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Anxiety and Paleo

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  • Anxiety and Paleo

    I have a very brilliant professor that I semi-disagree with on nutrition. Today, he said in his clinical experience, patients on the high-fat and high-protein Paleo diet tend to have their anxiety worsen. I, of course, immediately clarified that paleo didn't always mean high-fat and protein and it could be very high in carbohydrate. I also reminded him that I used to advise people transitioning to Paleo/Primal/PHD/GAPS and every person had better anxiety control or it disappeared completely.

    I want to know YOUR experiences. I do realize that this poll may be a tad self-selecting as those that fail at this way of life may no longer frequent this board. I figure some info is better than none.

    Just to give a better picture of him though, he does love bacon and is experimenting with intermittent fasting with patients. ;-)
    My anxiety is gone
    My anxiety is much better
    There is no change in my anxiety
    My anxiety is a little worse
    My anxiety is much worse
    Last edited by jkr; 11-07-2012, 11:10 PM.

  • #2
    I can say that my anxiety has not been any WORSE on the primal/paleo diet, so from my personal n=1, he is wrong about it being worse on low carb. On the other hand, I don't especially think that it's gotten any better either... So it's also not a magic cure for anxiety either.
    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."


    • #3
      There's plenty of people who feel absolutely miserable doing VLC, or Very Low Carb.

      Me, I just pop a pill for my depression. LOL

      No, I'm not kidding.

      Also: Mindfulness meditation. It's saving my life. Literally.
      A Post-Primal PrimalPat

      Do not allow yourself to become wrapped up in a food 'lifestyle'. That is ego, and you are not that.


      • #4
        I have been suffering depression my whole life, and I can say I've felt no worse since starting paleo/primal. Just my 2 cents.
        F 28/5'4/100 lbs

        "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."


        • #5
          I have crazy anxiety- (scared of everything like a 6 yr old). It has not gotten worse by any means. I've actually learned to "let go" a bit and relax. So I'd say my anxiety has gotten a bit better!


          • #6
            Paleo made no difference to my anxiety however I seem to have better mood in general on paleo, and thats led me to being led anxious.
   - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore


            • #7
              no change in my anxiety...but i have been totally anxiety free and cool as a cucumber for about 6 years. it's my superpower.


              • #8
                I don't have anxiety in the clinical sense. But my mood and general outlook on life is scores better than it was on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.


                • #9
                  I actually have clinical anxiety issues. I have spent a year in rehab for my anxiety.

                  I will say that a high fat low carb diet has not conclusively changed or altered my anxiety. The major difference is exercise for me and overall therapeutic measures I took to better my life after being sent to rehab

                  I used to get panic attacks all the time and they would make me throw up, pass out or even in most serious cases go to the hospital for dehydration and exhaustion

                  Now i have been high fat and low carb for about 6 months. There were long times i have been nearly Keto, but i have tried to be as primal as one can in college

                  I don't get panic attacks anymore. i don't attribute to the diet because a lot in my life changed over the past couple years where i was in rehab, recovery, and return to college which i am now.

                  So far in my college experience and i have returned to college back in begin of this semester, i have not had serious panic attacks.

                  2.5 years ago when i was in college for the first time i did suffer anxiety from eating. eating was anxiety provoking because of a social aspect that meals make me nervous. But also i was very body sensitive and if i felt too full i would start thinking about throwing up. I had to take xanax just to eat. i lost 30 lbs in one semester.

                  Today i manage to feel better. high fat diets allow me to feel less full and i think that is comforting compared to eating a big carb loaded meal that would make me nervous

                  i would say that my psychological issues, like depression, adhd, ocd, anxiety... cannot be truly cured by any diet change. It can be a source of help. but cognitive therapy, the right support network and the correctly prescribed psychiatric medications by your psychiatrist are my main sources of improvement.

                  i would say that i don't get more anxious from high fat diets. and i eat a very strict high fat and low carb diet. i refute the professor who said that based on my personal experience.

                  my overall physical appearance and health has been GREATLY improved by primal dieting, for that i feel much better about myself

                  would i recommend a high fat/low carb for anxiety? I would recommend it to anyone but for anxiety i would say that a healthy nutritious diet is very important for your mental and physical well being. the paleo diet in my opinion most helped me with my adhd, i think . i cannot back it up and i still have it in some respects, but it has helped me have better focus.

                  in respect for adhd, i would say that learning to watch what you eat and have a proactive approach to nutritious diet does help one with learning and developing skills to improving productive focusing

                  my last words is that i still get anxious and stressed from college challenges, but my life is in a far better place and i got much better skills in handling my anxiety and stress. my primal diet has tremendously changed many things for my life. I am able to eat without fear of overeating sickness and i have not thrown up in about five months


                  • #10
                    I don't have a diagnosis of anxiety. I have been diagnosed with major depression in the past when I was on a low fat, low protein vegetarian diet. I had a suicide plan and everything. I took anti-depressants for a while but stopped them several years ago.

                    Even though I was no longer taking medication and didn't think of myself as depressed, I now feel infinitely better about everything. Better than before and better than any time in my life. I feel sunny, confident, happy, radiant. It's just amazing.

