How Does Ultra-Processed Food Affect Our Mental Health? with Dr. Shebani Sethi Dalai


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How Does Ultra-Processed Food Affect Our Mental Health? | This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market, Bioptimizers, and the Pegan Shake

Currently, one in five Americans live with a mental illness, and these rates have been tracking alongside increases in metabolic disease. Yet, conventional psychiatric care does not typically include discussion of food or an assessment of metabolic dysfunction, obesity, or insulin resistance in the evaluation or treatment of mental health conditions.

On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was happy to sit down and talk with Dr. Shebani Sethi Dalai about the relationship between mental health and metabolic disease, and how we are gradually coming to understand that inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance may represent important root causes of many chronic brain illnesses, including many psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Shebani Sethi Dalai is a double board-certified physician in Obesity Medicine and Psychiatry. She is the Founding Director of Stanford University's Metabolic Psychiatry program and Silicon Valley Metabolic Psychiatry, a new center in the San Francisco Bay Area focused on optimizing brain health by integrating low carb nutrition, comprehensive psychiatric care, and treatment of obesity with associated metabolic disease.

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Here are more of the details from our interview:

  • How Dr. Sethi Dalai came to study and understand the need for metabolic psychiatry (7:02)

  • The connection between mental health and inflammation, and how ultra-processed food affects the brain (11:44)

  • Rising rates of binge eating, obesity, and addictive eating are coinciding with the rise of ultra-processed foods (15:29)

  • How diet drives hormonal responses in the brain (22:21)

  • Targeting inflammation to treat mental illness (31:02)

  • Dr. Sethi Dalai’s experience treating eating disorders, infertility, schizoaffective disorder, and more with diet (35:15)

  • Treating psychiatric issues using the ketogenic diet (47:59)

  • Why American’s metabolic health is particularly problematic when it comes to COVID-19, and how to protect yourself (56:22)

  • The influence of diet on attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism (1:01:15)

  • The prevalence of undiagnosed insulin resistance and how to test for it (1:07:34)

Learn more about Dr. Shebani Sethi Dalai, metabolic dysfunction and mental health, and the free online resource her group is creating at

Follow Dr. Sethi Dalai on Twitter @ShebaniMD.

Join the Metabolic Psychiatry group on Facebook at

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