Food vs. Medication
These outcomes are truly remarkable: improvement by dozens of points on the PANSS, significant weight loss, and better quality of life. There simply is no psychiatric medication available with the power to accomplish those results. I have certainly seen antipsychotic medications help people with bipolar and psychotic symptoms, and sometimes help dramatically. However, all antipsychotic medications, unfortunately, come with a substantial risk of side effects that can worsen quality of life, not the least of which is weight GAIN.
All antipsychotic medications (Abilify, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, Clozapine, etc.) can contribute to high insulin levels and insulin resistance(link is external) —a hormonal shift in metabolism that makes it harder for the body to process carbohydrates. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In stark contrast, ketogenic diets have many positive side effects; they lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity, reversing signs of insulin resistance and associated conditions(link is external).
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is an ultra-low-carbohydrate diet (maximum 20 grams of carbohydrate per day) that is typically much higher in fat than other diets. This diet is designed to lower and stabilize insulin levels, allowing the body to burn fat more easily, and rely less on glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Fat is broken down into ketones, which most cells in the brain can use for energy instead of glucose. Ketones burn more cleanly and efficiently than glucose, resulting in less inflammation and oxidation throughout the brain and body.