Monday, October 22, 2018

Dieting and Brain Health

Losing weight can have many beneficial effects beyond looking and feeling lighter. Weight loss can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer just to name a few.
However which weight loss diet you choose may affect your memory! A study at Tufts University studied the diets including low-carbohydrate or low calorie diet based on the American Dietetic Association guidelines, for three weeks. In the first week the low-carbohydrate group, who were told to eliminate all carbohydrates from their diets did worse on tests of their working and visuospatial  memory than those in the lower calorie group.
The brains primary fuel is glucose, eating carbohydrate rich foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables is the best way to keep the brain supplied with glucose. The brain needs a steady supply of
glucose for peak brain performance. In the study group, reintroducing some carbohydrates in the second week returned their memory to normal.

To back this up another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed people on a higher carbohydrate diet processed information more quickly than those on a low-carbohydrate diet. When discussing carbohydrates, it must be noted that the appropriate choice of carbohydrates are whole foods such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits, not processed carbohydrates.

The bottom line is that we need to be cautious  about eliminating carbohydrates from our diets or we may be losing more than just a few pounds.
Recommended consumption of carbohydrates to help the brain function normally is 130 grams.
What that looks like is a cup of oatmeal, an apple, two slices of whole wheat bread and 3/4 cups of cooked pasta.
* Based on an article in Living Well Magazine by Rachael Moeller Gorman

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