Dumber on ketogenic diets

Guys, I don’t know if its just me but the past few weeks I have been on a ketogenic diet and while the results have been great one possible side effect concerns me. I started school 2 weeks ago and I am concerned that my brain isn’t working as well on the diet as with a normal one. I may be totally off-base but in my math classes I have trouble doing equations that were very simple for me last semester. I also miss critical thinking problems in my physics class that have never troubled me before. Maybe its just me worrying too much but could anyone help me out and either tell me that I’m just worrying too much or that I have a genuine concern. Thanks.

Join the club pal, I had to wait until summer to start my keto diet, calculus, physics, and organic II were impossible.

I’ve noted an increase in mental lucidity since embarking on a low-carb diet, but I don’t carb-up which might make a large difference. I’ve also noted that my energy in the gym has increased as compared to dieting with carb-ups (the same level of energy I had when I ate carbs). I think that carb-ups are counter productive, but it does make the first few weeks very tough.

I’m a student as well. The lack of carbs always get my ass retarded. Try powerdrive and 200mg of caffeine before school and homework. If this doesn’t work, quit the diet or make bad grades. Good luck bro.

Nearly everyone I talk to has the same problem. The brain likes glucose for energy. No carbs…altered brain function. There are several other reasons for this phenomenon too (neurotransmitter alterations as well). Because of the “stupefying effects” (lack of concentration, mental dullness and fuzzyness, irratibility) I have always done my low carb diet phases for 1 month at a time and always waited till the summer to do them.

Fellas, just wanted to drop in and leave a thought. I’ve never gone ketogenic myself, so I’m not speaking from experience or anything. However, I do know that the brain can only use glucose as a source of fuel. So without any or very little carbs, things might not be going quite normal. I don’t know if “carb-ups” would help this problem, but I was under the impression that ketones could be utilized by the brain.

Greetings all! Yep that’s one of the downside of a keto diet…especially during initial adapation to ketone metabolism. There’s even a study to that effect…Wing RR, et. al. “Cognitive effects of ketogenic weight-reducing diets.” Int J Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 19(11): 811-6, 1995. Lest you like seeing your grades go down faster than Monica Brant in the average T-man’s fantasy, I’d suggest getting some carbs in your diet…consider 40, 30, 30 Protein, fat, carbs or pehaps iso-cal.

This is where supps like Powerdrive or Brain Lightning (which I don’t particularly care for because it has GABA, which is a regulatory, or “slowing down” neuro, in it) comes in to play. I think these are ideal for low carb diets (they’re carb free too!) Your brain needs carbs to produce certain neurotransmitters, but Powerdrive and others give you those neuros without the need to rely on carbies.

I sleep 3-4.5 hours a night while working full time and going to school full time. Since you are on such low carbs you might want to try 2-3 grams of acetyl L-carnitine each morning. I also use a product from Life Extension called “Cognitex.” I have more energy than most people who sleep eight hours. What is good about these products is you don’t crash like drinking coffee or using other stimulants. I also think they will help you with your dieting. Best of luck with your studies.

Just wanted to “scientifically” confirm this post.

As many of you know, I am a keto fan, however, I have had to rethink my usual diet strategy with the GRE coming up.

After collecting nutritional, metabolic, and score data on my GRE/SAT practice math tests, I have found a significant correlation between keto (# of carbs) and test performance. The higher the carbs, the better the score. There seems to be a certain cut off at about 200g of carbs, depending on resistance/cardio work. I have also found that this correlation is mediated by time in ketosis . The transition from a refeed, or carb-based utlization, to a ketogenic based metabolism is the key area. This is when you have the mental fuzziness and lethargy.

The correlation was signifcant at the .01 level, although the sample size and randomization was not the greatest (case study). Crossover effects will be looked at subsequently. Some of the mistakes I made while in ketosis were absolutely preoposterous, not a misunderstanding of conceptual reasoning, but simple “mishandling” of numbers (i.e., not moving decimal point so and so places).

This was quite intriguing. Hopefully I will score where I can now.

Any other anecdotal reports are welcomed.


I love low carb diets. BodyOpus was the best diet I’ve ever tried. I have no problems mentally at all. In fact, I took the LSAT after being in Ketosis for quite awhile and scored in the 97% percentile. However, my mom is diabetic and I test as borderline diabetic everytime I have blood work done (most recently for life insurance). Does anyone think this may affect my ability to thrive on low carb diets.

I did notice in the beginning months of doing a Keto plan I suffered terribly from “Brain fog”. After raising my level of carbs (in the form of more vegetables, nuts and seeds) it subsided. My range now is anywhere between 40 and 100 per day. If I drop down to 20g or less in a day that is when the brain fog will hit again.

White flour and sugar are never any part of my “carb ups/refeeds” because of the very difficult to handle cravings and insulin rollercoaster ride they provide. More of like an increase in carb consumption on workout days than a true carb up.

Just letting you know you aren’t alone in what you noticed.

For me it’s the refeeds that keep the brain off balance. If I stay in Ketosis my brain adapts after about a week and I actually find I can concentrate better and stay more focused than when I’m eating a higher carb diet. Once I throw a weekly refeed in however, it messes my brain up for a few days as I try to get back to a ketogenic state.

I neer noticed any drop in my ability to think while on keto. BUt I guess I don’t do much that requires thinking! :D)

I’m curious what type of diet Vain will do now.

I notice that I listen to my walkman, in favour of reading a book as I usually do, a lot more when travelling and simultaneously following a low carb diet. I just can?t seem to focus on the reading as well, thus preferring to listen to music and staring blankly through the window. My mind becomes quite numb when under 50g carbs/day.