Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Carb Appropriate Podcast. Episode 6. Featuring Phil Dowling ND, MA.

Phil Dowling is a legit OG in the nutrition and naturopathy world in New Zealand. He has been in practice for 3 decades, is a lecturer in various aspects of physiology, pathophysiology, and clinical nutrition and is, to top it all off, one of Australasia’s leading nutrition practitioners for gut-health. Cliff and Phil riff, in this cast, about gut-health, fermented foods, probiotics, prebiotics, and what many people get wrong about how to optimally improve gut-health.

This episode is brought to you by Vita Biosa.
Vita Biosa is more than just prebiotics and more than just probiotics! It’s a complete, living, active ecosystem of health-promoting herbs, cellular fuels, organic acids,  and a range of the most beneficial bacteria for the gut and overall health.
Vita Biosa is now available at Health 2000 stores and many other fine retailers!
Find stockists at
Carb-Appropriate Podcast listeners can get 20% off Vita Biosa by going to:

or by using the code CABIOSA at

If you like these articles, check out my Patreon page, where you can donate as little as $1 per month to help support nutrition research and receive exclusive member-only benefits. 

Become a Patron!

Friday, February 01, 2019

What Effect Do Diet and Nutrition Have on Mood?

Nutrition, Diet, and Mood

We all know intuitively and from practical experience, that diet affects mood. But there is surprisingly little research on something that on the face of it seems so clear.

What does the science say about nutrition and mood?

Observational studies suggest that several nutrition factors are associated with mood and cognition, including omega-3 fatty acid intake and vitamin B12, and that metabolic disorders resulting from lifestyle (including diet) like atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes are associated with reduced mood and increased rates of depression. (1)
Overall diet ‘quality’ is strongly associated with depression scores, (2) and diets of poor nutritional quality (i.e. high intakes of refined foods and low intakes of vegetables, fruits, and other unrefined foods) result in higher rates of mood disturbance. (3) In particular, vegetables, fruits, fat (especially saturated fat), and dietary variety, total water, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, and selenium intake are associated with higher mood, (4) as are diets higher in potassium and magnesium (which are often a ‘proxy’ for unrefined diets with higher vegetable intake). (5)
A recent systematic review concluded that DASH, vegetable-based, low-glycaemic index diets, and Ketogenic and Paleo diets could improve mood more than other diet types. (6)
There are, however, few randomised, controlled studies on the effects of dietary change and nutrition on mood. In one such study, a nutrient-dense Mediterranean diet was compared to habitual diets in young women. The dietary intervention resulted in significant improvements in vigour, alertness, and contentment. (7) Similar improvements were observed in a 10-day crossover trial of a Mediterranean diet in women, (8) and improved mood and depression resulted from an 8-week Mediterranean diet including dairy. (9) vigour and fatigue were also improved in a 10-day ad libitum vegan diet delivered to 16 non-vegetarians. (10)
In a comparison study of a low-fat diet and a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, mood was improved similarly between groups but symptoms of negative affect and hunger improved to a greater degree in patients following the ketogenic diet. (11) No significant difference in mood was found between those following a 3-day high-carbohydrate diet or a low-carbohydrate diet following an exhaustive glycogen depletion exercise protocol. (12) In another calorie restricted study comparing a low-carbohydrate and low-fat intervention, overall mood, depression, and anxiety scores were improved markedly by both diets at week-8 but over twelve-months, the low-carbohydrate group had worse depression, mood, and anxiety scores than the low-fat group but these were still improved compared to baseline. (13) Interestingly, a very-low-calorie diet of 400 kcal per day, rising to 1200 kcal per day compared to a standard calorie-reduced diet of 1200 kcal, both groups improved mood similarly. (14) While in another low-calorie diet study, a slight reduction in depression scores was observed. (15)


Overall, practically any change in diet and particularly any change to a diet that is of better overall quality, with greater intakes of unrefined (natural, whole, less-processed foods) improves mood, irrespective of the diet and any differences between individual diets are small.

If you like these articles, check out my Patreon page, where you can donate as little as $1 per month to help support nutrition research and receive exclusive member-only benefits.
Become a Patron!


1. Rogers PJ. A healthy body, a healthy mind: long-term impact of diet on mood and cognitive function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2001;60(1):135-43.
2. Kremer PJ, Leslie ER, Berk M, Patton GC, Toumbourou JW, Williams JW. Associations between diet quality and depressed mood in adolescents: results from the Australian Healthy Neighbourhoods Study AU - Jacka, Felice N. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2010;44(5):435-42.
3. Quehl R, Haines J, Lewis SP, Buchholz AC. Food and Mood: Diet Quality is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Female University Students. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 2017;78(3):124-8.
4. Zulet MA, Martinez JA. Association between mood and diet quality in subjects with metabolic syndrome participating in a behavioural weight-loss programme: A cross-sectional assessment AU - Perez-Cornago, Aurora. Nutritional neuroscience. 2015;18(3):137-44.
5. Torres SJ. The interaction of diet, obesity and mood to stress response. Deakin University; 2008.
6. Arab A, Mehrabani S, Moradi S, Amani R. The association between diet and mood: A systematic review of current literature. Psychiatry Research. 2019;271:428-37.
7. McMillan L, Owen L, Kras M, Scholey A. Behavioural effects of a 10-day Mediterranean diet. Results from a pilot study evaluating mood and cognitive performance. Appetite. 2011;56(1):143-7.
8. Lee J, Pase M, Pipingas A, Raubenheimer J, Thurgood M, Villalon L, et al. Switching to a 10-day Mediterranean-style diet improves mood and cardiovascular function in a controlled crossover study. Nutrition. 2015;31(5):647-52.
9. Davis CR, Dyer KA, Hodgson JM, Woodman RJ, Keage HAD, Murphy KJ. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with dairy foods improves mood and processing speed in an Australian sample: results from the MedDairy randomized controlled trial AU - Wade, Alexandra T. Nutritional neuroscience. 2018:1-13.
10. Olabi A, Levitsky DA, Hunter JB, Spies R, Rovers AP, Abdouni L. Food and mood: A nutritional and mood assessment of a 30-day vegan space diet. Food Quality and Preference. 2015;40:110-5.
11. McClernon FJ, Yancy Jr WS, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC. The effects of a low‐carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low‐fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self‐reported symptoms. Obesity. 2007;15(1):182-.
12. Prusaczyk WK, Dishman RK, Cureton KJ. No effects of glycogen depleting exercise and altered diet composition on mood states. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 1992;24(6):708-13.
13. Brinkworth GD, Buckley JD, Noakes M, Clifton PM, Wilson CJ. Long-term Effects of a Very Low-Carbohydrate Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood and Cognitive FunctionEffects of Diet On Mood and Cognitive Function. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2009;169(20):1873-80.
14. Wadden TA, Mason G, Foster G, Stunkard A, Prange A. Effects of a very low calorie diet on weight, thyroid hormones and mood. International journal of obesity. 1990;14(3):249-58.
15. Heller J, Edelmann RJ. Compliance with a low calorie diet for two weeks and concurrent and subsequent mood changes. Appetite. 1991;17(1):23-8.