Depression: Your Brain on Sugar

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist February 7, 2012

depression is your brain on sugar

You’ve no doubt seen the television ads warning “this is your brain on drugs”.   These public service announcements are designed to be visually shocking thereby discouraging youth drug abuse by comparing the brain to an egg and a fried egg in a pan to a brain on drugs.

The same can be said about the effects of sugar on the brain.  In the case of sugar, however, the effects are marked by a high risk of long term mental illness like depression rather than a brief yet dangerous, drug induced high.

Depression is at epidemic proportions in our modern society.  Even children are not immune with some estimates putting 1 in every 8 teenagers as clinically depressed.

What’s more, major depression is projected to become the #2 disability in the United States by 2020 with 1/4 of the population suffering its devastating impact sometime during their lives.

Are Antidepressant Drugs the Answer?

When the sobering diagnosis of depression is given, the typical remedy given by doctors is a script for antidepressant drugs.

According to Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body Primal Mind and a speaker at the Wise Traditions 2010 Conference, however, antidepressant drugs only have about a 13% effectiveness rate, just slightly better than a placebo.

Moreover, for the small minority of people for whom antidepressants actually help, 30-40% of them will not find antidepressant drugs effective over the long term.

Bottom line?  If you are depressed, don’t look to drugs as the long term solution especially if you want to maintain a normal sex life.  Antidepressants are well known to significantly dampen or even completely eliminate libido!

Instead of drugs, look to your diet as the best long term solution to depression.

Are You A Carbovore?

Diet has a tremendous impact on the development of depression and whether or not the sufferer successfully recovers long term.  For some unknown reason, however, this basic truth is consistently ignored by most conventional medical authorities other than the possible suggestion of a doctor’s office recommended supplement of industrialized fish oil capsules!

Imbalanced, unstable, surging blood sugar is a common source of depression as well as simple irritability and violent tendencies according to Ms. Gedguadas, a board certified Nutritional Therapist and Clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.

Doubt that blood sugar plays a huge role in brain health?

Consider that Alzheimer’s patients are notorious for having a voracious sweet tooth.  Eating sweets on a frequent basis with the accompanying blood sugar surges depletes magnesium in the body at a rapid rate leaving the brain vulnerable to the ravages of aluminum.

A high aluminum level in the brain is, of course, a hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease.

How Sugar Destabilizes the Brain

Blood sugar surges actually destabilize the brain via the deadly process of glycation.

In layman’s terms, glycation is the chemical process in the body whereby glucose, proteins, and certain fats become tangled together making all manner of body tissue stiff and inflexible – including the brain.

Glycation is a big free radical problem in the body causing rapid aging.  In neurological terms, glycation has the very real potential of actually shrinking brain tissue.

Absolutely nothing is more destabilizing to the brain than surging blood sugar which results in rampant glycation in the body.

Case in point: Have you ever noticed how your temper gets really short after that midafternoon candy bar?   Similarly, this is why kids get so moody and disruptive when a teacher ironically and misguidedly gives them candy as a reward for good attention.

Ms. Gedgaudas maintains that blood sugar issues are the #1 influencing factor in mental health with depression being one of the most prominent.

Avoiding the devastating effects of glycation upon the brain which can over the long haul, cause mental illness like depression, anxiety and other mood disorders requires stable, steady blood sugar as much as possible.

Whole, Dietary Fats Best Stabilize the Blood Sugar

While surging blood sugar levels caused by overconsumption of grain based foods, processed sugars, and even alcohol in the diet are the most destabilizing force the brain can experience, natural dietary fats are conversely the most stabilizing neurological force giving way to clear thinking and stable emotions.

The best dietary fats for blood sugar control are those consumed liberally by Traditional Societies which experienced vibrant health and suffered little to no mental illness or degenerative disease.  These are the very same fats that are typically shunned by most people in favor of factory fats like margarine which are not favorable to brain function and should be avoided.

Traditional fats must be consumed liberally in the diet to achieve mental stability, however.

Lowfat Diets = Neurological Instability

Think about the makeup of the brain if this point is concerning to you in any way.  Consider that 60-80% of the brain is fat, a full 50% of which is saturated fat!

11% of the brain is arachidonic acid best found in egg yolks and 25% as DHA (an omega-3 fat best found in oily fish. Flax oil is a poor substitute as it converts poorly to true DHA).

How much of the brain under healthy, normal circumstaces is actually composed of highly processed, polyunsaturated fats which are the primary fat in the Western diet?

How about none!

If you want to adopt the wise and time tested strategy of eating properly for your brain’s sake, then you must eat the type of fats that actually comprise the make-up of the brain. Doesn’t this just make sense?

