Restricting carbs may also impact your mood according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.Here are the study details and how it applies to you.

  • Researchers randomized 118 obese people aged 24 to 64 to either a low fat or low carbohydrate restricted energy diet and followed participants for 12 months and measured both body weight and mood scores.
  • Mood scores for both groups improved dramatically in the first eight weeks, although the studies authors said this may be due to early weight loss.
  • Of the 55 people who completed the trial, researchers found participants in the low fat group maintained the improvement over the course of the trial, while mood scores in the low carbohydrate group returned towards more negative baseline levels.
  • Said the authors This outcome suggests that some aspects of the low-carbohydrate diet may have had detrimental effects on mood that, over the term of one year, negated any positive effects of weight loss.
  • The reason why restricting carbs can impact mood is the effect on serotonin - a neurotransmitter that regulates among other things, mood.

A Few


  • Carbohydrate restriction can and does work well for many people, although long term results tend to be poor.
  • For those whom low carbing works well, I'm thinking the results will negate any negative mood that may present itself.
  • The fact that only half the participants completed the study speaks to the difficulty in sticking with any restrictive diet.
  • I'm always perplexed as to why researchers and the public at large can't get out of this low carb vs. low fat box. It isn't an either or proposition.
  • On the above, most studies of this nature are actually comparing adequate vs. inadequate protein intake.
  • I'm curious as to what the average threshold might be in terms of how low your carb intake has to be to experience adverse mood.

Take Home Message

Instead of confining yourself to either low carb or low fat diets, enjoy good, whole foods and indulge on refined carbs sensibly. Get adequate fats and proteins, ample veggies and fruit and try not to worry too much about whether your food choices are low in carb or low in fat. Further, whichever route towards better health you choose, commit to something that works over the long term.