                    I will share that I have two friends who went on a different diet from a 12-step program that defines abstinence as no flour (from any kind of grain, but real whole grains are fine) and no sugar. Both friends experienced profound mood effects. One of them took anti-depressants and no longer needs them. One of those friends spent the summer traveling and met some other people along the way who had done similar things--paleo diet, more fat and less grains, that sort of thing--and had similar results. The thing that astounds all of us the most is the huge change in our mental health. It's astonishing, really.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                    • #11
                      I never had any issues with anxiety up until about 2 months ago when I started having panic/anxiety attacks. Been primal since Jan 2010 leaning more to the higher carb - moderate fat side and always getting plenty of exercise so I don't think my diet contributed to that.

                      The thing I learned is that anxiety at least in most cases needs to be confronted, if it's a fear you have, you have to learn to love that fear. That's the technique that worked for me (still a work in progress, but it's only because my brain likes to screw with me) telling myself that I was enjoying the feelings of anxiety and that I welcomed them - what's more, that I wanted them to be WORSE. I would say things like "I want my heart to beat faster! I want it to actually have a heart attack. I want my palms to get sweatier, I want the pressure on my head to intensify. I want this, I embrace it." etc etc ... it's a trick, your body cannot actually worsen it's own symptoms and it actually makes it so you return to normal. It's our desire to run away from this unpleasantness that makes them persist and worsen.

                      My case could and probably was milder, but I talked to a few people and apparently anxiety issues (and panic attacks) are incredibly common, which also helped put me at ease. I still have issues sometimes when I go to sleep, and what I discussed above doesn't always work right away and this is (in my case at least) due to over active thinking and self-sabotage.

                      I think WORRYING about your diet could obviously lead to issues, but if you feel confident about eating VLC, or high carb or anything in between, then you will be fine. It's all in our heads, or at least a big chunk of it is.

                      For what it's worth, I do take vitamin D and magnesium daily and both are known to help with stress and mood. I also sometimes take OTC sleep aids when my night attacks just won't go away, but only so that I get some sleep and I try not to do it frequently.

                      Edit: It's important to say. I have NOT been totally grain-free since I went primal. In fact as of the past few months I have not been good at staying away from grains. I want to again, because I know they're not good for me, but I'm taking it slow. I do assume my mental health would be better without them, as my mood improved dramatically when I first went primal. I guess I'm a slow learner though - and living with my gf now it makes it harder to stay away from them. I seem to have lost my affinity for mostly meat + veg, but I am inching back to it. I think a big help for me mentally is that I love to exercise, so while no excuse for a poor diet, I think if it wasn't for that I'd really be having more issues in the vein of anxiety or depression. Working out helps me put my worries in the back burner and makes me feel free.

                      I have been having some nagging headaches, where my head doesn't actually hurt but I feel some tingling and mild jabbing. I think they're probably tension headaches, but it could be just a result of eating more grains and/or sugar. I used to be good at staying on the primal path, but it's been quite an issue lately. I feel like I've only been at around 60% and should really strive for a good 85%... I love eggs, meat, etc but been allowing more sweets and even pastries that I NEVER gave a shit about only because they're around. I think they could be largely responsible for the fogginess. Time to shape up!
                      Last edited by iniQuity; 11-08-2012, 10:32 AM.
                      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by primalrob View Post
                        no change in my anxiety...but i have been totally anxiety free and cool as a cucumber for about 6 years. it's my superpower.
                        Did you do anything in particular to get there? It's amazing how weakening a few bouts of anxiety attacks can be.
                        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                        • #13
                          I have to say that my anxiety and depression has gotten worse. I stopped grains and I believe that I was one of those who needs those carbs to feel good. I should really say just to feel OK. I am realizing now that I really cant even drink wine as I chug it because it makes me feel so good. I believe this is not an alcohol thing but a sugar thng. Beer - no problem. But wine to me is like toast and peanut butter, cheese and crackers. Feel good foods.

                          I am so sad when I think about all the foods I loved that I cannot eat anymore. And of course I loved them because they gave me a shot of feel good to eat them. Hence my weight problem too!

                          I read a good article about some oeverweight people having less dopamine receptors and therefore need to eat more of those foods which act like opiates in us even to just feel normal. And over time have to eat more to get the same feeling.

                          So 55 years into this life I figure out why I have a weight problem. I am not just a pig!! I knew it, I just didn't know why.

                          So what to do? I exercise - alot - walking, cycling, weights, yoga. Not chronic cardio. I try to be out in the sun alot as I've read that helps. I sit in front of a SAD lite in the winter. I take vitamin D.

                          So this all makes me feel just barely OK( in the winter anyway). Sure want those sugars back but I know I cant. Sucks

                          I dont mean to be so negative - sucks now but beats cancer, heart disease, diabetes later
                          Last edited by snoops; 11-08-2012, 10:37 AM. Reason: to add


                          • #14
                            Maybe it's a chicken/egg situation. I believe that most people who are LC/Paleo are more anxiety prone to begin with because we are (generalizing) mostly a bunch of type A perfectionists who can't relax.


                            • #15
                              PJAP - not me - totally not type A at all