Today is part 2 of our series on sugar. We’ll be discussing just what happens to your brain when it get’s it’s most valuable form of fuel… sugar!
I don’t know if you have a little history with the Atkins diet, but I do. And I remember the first time I did it. It was in preparation for a wedding I was standing up in and it was effective. I probably lost about 10 pounds and all of my friends. It made me moody… and I remember my cousin (who was also doing the Atkins diet) telling me that if I felt moody, tired and air-head like, that it was normal.
Years later, I understand why… your brain lives off of sugar. Which means long periods of diet that have a very low sugar and/or carbohydrate intake can effect the brains ability to work at it’s usual capacity.
This is why…
Neurons – the backbone of our brain’s ability, can’t store energy (sugar and carbohydrates which are glucose), so it depends on the bloodstream to constantly supply it with this valuable fuel (cite). In the case of there being a lack of sugar, the brain and it’s neurons slow down. This can often feel like “brain fog” or even just tired. In the case of a surplus of glucose in the bloodstream being delivered to the brain, well you can actually do some serious damage. You see, the brain is a delicate organelle and it requires much T.L.C. (not the channel despite the fabulously awkward shows – although clearly my brain needs some of that too). When the brain is not given what it needs to work, it doesn’t call on other organelle to over compensate for it’s work, they can’t… so instead, it shuts down a bit. Not like go into a comma shut down, but a few neurons do die off. Although neurons do that naturally and it should be expected, it shouldn’t be happening due to nutrition (cite).
In fact, recently when researchers fed rats sugar water for 6 weeks, they found that the rats had a difficult time remembering. This points to sugar impacting the brain, and it’s neurons in the Temporal Lobe (cite). Ironically, this is also the location for much of your emotional health… sugar cravings and hormonal cycle relationship possibly?
So where does this leave you and I? Well, the beauty of science is that it is not biased but simply facts, the beauty of nutrition is that it is personalized. As in, everyone is different and although we are all living science, we are all still a bit different.
Since you have been journal-ing your diet, continue doing so but now take note of your brain. Before and after what meals did you feel the best mentally? How about emotionally? Is there a certain time or item in which you eat that always gives you a headache, or maybe heart burn? These are the ways in which your body will tell you something is off and that is what we are going to be trying to look for.
Please come back tomorrow as we will be talking about something called lectins… these little guys are rarely talked about but can definitely change how you eat food, which ultimately can make your life and health much easier.