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Can Diet Affect your Mood?

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Ruth Buttigieg | 0 comments

This morning one of the main health news stories is about how following a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet can help manage certain mental health conditions. Here is some more information on the biological workings of how this happens.

Optimum Nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow - Linus Pauling

Research continually keeps showing the link between our diet and our overall health. Whether it is to feel more comfortable in our own skin or to prevent/manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. these conditions are all affected by what we eat. With so much media chaos out there it can sometimes prove difficult to differentiate between hype and fact.

What current research shows

Current research suggests that individuals following a well formulated low sugar, low starch, ketogenic diet not only helps to manage weight, but also helps manage our overall health. As for the news about this form of dieting helping to stabilise mood swings, this is a result from individuals experiencing less blood sugar spikes.

At the heart of a well formulated ketogenic diet such as beneficial fats (omega 3 & 6), protein, fruit and non-starchy vegetables, REAL FOOD; it all contributes to ensuring the body’s nutritional needs are wholly met. Our moods are directly linked to our gut flora, unfortunately this important link is not always recognised within mainstream care.

Natural Low Carb Store

The Natural Low Carb Store way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-sugar, low-starch, high-protein, moderate-fat ketogenic diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


We embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress.


The importance of fat in the diet is often taken for granted as fat has been on the receiving end of bad press for years. Fat needs to form part of a healthy diet as it is an important carrier of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Once fat is removed from the diet, deficiencies of these vitamins start to become apparent. Having said that, it is important to differentiate the good fats i.e. those found in full-fat dairy items full of essential micronutrients from bad-fats i.e. those found in deep-fried products, and mass-produced confectionary.


Protein in the diet is also critical as our bodies cannot store protein. Hence, we need a constant supply each day. Our bodies require protein to build muscle and repair any internal damage. A constant stream of amino acids, especially tryptophan, has been shown to help manage a variety of mental health conditions such as:

1. Helps to regulate mood swings [1-4]

2. Helps to manage premenstrual symptoms [5-7]

3. Helps to reduce anxiety and stress [8-10]

4. Helps to manage conditions such as depression [11-13]

5. Helps to improve sleep quality [14-16]


We at Natural Low Carb Store are happy to help. So if you have any further questions or would like to know if switching your diet may help then please do get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to help.


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  2. Wolkers CP, Serra M, Hoshiba MA, Urbinati EC. Dietary L-tryptophan alters aggression in juvenile matrinxa Brycon amazonicus. Fish Physiol Biochem. 2012 Jun;38(3):819-27.

  3. Moskowitz DS, Pinard G, Zuroff DC, Annable L, Young SN. Tryptophan, serotonin and human social behavior. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2003;527:215-24.

  4. Menkes DB, Coates DC, Fawcett JP. Acute tryptophan depletion aggravates premenstrual syndrome. J Affect Disord. 1994 Sep;32(1):37-44.

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  6. Bond AJ, Wingrove J, Critchlow DG. Tryptophan depletion increases aggression in women during the premenstrual phase. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):477-80.

  7. Corchs F, Nutt DJ, Hood S, Bernik M. Serotonin and sensitivity to trauma-related exposure in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors-recovered posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Jul 1;66(1):17-24.

  8. van Veen JF, van Vliet IM, de Rijk RH, et al. Tryptophan depletion affects the autonomic stress response in generalized social anxiety disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Nov;34(10):1590-4.

  9. Robinson OJ, Overstreet C, Allen PS, Pine DS, Grillon C. Acute tryptophan depletion increases translational indices of anxiety but not fear: serotonergic modulation of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis? Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Jul;37(8):1963-71.

  10. Sa M, Ying L, Tang AG, Xiao LD, Ren YP. Simultaneous determination of tyrosine, tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptamine in serum of MDD patients by high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Clin Chim Acta. 2012 Jun 14;413(11-12):973-7.

  11. Feder A, Skipper J, Blair JR, et al. Tryptophan depletion and emotional processing in healthy volunteers at high risk for depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 15;69(8):804-7.

  12. Murphy SE, Longhitano C, Ayres RE, Cowen PJ, Harmer CJ. Tryptophan supplementation induces a positive bias in the processing of emotional material in healthy female volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Jul;187(1):121-30.

  13. Mishima K. Melatonin as a regulator of human sleep and circadian systems. Nihon Rinsho. 2012 Jul;70(7):1139-44.

  14. Hartmann E. Effects of L-tryptophan on sleepiness and on sleep. J Psychiatr Res. 1982;17(2):107-13.

  15. Korner E, Bertha G, Flooh E, Reinhart B, Wolf R, Lechner H. Sleep-inducing effect of L-tryptophane. Eur Neurol. 1986;25 Suppl 2:75-81.

  16. Hartmann E, Lindsley JG, Spinweber C. Chronic insomnia: effects of tryptophan, flurazepam, secobarbital, and placebo. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1983;80(2):138-42.

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