Ask Me Anything About Healthy Eating, Keto, and Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

There’s a clear relationship between our mental health and our physical health. And though an apple a day may not keep the doctor away, having a healthy diet is scientifically proven to help manage many health conditions.

The ketogenic diet, in particular, can be a treatment for epilepsy and may even positively impact metabolic abnormalities found in people with mental health disorders.

So how do we know what’s best for our mental health based on what we’re eating? Are some diets better for certain conditions than others? And how do we know what’s impacting our minds—and bodies?

Audience Questions

In this session, Dr. Christopher Palmer shares discoveries about the ketogenic diet and healthy eating habits, discusses its use to maintain certain mental health conditions, explains myths and misunderstandings, and answers audience questions.

  • Can you talk a little about the connection between our brain and our stomach and how that can impact our mental health?
  • Can you dive deeper into what the keto diet is specifically? Is this different than Atkins? How so?
  • If someone is doing the keto diet, do you know what level of ketones they would need specifically if they’re aiming for better mental health?
  • There’s a ton of information on keto, Atkins, Paleo, Whole30, and more out there. How far do we go on these diets, and how sustainable are they in the long term? How do people fare on these diets if they’re attempting to make this into a permanent lifestyle?
  • Are food logs a way to be successful with trying to see if a diet is working for you?
  • Can you address how to deal with dietary modifications, like adopting the keto diet, for individuals with an eating disorder and other mental health disorders?
  • Could you address dietary recommendations for patients with bipolar disorder? What about patients who have both bipolar disorder and OCD?
  • Are there foods that can improve serotonin production? How does serotonin help us physically and mentally?
  • Are there specific foods that help with major depressive disorder?
  • Since the pandemic and loss of so many social connections, I have gained over 10 pounds while working remotely. I find that food is the only comfort in my life now. How can I redirect my anxiousness away from food?
  • Can you tell us more about the benefits of vitamins and probiotics in our diet for mental wellness? Does vitamin D affect our mental health? At what point does our diet not suffice, and we may need to include a supplement?
  • If a diet worked really well for me, how can I inspire friends and loved ones to commit to change and feel the powerful effects of a better lifestyle?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Palmer

For over 20 years, Christopher M. Palmer, MD, has focused his clinical work on treatment-resistant cases, and recently he has been pioneering the use of the ketogenic diet in psychiatry, especially treatment-resistant cases of mood and psychotic disorders. He is currently the director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Learn more about Dr. Palmer.

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