  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Ghee
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Tallow/Suet/Lard
  • Egg Yolks

These fats are the ones to seek and consume liberally if you wish to put depression behind you for good.

For more details on the healthiest fats to consume and the ones you absolutely can’t do without if you want peak mental fitness, please see the article Five Fats You MUST Have in Your Kitchen.

Stop the sugar!  Save your brain .. and possibly even your life!

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources and More Information

Nora Gedgaudas, Primal Body Primal Mind, 2010 Wise Traditions Conference

Natural Remedies for Panic Attacks

Fix Childhood Anxiety with Simple Dietary Changes

Picture Credit

 

Comments (153)

  1. “If you want to adopt the wise and time tested strategy of eating properly for your brain’s sake, then you must eat the type of fats that actually comprise the make-up of the brain. Doesn’t this just make sense?”

    The above statement is flawed logic. This logical fallacy may make intuitive sense, but it doesn’t take into account the highly complicated and still poorly understood biological processes the body goes through when digesting food. It doesn’t take into account they way the body converts various nutrients and the blood brain barrier. Also Wakame is a superior source of omegas to fish, especially if you are on a weight loss diet.

    But I do agree with you about your sugar conjecture. Particular when looking to lose weight or maintain weight loss.
    Pehn\’s last post: walking

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Depression: | The Healthy Mama Bear

  3. Fran Shipp via Facebook June 2, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Think of this cycle: The depressed turns to alcohol. The alcohol turns to sugar once consumed…the depressed drinks…becomes suicidal…drinks himself into a stupor for years and years..on a mission of self-loathing…and death comes.

    Reply
  4. Sarah Lynn via Facebook June 2, 2014 at 2:21 am

    sugar robs the body of nutrients and puts the body in a stressed and inflamed state so the depression would not surprise me

    Reply
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  7. Pingback: Sugar and Depression | Mind.Speak.Revolution.

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  9. So after reading all these comments, it’s safe to say I don’t know what the hell we’re supposed to eat for depression and anxiety. Half of the people are advocating for high fat, low carb and the other half are saying that approach will make you worse and that you need to be regularly munching on potatoes and whole grains. I don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    • It IS frustrating. There is so much information floating around, and it always says the opposite of whatever news headline came out the week before. :(
      I guess trial and error really is the best way. For instance, I find it interesting that when I had a huge bowl of mac and cheese at Rogue Brewery in Portland last week, not only did my blood sugar plummet, and I sat glum, tired, and very un-talkative in the passenger seat all the way back home to Seattle….but I was craving ice cream allllll evening long. Like..I had barely gotten home and said hello to my husband before I was putting my coat and shoes back on to go get some. I shouldn’t have been hungry later that night (I’m a small person), but I was.
      These two things helped me: Reading “Wheat Belly” in order to learn the actual science behind all those stupid “news headlines” and reading REAL people’s testimonies on Mark’s Daily Apple.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

      Reply
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  11. Thank you for sharing this! Ironic that I am reading it on Day 1 of No Sugar. I gave up wheat last summer, and decided this weekend to eat the rest of the ice cream and flourless cake in the house and start a “no sugar” thing today. Tried in the past and failed. This time…I am ready. And this article is definitely helping. :)

    Reply
  12. Bea Wong via Facebook March 3, 2013 at 4:00 am

    My two noteworthy takeaways from Sarah’s article:
    1. Imbalanced, unstable, surging blood sugar is a common source of depression as well as simple irritability and violent tendencies according to Ms. Gedguadas, a board certified Nutritional Therapist and Clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.
    2. If you want to adopt the wise and time-tested strategy of eating properly for your brain’s sake, then you must eat the type of fats that actually comprise the make-up of the brain. Doesn’t this just make sense?

    Reply
  13. Shannon Rice via Facebook March 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    What about using coconut sugar? I’d like to switch to this in my 1 morning cup of coffee, just to cut out a little more sugar I consume.

    Reply
  14. I agree about it not being the only factor in depression–but for what I’m suffering with, my diet has played a ‘key’ role in how I have so many issues–add to that antibiotics use, being a slow detoxer, many situations/outside factors–but the biggest??–MERCURY poisoning from my silver fillings!!!, which now to try and fix the issue, I need to wean off all sugars and grains…..it’s amazing how many toxins they are bombarding us with throwing off our health!

    Reply
  15. Cyn Bates via Facebook March 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Heavens. That is some picture you got there. Though she may look like the poster child for sugar and depression, I don’t think sugar is her only problem. Poor lady probably doesn’t even know her picture is circulating on the internet.

