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A small-scale study was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders looking at the effect of a ketogenic diet on three obese patients who experienced frequent bouts of binge eating disorder throughout their adult lives.

A team of researchers led by Matthew Carmen at The University of Michigan identified three individuals to take part in the study based on their history of binge eating and food addiction problems.

Each of the three patients were initially taught how to adopt a long-term ketogenic based diet. The main premise was they should strive daily to eat a macronutrient combination of around 10% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 60% fat for a period of no less than 6 months.

Another key component was that unlike many alternative diets, the patients were instructed not to count calories at all.

They were also advised to expect short-term side effects from switching to the new diet, such as headaches, fatigue, and constipation, of which they all experienced and overcame.

The Study Results

While the number of participants was quite small, the results of the study were encouraging, nonetheless:

  • All three patients “reported significant reductions in binge eating episodes and food addiction symptoms including cravings and lack of control”
  • The patients lost between 10 – 24% of their total body weight
  • They reported maintenance of treatment gains in terms of weight and eating habits 9 – 17 months after the initiation of the study

The authors noted the many caveats of such a small study but did point out their report demonstrates the possibility of adhering to a ketogenic diet as a potential aid in binge eating and food addiction.

Studies like the above show promise for treatment in the field of eating disorders in a way often overlooked in the past. It’s one of the reasons why I’m leading a consortium of experts for one of the world’s first online conferences discussing the use of ketogenic diets in the field of psychiatry.

This online event, Ketogenic Diets In Psychiatry: Fad & Facts, will examine evidence for the benefits of a ketogenic diet for brain health, including the potential benefits for those with cognitive decline, mood disorders, schizophrenia, neurodegeneration, and beyond.

If you are a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinician, nurse or otherwise working in the field of mental health, this conference will help provide you with both new information and practical, clinical tools to implement with your patients.

This event will be held on March 4, 2022, and includes prestigious experts such as:

  • Ann Childers, MD
  • Ignacio Cuaranta, MD
  • Georgia Ede, MD
  • J. Glen House, MD, MBA
  • Science journalist and bestselling author Nina Teicholz
  • Beth Zupec-Kania, RDN, CD
  • Robert Cywes, MD
  • Stefan Ivantu, MD, MRCPsych
  • And myself, James Greenblatt, MD

Click here for all conference details and to register.

Yours in health,
James M. Greenblatt, MD
Founder, Medical Director, Psychiatry Redefined


Photo Credits: Banner image by Lisa Fotios