The Ketogenic diet had lots of positives on paper and I learnt from the experience, however there were also cons in practice, particularly when looking at the longer-term. After around six months I decided to end the experiment.
As I saw in practice, if you’re on a budget an affordable day-to-day version of the Ketogenic diet is likely to either overload on meat (or dairy). If you want to moderate either of those (as you probably should from a health perspective) and particularly if you have higher calorific requirements, things become challenging.
Since coming off the diet I have retained what I believed were the main noticeable benefits – an appreciation for the role of dietary fat and a better regulated body temperature.
I don’t doubt that there were benefits I couldn’t see but after adding back certain carbohydrates in moderation it has improved my digestion and helped in other ways. I acknowledged that there are reasons for which the human body still prefers to have carbohydrates, even if ketones can provide an alternative energy source.
Being in ketosis or experiencing a ketogenic diet may be beneficial but for shorter periods it is more practical. The same applies to fasting in my experience.
A Medical Diet
Fundamentally, despite my early hopefulness, I was not convinced that the ketogenic diet could provide a potential alternative treatment for Visual Snow as it does for e.g. epilepsy.
It is important to say on the other hand that I did not notice any worsening or have any new complaints related to my vision during the diet.
Theoretically there is a version of the Ketogenic diet you could follow, together with supplements that would make it more practical and optimise the health aspects. But again, in my opinion that is going to be expensive and not the ideal if it isn’t seen as a medical treatment.
This is at least my current view.
The Ideal Diet?
In my emerging opinion there are similar problems with all diets that restrict certain foods for a long-term, unlike the temporary restriction in an elimination diet.
The problem is that apart from the routine becoming dull and socially challenging, you run the risk of nutrient deficiencies or excesses of certain things, on the Ketogenic diet for example – histamine.
Thinking of a balanced or healthy diet generically just in terms of something like fat, protein, and carbohydrates (or calories) is overly simplistic, unless you only care about appearances (“gym/Instagram healthy”) or have a concrete medical reason for doing so.
One of the crazy things I’ve come to understand is that there is almost no food that can unanimously be called healthy.
I am starting to think that the ideal approach would follow some broad rules, but also look at foods and sources of macronutrients individually, emphasising moderation rather than necessarily strict restriction.
For me that diet is an individual work in progress, because it really is an individual thing. I really do wish that at the time I had done a proper elimination diet, so I’d stress – if you can, save yourself the extra trial and error of getting to this point.
A Visual Snow Diet
Regarding the possibility that the cause of Visual Snow involves carboxylic acids, it’s doubtful that there is any point to worrying over foods which contain carboxylic acids. That would probably top the restrictive diets list, never mind all the other products that contain them.
However considering the specific potential needs of someone with Visual Snow, thinking in terms of the average person and the average diet isn’t going to help either. Inflammatory foods, foods which contribute to excitotoxicity, and individual food sensitivities are examples of the very real potential issues that need taking into account when living with a neurological condition.
I may still return to the ketogenic diet, but for now I’m considering other options…