    Reply
  16. @Kim Needy… I don’t think she was trying to state that sugar is the reason for depression. You are looking at it the wrong way. What she is saying is that it can and will aid in major malfunction in the brain. It would make no sense for the “Healthy Home Economist” to write about psychology, life experiences, etc… now wouldn’t it? Plus articles should not be vague and all over the place. Would be to long and you lose people’s interest that way – that is what reports are for….. Articles are meant to be to the point about one main topice only and the main topic here is how sugar is linked to depression not depression.

    Reply
  17. Loryjean Pratt via Facebook March 2, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I think we can safely postulate that a healthy brain would react better to difficult situations. Perspective and the ability to cope would probably be better.

    Reply
  18. Ok, let me try to remove part of my foot, if it’s not too late. Having dealt with severe depression with psychotic episodes since forever. Properly diagnosised in 2001. Ton of meds, ton of therapy, tons of research and yes, lifestyle changes including exercise, diet and removing sugar-I personally don’t see how articles can be so “simply” defined. I am just afraid the wrong person can get ahold of this article and think “Thank God- This is my answer!!!” when in reality there is not a one factor “cure” for depression. I truly believe it is a life long process for depression that lasts “longer than normal” depression. I do believe in this article for people who understands that “depression” isn’t a blanket diagnosis!

    Reply
  19. It’s interesting how differently it affects us…I eat very little sugar and am gluten-free…but I’ve been depressed most of my life, sometimes worse than others. My husband is a sugarholic and that is the perfect word for it…he’s addicted and when he doesn’t have sugar he’s a bear. He shows classic signs of withdrawl when he hasn’t had sugar…he’s tired and VERY cranky. He just had an appointment with a naturopath and she told him is he wants to get rid of some issues he’s been having, he has to get off sugar…and I’m glad to say he went cold turkey that day and has done pretty stinkin’ well! :)

    Reply
  20. Kari Carlin Aist via Facebook March 2, 2013 at 10:36 am

    This is me–well, it absolutely represents me. I woke up this morning and told my husband that I need to get my diet back to where I know it should be, which means cutting out sugars and starches and getting back to the GAPS-like diet that has helped me physically and mentally/emotionally. It’s a matter of life and death, as far as I am concerned.

    Depression and Alzheimers run in my family, so this really, REALLY hit home–it’s so serendipitous that I read this today, to bolster my resolve. Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  21. Heather Smith via Facebook March 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I made the mistake of having just a few pieces of a candy I used to enjoy when I was young. The next few days were a nightmare! I’ve never been more agitated, angry, and miserable. It had been years since I’ve done such a thing, since I tend to stick to fresh fruit or a couple of squares of dark chocolate. I learned my lesson… the hard way.

    Reply
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  24. I had depression in response to a tough life situation, and eventually resorted to taking St
    John’s wort for about two years. I know it was working because I accidentally and blindly took half the usual dose for a couple weeks and was miserable until I figured it out. I have recently been able to wean myself off of it, after brewing and drinking kefir and kombucha in really large quantities. I craved as much as I could drink for nearly a month, and then settled into a more normal consumption. I know it’s only an anecdote, but I am thoroughly convinced of the gut-brain connection now! It’s so nice to have my normal, cheery self back, after so long without.

    Reply
  25. Thank you for confirming what I have known for some time! Sugar and I are not friends, that’s for sure. I do want to offer encouragement to any vegetarians reading this, though; I have been a vegetarian for 27 years (just never liked the taste of meat), and also have to avoid dairy and eggs because of allergies. I find, though, that as long as I am being mindful about eating plenty of protein (nuts, legumes, quinoa, etc.) and healthy fats, a bit of sugar here and there (usually in the form of a bar of dark chocolate!) doesn’t turn me into a raging beast or a paralyzed depressive.

    Reply
  26. Pingback: 4 Weeks Of Frugal Fitness: 6 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier On A Budget!

  27. Pingback: 4 Everyday Hidden Sources of Depression | Duct Tape and Bubblegum

  28. I started eating a moderate carb, low lectin paleo diet about 2 years ago for treatment of severe arthritis. It worked beautifully for the arthritis and for weight loss. However, about 3 months ago I developed a severe depression and anxiety disorder.

    I followed all the natural nutritional advice trying to treat my depression. I tried on the precursor treatments as well. But nothing was helping. I ended up needing a combination of Sam-E, GLA,, and a low dose of Zoloft to begin to heal. I still have a long, long way to go to get back to normal, but at least now the agony is reduced to a manageable level.

