic diet only experience keto-adaptation when they're fasting a lot, or starving.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 08, 2013
at 09:13 PM

Also, carb deprivation tends to cause me both brain fog and anxiety, sometimes in rapid alternation.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 08, 2013
at 09:11 PM

Having dealt with anxiety for many years, I would strongly disagree that anxiety is on the opposite end of the continuum from brain fog. Anxiety is very high-energy and brain fog is very low-energy, but they're both "foggy" states in the sense that it's hard to see things clearly or think constructively. The clarity people talk about with ketosis is a more aware and balanced state.

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3 Answers

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 08, 2013
at 08:56 PM

I have never heard anyone describe anxiety as clarity before.

Personally, I find myself lucid, calmer and definitely more balanced in ketosis. My perimenopausal mood swings are gone, too.

Clearer? Yes. Anxious? Nope.

And equating vlc/ketosis with starvation? Fasting? I am definitely not starving on 1800-2000 calories per day, lol!

And I only eat when hungry, so it turns out that I tend to eat all my food within a 6-8 hour eating window (aka intermittent fasting) but it's definitely not fasting/ caloric deprivation in order to induce a particular mental state.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 10, 2013
at 12:04 AM

That was a good read, @Dragonfly - thank you! I have alot to learn about the ins and outs of the effects of ketosis on the brain. Can dopamine be effected by ketosis? Or serotonin? Are the positive effects seen in low fat low carb diets as well? I often wonder if it is the MCT oil that is actually doing the lion's share of the work. Again - I have alot to learn!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:27 AM

@Dragonfly, I think AxialGentleman's pont is a good one - anorexics often speak of the energy and euphoria they feel when living off small amounts of food (usually carb-free) and engaging in extreme exercising. I imagine they are in ketosis. What else could it be?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 09, 2013
at 03:40 AM

Extreme dopamine sensitivity due to an unusually large number of dopamine receptors:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050708055534.htm

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 08, 2013
at 09:26 PM

Most folk take 6 weeks to 6 months to fully keto-adapt.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 08, 2013
at 09:23 PM

Anyone who is actually keto-adapted and eating sufficient calories would never desribe their mental state as being similar to starvation, IMO. Not keto-adapted? For sure!

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 10, 2013
at 12:11 AM

Check out Peter Attia's blog for more great articles on ketosis: http://eatingacademy.com/

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 08, 2013
at 09:15 PM

I've heard other people claim that ketosis and starvation produce similar states. Probably because people on any kind of post-neolithic diet only experience keto-adaptation when they're fasting a lot, or starving.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:24 AM

@Dragonfly - I experience my anxiety as an extreme and unpleasant state of hyper-clarity. I feel my heart beat, hear my blood rush, small noises are intensified, everything seems brighter, my emotions are heightened. In a fight-or-flight response, one's senses NEED to be attenuated in order to respond to what is perceived as a life-threatening situation. Anxiety and panic are misfirings of that perception. That is what I meant by anxiety = clarity, and it could just be my personal, subjective experience of it.

0
D7a35e2f7f32dd500b74eeb316894fb3

on August 30, 2013
at 05:28 PM

OMG.. I have been strict Paleo for over 90 days now, and cannot believe the fog I am in. I am clumsy and so forgetful. And then I stumble across this. Any suggestions on how to recover my brain. :)

I do drink bulletproof coffee, and have plenty of healthy fats. Should I be fasting.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 30, 2013
at 06:56 PM

What's your carb levels? Try increasing carbs and fat for energy. Your brain could use it.

D7a35e2f7f32dd500b74eeb316894fb3

(0)

on August 30, 2013
at 09:31 PM

I believe I get plenty of fats, how can I incorporate more carbs, if I am 0 grains?

D7a35e2f7f32dd500b74eeb316894fb3

(0)

on August 30, 2013
at 09:35 PM

I am guessing maybe drink some coconut milk and other things. I'm just such in a fat burning mode, I don't want to sabotage myself.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on August 31, 2013
at 02:37 AM

You need to decide if fat burning is your priority or if feeling good and optimal while being metabolically balanced is better for you. I know that for me, as well as for others, the state of VLC ketosis did NOT FEEL RIGHT, but I was losing fat. It just wasn't worth it to me in the long run, so I incorporated safe starches - white rice and potatoes work for me, occasionally corn in the form of masa or polenta

0
D1d9b0d839144b72b5f5dae893a686d3

(602)

on July 08, 2013
at 10:35 PM

Get fat adapted, make yourself some bulletproof coffee, and fast for a while. See how you feel. Theorizing on the internet about it will only get you so far (not very.) Personally, I am one of many people who experiences much more clarity when fasting or when in ketosis from eating high fat low carb. This (normally) goes without saying on a paleo site, but obviously make sure your high fat diet consists of quality, healthy fats.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 02:28 AM

@Mark, can you describe this clarity? I just want to know if it is what I experience as "anxiety". I have been in ketosis before, and I was a wreck of anxiety, but it might be that your clarity IS anxiety, for me. You know what I mean?

D1d9b0d839144b72b5f5dae893a686d3

(602)

on July 09, 2013
at 04:53 PM

I am talking about the exact opposite of anxiety, though I am not typically an anxious person. It is basically like a calm, focused state. I become less likely to get upset about the stupid crap of the world and am able to perform at a higher level for daily tasks.

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 09, 2013
at 11:39 PM

Yes - we are experiencing it differently. I definitely don't feel calm, but not jittery either.Like my brain is running at a higher frequency, or like my third eye is about to open. That might be pleasant to some, but not me unfortunately!

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