Is cutting carbs bad for your brain?
Glucose is the brain’s preferred source of energy. It provides the fuel for physiological brain function through the generation of ATP, the foundation for neuronal and non-neuronal cellular maintenance, as well as the generation of neurotransmitters. Therefore, tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain underlies several diseases affecting both the brain itself as well as the entire organism.
Nowadays, everyone wants to be gluten-free and start a low-carb, high-fat diet; however, gluten-free products are often processed junk foods with high sugar content, mixed with artificial coloring and unhealthy additives.
On the other hand, fiber comes mostly from grains (besides vegetables and legumes), so a low-carb diet can be low in fiber. Eliminating certain carbohydrates from the diet may compromise the adequate intake of fiber, healthy carbs, and other brain-essential nutrients. Organic whole-grain foods should be an important component of the diet, especially for anyone reasonably concerned with preventing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Below are three rules that you can follow when it comes to choosing the right carbohydrates for your body and brain:
1. Vegetables and fruits are considered carbohydrates. Your plate should consist of 50% vegetables.
2. Avoid processed carbohydrates and focus on whole foods. Good gluten-free grains are rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff.
3. Choose high fiber carbohydrates such as broccoli, peas, sweet potatoes, beans and lentils. A high-fiber diet may help protect against a number of conditions, including colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Talk to one of our nutritionists if you would like to know more about the best carbohydrate sources or need guidance on what to eat.
1. Sugar for the brain: the role of glucose in physiological and pathological brain function, Philipp Mergenthaler
2. Is Cutting Carbs Bad For Your Brain? A Neuroscientist Explains, Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D.