    I am sharing this because I am a HUGE believer is using nutrition to stay healthy. But whatever happened to me, happened after 2 years of eating nutrient dense fantastic food. I resisted anti-depressants until I exhausted every natural treatment I could find. But I just could not take the pain any more. So I hope people with bad depression will stay open to all their options.

    Reply
      • As someone who suffers from panic disorder and depression, and also eats plenty of pastured eggs fried in grass-fed butter, your response is far too simplistic. Do what you have to do Jill! Be well!

        Reply
  29. Pingback: Depression: Your Brain on Sugar « we must know

  30. I would love to read this article, but with all of the background ads running all at the same time and no way to even find some of them to stop them, it bogs my computer down. Understand you need to make money, but this is a bit ridiculous.

    Reply
  31. JerryandJina Ezell via Facebook November 5, 2012 at 2:31 am

    What do ya’ll do with people who seem “stuck” and giving way to pain by saying this is so different than drugs? As I see it food is an easier “drug” to mask our symptom. Getting our society to rid their bodies of the white stuff is as difficult as getting cocaine and meth out of the streets…harder still.

    Reply
  32. This only proves that energy drinks which we all know rich in sugar are one of reasons why people experiencing depression on to their day to day lives, same with the sweets like chocolates, candies. Even we know that they can replenish stamina temporarily and some ways, though the side effects are really life threatening It seems.

    Reply
  33. Please tell me HOW you put this much fat into your diet??? I thought that I was but we still struggle with things that must mean that we don’t…
    Normally every morning eggs with coconut oil, sausage and toast w/ butter.
    Juices (with the vita mix) with coconut oil and olive oil
    yogurt
    nuts
    lunch some veggies/protein/starch and a Tbls of butter and dinner the same. Are you eating more then this? if so, what do you put it in???
    I don’t suffer from depression but from blood sugar issues that have taken over my life.

    Reply
  34. Pingback: 5 Natural Remedies For Depression « The Mommypotamus

  35. I do agree that a healthy diet is best for optimal health. Most mental health experts will tell you the same thing these days. What I don’t agree with is the assumption that everyone just needs to eat a little more healthy fats and all will be well. Since my pregnancy and the ensuing years of early childhood, I have been hospitalized four times for suicide watch. I also am occasionally plagued with irrational thoughts and have consequently been diagnosed as major depression with psychotic features. The main reason behind all four hospitalizations was that I was not medicated. I kept trying to come off the drugs and do it on my own. The prevalent attitude about anti-depressants especially among health-conscious individuals is very dismissive and adds extra weight to the burden of social stigmatization that is often attached to matters of mental health.

    I would like to see more advocates of holistic wellness take into consideration that there is no one-size-fits-all panacea for mental or physical health. Some people reading articles such as this might be inspired to act independently, to do away with the medication against their doctor’s orders and without supervision and end up back in the psych ward or worse, on a mortuary slab.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more, Changeling. There is no one-size-fit-all. I have been battling chronic depression since my teens with two stints in hospital due to it. I never followed anything remotely resembling the SAD recommendations especially saturated fat restrictions. Despite having always avoided processed foods and restricted my intake of sugars, after reading the glowing improvements some achieve following a primal eating pattern, I made a few tweaks. Due to various health issues I am conscientious about what I eat. After more than four years eating this way I STILL need to take antidepressants to function. While genetics/epigenetics may not be everything nor is diet.

      Reply
  36. I’d like to add one more book to the mix that supports nutrition and depression. It’s a book I got recently and just finished it. It’s “Rebuild from Depression – A Nutrient Guide” by Amanda Rose PhD. This talks a lot about post-partum depression and on into other types. It’s an excellent with good explanation about nutrients you need to take and especially eat. Her website is http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com. Amanda’s mom has a great website where she teaches and talks about healthy eating…it’s http://www.traditional-foods.com Have a look and hope you enjoy browsing around these sites and I really encourage you to get the book to read. It’s definitely a keeper if you deal with depression!

    Mary

    Reply
  37. Pingback: Natural Help for Depression–A Physical & Spiritual Illness - Healthy Families for God

  38. Thanks, Sarah, for the information on sugar, as well as fats, which I find really supports the logic of how my family and I have been eating. One thing though. Could you please give me some reassurance that Kombucha is OK with all that sugar in it?!? We drink it a lot, as we follow your advice and that of the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook. I perhaps haven’t looked in the right place, but is there scientific evidence that you are aware of that truly supports the idea that the sugar is consumed or converted to a healthy substance in the fermentation process? Thanks again for all you do.

