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No-Carb Diets Could Crash Your Brain's Memory

No-Carb Diets Could Crash Your Brain's Memory

As far as fad diets go, the low-carbohydrate train has enjoyed a prolonged ride when compared to its more trendy counterparts. Some dieters shun carbs because their bodies respond by shedding pounds, but new research shows they could also be sacrificing some very important brain power.

The brain converts carbohydrates to glucose for proper functionality, and severely restricting carb intake can limit our ability to remember. Nineteen women were put on either a very low-carb diet or the low-calorie diet recommended by the American Dietetic Association, and after just one week the low-carb dieters performed worse on memory-based tasks than the women following the ADA diet.

While low-carb participants consumed almost no carbohydrates during the first week, limited carbs were introduced during the second week and their memories showed improvement with the revised diet. The study's co-author Holly A. Taylor, PhD commented on the bottom line, saying, "Although this study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight."

Have you noticed that some diets affect your brain's ability to function properly?


Join The Conversation
redscorpio redscorpio 8 years
There is a difference between no-carb diet and low-carb diet. Even the name indicates so. To avoid carbs altogether you need to live only on meat and fish which is pretty impossible. Fruits have carbs, vegetables have carbs, dairy products have carbs, even chicken has some (check food labels and for specific data)! It's just in a low percentage and unprocessed form. I have been following a low-carb diet for weight-loss for three months now, but between milk, yoghurt, cheese, salads, vegetables and fruits I get at least 50gr of carbs every day. And I have not observed any memory-loss, or sluggishness. Low-carb/low-GI does not equal Atkins (which I knew I could not follow at the moment I read the book) and that's a fact.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I eat about 70% carbs and it works for me, but as an endurance athlete, I really need all those carbs !
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
i try to eat bready carbs in moderation, which is ahrd because i LOVE bread. love it. so i try for healthy version like whole wheats and such. and i won't give up my fruits or veggies. carbs are good, but like everything else, in moderation.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I tend to follow a "low-processed carb" diet. I don't eat bread or pasta or white rice, but I do eat fruits, veggies, and other unrefined forms of carbs. I don't usually notice any memory loss or forgetfulness or anything, but that's probably because the carbs in whole foods are released more slowly than carbs in simple sugars.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
My mother was on no-carb for a long time. At first it was just an energy-level issue, but she started to have HUGE problems afterward. It took a huge accident before she realized how serious it was. My whole family rock climbs, and my mother didn't tie her knot correctly before starting. Completely forgot to even check it. She fell 45 feet. That was the end of no-carb dieting for her and ANYONE in the family.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
alliep - have you tried incorporating intervals into your cardio routine? It really helps!
alliep627 alliep627 8 years
attention all FitSugar friends -- I'd love your opinions/comments on this. I have tried the much lower carb thing and it just does not work for me. It makes me feel like crap and I can't focus or think for my job. The first time I did it I lost weight quickly and steadily but it was just too hard to follow for more than a few weeks. The second time I tried it - zip. nada. nothing. But I felt WAY worse mentally than the first time. Come January 2 I absolutely MUST begin losing some pounds again. I am a 40something woman and would like to know what types of things you recommend for losing weight. In your 40s it is DANGGGGG HARDDDDD to lose weight. I exercise regularly (usually 5 days, sometimes 6 a week) thru cardio and weights and have for the past 5 years. I typically eat a fairly balanced diet of about 1800 calories a day. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I feel just AWFUL when I go to 1200 or 1300 calories a day. I feel almost doomed like I can't make anything work for losing weight anymore. Help me!
livetolove livetolove 8 years
yah... any "diet" that makes you eliminate any sort of food group has had a negative effect on me. I've done so many diets it's not even funny buuut I've come to the conclusion that the best "diet" ahem, I mean LIFE STYLE change is to eat whole foods and just pay attention to what I put into my body.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
This is very true for me...if I eliminate carbs for an extended period of time, I forget things. And I have a very good memory. I think it could be due to the fact that carbs have nutrients that help other parts of the body function properly, including our minds.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i just find when i'm not taking in a lot of anything - my brain/mind feels very sluggish. and that's kind of an interesting thing for me to ponder since i always try to keep my mind working - with puzzles or reading or playing different games online.
hippiejen hippiejen 8 years
I think that those of us who choose to eat diets that reduce carbohydrates over other things (like fat and calories) consistently get a bad rap. Like Shadowdamage points out - a "no carb" program is crazy and pretty unrealistic. That would mean no fruit and few vegetables - even non-starchy veggies like broccoli and cauliflower still have enough carbs that could prevent them from being on a "very low-carb diet." I totally don't agree that low-carb is a "fad diet." I started reducing my carbs last January, after trying low-fat and low-calorie diets for YEARS and not being able to keep off any weight. It's helped me eat healthier, feel more energized, and lose & keep off 15 pounds over the past year.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
I don't know anyone that eats "no" carbs. But as someone who has used low-carb eating longterm, I can singlehandedly vouch for it as a viable and healthy alternative to the "low fat" lifestyle which did nothing whatsoever for me. I am a living example of someone who could gain weight on rice without the butter, and lose it eating butter without the rice. Literally. Carbs, if anything, make me feel tired, lazy and bloated, and I avoid the simple, "bad" carbs like the plague. Even when I do eat sweet things, or starchy ones, they are paired with low-GI foods to minimize their impact. Healthy low-carb eating doesn't mean an entire absence of carbs, but rather limiting them, and getting them from healthy, low-sugar sources such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and wholegrain pastas. What it doesn't mean is living on bacon.
crayolasky crayolasky 8 years
Yes, it can affect your energy levels. However, low-carb usually works the best for me. I'm not a big bread or pasta fan - even whole wheat (in even small portions!) makes me TIRED. I don't eat rice very often either. I think its too bland for my tastes or something. So I tend to avoid most carbs, even complex. I do like oatmeal, but the same thing... makes me want to take a nap :( typically carbs make me put on weight as well. I know a balanced diet is important, but I prefer having protein as my main energy source. Works well for me, as I also prefer having a lean build :) I can understand the energy problem though - being a student, sometimes you really need carbs for energy! In that case, I eat a carb that also has protein and fiber.
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