    Reply
  39. I suffered SEVERELY with major depression, for many years. I am a Christian, and quite devout in my faith. I don’t want to sound unkind, but in my experience, telling people with depression to “just pray” or anything of that nature, just depresses a depressed person even more. When a person is in the throes of depression, they do NOT believe they are loved–by God, or anyone. They feel abandoned. But (at least in my case) in the back of their minds they KNOW they want and need God. And that upsets the depressed person even more! It’s a horrible situation to be in, and it seems that there is no way out. Jesus CAN heal, but most often, that is not the case. Best advice I have is to say, if anything at ALL, that you will pray for them–then hand them something practical that they can use! Offer to look into nutritional healing. Offer to make a healthy meal for them. Tell them about testing for the nutrients they might be missing so that they can heal. BRING them to a natritionally oriented physician (they will not go on their own). I love Jesus, but to say, or imply, that a depressed person just isn’t living their faith is condescending and insulting, and shows that the person saying that really has no clue about this problem. Just an FYI for anyone who needs it. Not referring to any specific posts here.

    Reply
    • This makes a lot of sense. I am suffering from depression now and have been since my son was born 5 months ago. I also find I am often left searching for words that should come easily in conversation. Plus some arthritis has come on (stiff and painful joints all over) that I never used to have. With all that going on I often get “What are you doing to attract this to yourself? Everything happens by law of attraction so you’re bringing on these problems, just think yourself out of it and be positive!” OK that is like telling someone they aren’t connected enough to their faith or they would be healthy (so far no one has questioned my faith). It’s not helping my state of mind or body, just makes me feel guilty. So I totally agree with you Marilyn. And…I have been eating more baked goods and fruits during this time than before I got pregnant. Sarah, I will reduce the sugars/grains and bring on the fats and see what happens!

      Reply
    • Isn’t that the truth! The two times I’ve suffered from mental disorders I was encouraged to pray more. The first time I was severely depressed and contemplating suicide. It wasn’t until someone suggested stopping my birth control pills that the depression went away (almost immediately I felt normal again!) The next time, the OCD I had suffered from my whole life escalated and I couldn’t leave my house. As strong as my faith and love for God is, praying until I was drained didn’t help. It wasn’t until I turned my back on my low-fat vegan diet and added coconut oil, raw dairy, pastured butter, eggs and meat back into my diet (and eliminated gluten) that the OCD was overcome. Why do Christians forget we are body, mind and spirit???

      Reply
  40. Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    All the testimonial comments with this post are fantastic … anyone reading this who is struggling with depression is hopefully very motivated by all of the personal stories of depression and recovery by incorporating Traditional Fats liberally into the diet which crowds out those mind numbing sugars/refined carbs which are stealing so many people’s lives unnecessarily.
    Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Depression: Your Brain on Sugar

    Reply
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  42. A few years ago, after coming to terms with the signs that I was losing a twenty year battle with depression, I went on medication. I had never taken any meds for depression. Once the honeymoon of not wanting to hang myself every few months wore off, it was glaringly clear that there are alot of side effects to antidpressants. But, the side effects out weighted the ailment, that’s what I was resigned to believing, anyhow. Fast forward to a little over a year ago when I incorporated a paleo/primal lifestyle into mine and my family’s life, I’ve been off the meds for close to a year, with far better results than when on them (we had a very SAD household).
    As a teenager and young adult I battled an eating disorder, which if I did eat, was high carb and barely any fat. Remembering the cycles of crazy up and down depressions and the nightmares that my body went through makes me so grateful to have found a solution!
    High carb + low fat= mental illness. No joke!!

    Reply
  43. I met a wonderfully, interesting woman recently who is a lawyer and is very adament about her observations concerning her son’s diet. He has autism and celiac. By her own investigation, she has come to an almost completely traditional diet like WAPF and states unequivocally that when her son sticks to his diet, there are hardly ANY problems. When he doesn’t…different child. I told her about this website and she is excited to find some like-minded folks who also have “seen” it for themselves!! Thanks Sarah!

    Reply
  44. Jennifer Bergerman via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    My grandma died of Alzheimer’s 3 months ago and I believe she was a healthy woman til her doctors started telling her she had to lower salt and fat and cholesterol. Prior to this, she used butter, evoo, lard, salt, eggs.

    Reply
  45. Sarah, what a wonderful post! My husband and I started our family on traditional foods only several years ago, but we kept in a lot of natural sugar: mainly raw honey and real maple syrup–as well as lots and lots of fruit. We got healthier, but over this past spring and summer, I had a really long lasting bout of depression.

    Somewhere in there, I decided to cut out the carbs and guess what? Out went the depression. I was literally bouncing with energy, even through difficult times. And even though he hadn’t felt specifically depressed before, my husband also saw dramatic improvement in mental state.

    When people question why we eat so weird–weird as in lots of quality saturated fat, pastured meat, and homegrown low-carb veggies, but leaveing off (or seriously restricting) things other people feel are healthy like whole grains, potatos, and fruits–we always talk about the other health benefits, but my husband sums it up best when he says, “AND…” (It’s always a dramatic AND) “It’s almost impossible to be depressed eating this way. You just can’t stay depressed eating low carb.”
    Sarah\’s last post: Food, Fertility, Heartache, and Hope

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  46. Jennifer Bergerman via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I have Jesus guys, but the truth is if I’m not taking care of the body He gave me by quitting sugar and including good fats….my health will still suffer, including my mental health.

    Reply
    • Also an important point! Honner the marvelous gift from G-d that is your body! It is your temple. Trash your temple, your safe haven, what do you have left?

      Reply
    • Jennifer, you’re right. Christians get depressed, and it doesn’t mean they don’t have an active faith. Depression is a physical illness sometimes caused by emotional stimulus. I fully believe that faith is of utmost importance but like you said, we’ve been given the gift of our body, we need to take care of it. For some reason, with all of its judging, christianity doesn’t seem to have a problem with people trashing their bodies.
      God has given us many weapons in this war against depression. Using them does not make us faithless, it makes us wise.
      Diet and exercise are two of the most effective of the many weapons against depression. God designed our bodies and he knows that we need healthy diets and moderate exercise. “Having Jesus” should make us want to operated in compliance with how we were designed.
      Beth Cranford\’s last post: New About Page

      Reply
  47. http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/fats.html neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s appear to exhibit membrane loss of fatty acids. “Thus it may be that an optimal diet with a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may help to delay their onset or reduce the insult to brain functions which these diseases elicit.” A woman I took care of in the nursing home was thought to have alzheimers, and when they did an autopsy, they found that it was her low to no fat diet for DECADES that cause her disease, she barely had any ridges or crevices.

    Reply
  48. Wonderful article Sarah! My daughter (now 6), had extreme behavioral problems. Once we eliminated the sugar and processed food from her diet, she became a different child. Her anxiety is gone, angry gone, aggressive behavior gone. She loves eggs, bacon (from a good source of course), grass fed butter and coconut oil. Eliminating sugar and processed grains has been the best thing my family has done! Thanks for the great article!

    Reply
  49. I think the major problem is people do not realize we are all connected…including to the earth and other living things…if they realized that how could you lie cheat and deceive someone as you are really doing it to yourself…AND….in the karmic response is a major one!

    Reply
  50. Becki Miller via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    watched “Food Matters” last night. A great documentary. In it they said 2 handfuls of cashews provided the same “chemical” as the active ingredient in Prozac. hmmmm….Seems a lot easier and safer!

    Reply
  51. Holly Michele King via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Feed your brain by eating REAL butter. As in Kerrygold irish butter! Best on earth. It’s got all the fat and is a deep yellow color due to the high level of beta carotene the cows consume on the open irish pastures. Go, Kerrygold, go! ~<3~

    Reply
  52. Terri Smith Highfill via Facebook February 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    A few other contributing factors are: the absence of God in peoplle’s lives (and in our government/FDA, etc), the self-serving philosophy that is so prevalent instead of doing for others, and yes, the food and drugs people ingest. Our country is just out of whack all the way around. Sad, sad.

    Reply
  53. I remember reading that Dylan Klebold’s parent (columbine) had a small fridge in his room that they kept stocked with candy bars and sodas for him and his freinds. That couldn’t have helped his mental stability in any way.

    Reply
  54. Wow, you must have a webcam into my house this week or something. LOL I have been crying since sometime yesterday. When I get sad, I crave carbs and sugar, taking in almost no protein or fats. Well, some fats, but NOT the good kind. So I end up on this cycle of sad=sugar=sad. I need to eat right no matter my mood, because food can make things so much worse. Now if I could just get all the junk out of my house so myself and my kids wouldn’t be tempted…
    Shellie\’s last post: Sickies

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  55. I’m curious if you know whether or not magnesium depletion is caused by surges in blood glucose or the subsequent insulin dump. My husband is insulin resistant and overweight…has been for many years. He also suffered from asthma since childhood. I say suffered because once we started supplementing with magnesium, his asthma symptoms are gone. Just curious if his blood insulin issues might be the cause. We are currently grain and sugar free and he is slowly improving and no longer has hypoglycemic episodes. Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  56. 18 years on anti depressants. With fish oil, good foods and a faithful husband I was able to come off. 6 months before the HORRID side effects wore off. Still angry and depressed, I finally found a UK study about this. Came off ALL sugars including grains, honey, everything. After sooooo long struggling with depression, I am finally a new woman- me! It’s only been 3 months now but I will never go back. Thx for this article- we have to get the word out! Food not pharma is the answer!

    Reply
  57. Awhile back, my husband had a hard time with depression and was put on anti-depressant drugs. He was irritable and moody while he was on them and it didn’t help his depression as much as he wanted. After we read that one of the side effects of anti depressants was a higher likelihood of suicide, he got off of them. His doctor had to help him slowly transition off, though. The longer you’ve taken anti-depressants, the slower you need to come off. Health Practitioners can (and should be able to help with that). Coming off of anti-depressants can have side effects, as well.

    To help his depression, my husband got out on his road bike more. We lived in Monterey, along the Pacific Coast, so it helped him to go on long rides on the coastal highway.

    I have a family history of depression and of sugar addiction (when, you look at brain scans in relation to how addictions are affecting the brain, a sugar addiction affects the brain similarly to the way cocaine affects the brain), I have wrecked my health and am working hard to restore it. Eating more healthy fats this week has helped and I haven’t had any cravings for sugary or high-carb foods. :) So… eating more healthy fat really does work in combating sugar cravings. Bring on the butter!
    Beth Stowers\’s last post: Get Your Glow Back: Part 1 (The Fundementals of Healing the Body)

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  58. This is so true. We know a young man who was a vegetarian, eating mainly processed carbs and lots of sugar while avoiding fat like the plague. By the time he reached nineteen, he was losing his short term memory, and suffering from periodic depression, though he had a loving family, great girlfriend, and many friends.

    The doctors, said it was depression, and sent him to a Psychiatrist, who put him on anti depressant drugs. Things improved a bit for two weeks, then got much worse, with a lot of suicidal thoughts. In desperation, his family went to an alternate physician, who took him off all sugar and grains, and put him on a diet containing plenty of natural animal fats, and grassfed meat, and took him off the drugs. Within two weeks, every trace of depression was gone, and his short term memory returned. He has been fine for six months, and there is no indication that the depression will ever be a problem again, as long as he stays on this diet.

    It was that simple.
    Stanley Fishman\’s last post: The Traditional Highland Diet Continued

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  59. I have noticed the connection of sugar interrupting with my children’s ability to do school work! We home school and there are no longer any sugar things before we are done for the day!! Things turn very difficult if we have. It is an amazing thing to watch the children transform before my eyes, and a little scary.

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  60. It still shocks me that the conventional mental health field isn’t aware of this basic fact! They still act as if mental illness and diet have nothing to do with eachother. Along with the fact that most the neurotransmitters involved in mental health are made in the gut so it would only make sense that if your gut is damaged then you can’t make these vital transmitters.
    Kelli\’s last post: Stocking Up On Grass-Fed Meat In Tax Month

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      • Just like the people running this site is not interested in making money?
        Just like there is no money in endorsing this type of solution?

        Reply
        • Oh they are interested in making money, but they seem to draw the line when it comes to killing people or permanently disabeling them. Unlike pharmecutical companies who is more then willing to shove a diet pill that will eat a hole in your heart. Remember ephedrine in its natural form. Stacked with caffeine was the best weight loss product on the market. Expecially when zenadrine came along with its pharmacutical grade stack. Let one retard baseball player eat a handfull and die and they baned all sales of it in the US. But you could still by phen-phen which wasnt nearly as effective and killed or mutilated the hearts of thousands. Somebody got paid to sell out your health but it wasnt sites like this one.

          Reply
  61. How do you get off of being on prozac for 19 yrs? DH tried removing them slowly by weaning but had a terrible episode of depression when confronted with stress at work. any recommendations? He will be seeing a wapf naturopath next week to help him this time around. His mother was a type 1 diabetic so maybe sugar is indeed the issue. Thanks for the timely article.

    Reply
    • K check out http://www.theroadback.org/ for your husband. It has tons of information. and of course products they want you to buy to help and after 19 yrs he may need some but it has a lot of other information too. I was finally able to wean myself off my antidepressants after being on them for 10 years.
      Hope it goes well.

      Reply
  62. I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of eating said fats in eliminating depression. I used to take antidepressants and was practically unable to function (I was on a low-fat diet at the time). I now take no medication, and eat liberally (VERY liberally!) of foods like butter, ghee, cream, and egg yolks. Having tried every other dietary method, I can safely say that eating lots of saturated fat and cholesterol has changed my life!

    Reply
  63. Re: sugar, Dr. Robert Lustig made national news the other day …

    UCSF scientists declare war on sugar in food

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/01/BA891N1PQS.DTL

    “Like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is a toxic, addictive substance that should be highly regulated with taxes, laws on where and to whom it can be advertised, and even age-restricted sales, says a team of UCSF scientists.

    In a paper published in Nature on Wednesday, they argue that increased global consumption of sugar is primarily responsible for a whole range of chronic diseases that are reaching epidemic levels around the world.”

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Reply
    • I must say, I disagree with his stance on how to deal with sugar. Look at what happened with alcohol during prohibition. Or the high tax rates on cigarettes. Some people will starve themselves to pay for their smoking habit. The answer is personal choice which comes through education. Hi, my name is Lisa. And I am not only a carbivore, I am seriously addicted to Mt. Dew. It is very much like a drug addiction to me. I have tried weaning off and going cold turkey. Neither has worked. And yes, depression is a problem for me right now. However, since learning about the WAP lifestyle and reading this article, I am more hopeful than ever that relief is around the corner. Blessings.

      Reply
  64. Another amazing blog today Sarah! For the past 6 months as I have been transitioning from the SAD diet to a tradtional WAP based way of eating, I too notice that when I eat too much sugar or grain that was not correctly prepared, I get irritable and moody. I never made the connection before, but it is amazing how true this article is as I personally can attest to the behaviors in myself as mentioned above.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      My kids ALWAYS know when I’ve had a sugar treat. They say “MOM, what DID you eat?” Depression and anxiety are rampant in my family and I know that to stay healthy and not experience what others in may family have, I must maintain stable blood sugar as much as possible. I have no doubt that if I did not eat as I do which focuses on the Traditional Fats that I would probably have some issues with depression myself as my Mother did at my age.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Depression: Your Brain on Sugar

      Reply
        • Manic depression runs on my mother’s side, my grandmother was on lithium for 30+ years. I always felt as a teenager there had to be more to depression than just bad luck in genetic makeup. I watch my grandmother suffer from this ailment and it made me sad, she was a wonderful lady and so much fun to be around when she was having a good day. But she could also be the meanest, hurtful person when you caught her at the wrong time. It makes me sad to think simple diet could of changed her life. Even with the load of drugs she was on she lived to be 84, mind functioning pretty well and about 50% on her physical health, she was obese which caused her some issues of movement, but she still got around unassisted. However, I have always felt she would of lived to be 100 had her diet been different, had she not been on more pills than you could count. Plus many times her lithium would reach toxic levels in her body and the Dr. would have to take her off it to let her body level back out, that was a red flag to me. She would become very “down” when this happened and the look on her face was sad and empty, I hated to see her that way. I wished I would of know this info a decade ago and maybe I could of helped her.

          My mom has been scared to death that she would end up like her mom, and I have worried in the back of my mind that I would suffer from the same aliment. Now I know that I can control it with diet which makes me feel better! I have always told my mom that depression can’t just be something that we have no control over, I have always felt that there must be some way to combat it naturally. Thanks for sharing, I’ll be sure to share with my mom who I have already been educating on a traditional diet and she is slowly making the switch, yay!

          Reply
    • Alea,

      If you would like to see some scientific evidence about sugar & depression, get the book “Potatoes, not Prozac” by Kathleen DesMaisons. She’s written a few other books, including “The Sugar Addict’s Recovery Program”. I recently devoured both books and with all the other research I’m doing, I know this is me through and through. She also has a wonderful website, http://www.radiantrecovery.com She has a lot of explanations for things that go hand in hand with a lot that has been said here, both in Sarah’s article and some of the comments.

      I know in my heart that the only way for me to totally heal is to follow both programs, the one laid out by Dr. DesMaisons and going back to eating Whole Foods. And, like so many others here, I’d love to get off the antidepressants, once and for all, and am NOT looking forward to the withdrawal process….been there and done that!

      Mary

      Reply
      • I agree wholeheartedly with Mary. Potatoes Not Prozac changed my life. The radiantrecovery website is easy to access and understand. William Dufty’s book, Sugar Blues, is also very informative. It’s at least encouraging that there is more public information about the part hormone balance plays in optimum health. It would be nice if Western medicine would approach health care from a wholistic place instead of symptom treating. Everyone has a unique blood chemistry – even identical twins share differences. What works for one person, may not for another, so I recommend finding a physician that will take the time and energy to develop a health care regiment that is designed for you specifically. Sweeping generalizations can do more harm than good. You and your blood chemistry are unique. So should your plan for optimum health be.

        Reply
      • These are great books, and they have helped me a lot over the years. Be forewarned if you get involved in the Radiant Recovery community, though. Kathleen DesMaisons can be a very mean person, unless she’s changed over the last few years.

        Reply

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