There are a million and one fad diets out there: The Cabbage Soup Diet, the Cookie Diet, the Subway Diet, the Russian Air Force Diet. Each one promises fast results, no exercise necessary. Well sure, you’ll get fast results if breakfast consists of coffee, lunch an egg and a tomato and your dinner feast is a shaving of meat. While each of these diets may cause you to shed some pounds (granted your body is in starvation mode) each one has something in common: People on these programs are completely cutting out certain food groups from their diets.
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” but how about what you don’t eat? While cutting out carbohydrates from a diet might whittle down one’s mid-section, it could leave people with decreased memory skills, according to a study by Tufts University.
The study involved women ages 22 to 55, who either followed a low-carbohydrate or a low-calorie, high-carbohydrate diet. After one week of being on their given diets, the groups were asked to complete a series of memory tests, including attention, long-term and short-term memory, visual attention and spatial memory.
The women on the low-carbohydrate diet did about 50 percent worse on memory tasks than the calorie-counting group. Once the women resumed eating carbohydrates, their scores on the tests improved, said the study.
Most people who go on diets only have one objective in mind and seldom consider the effects their food choices have on their cognitive abilities.
“This study demonstrates that the food you eat can have an immediate impact on cognitive behavior. The popular low-carb, no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition,” said psychology professor Holly Taylor of Tufts University.
I have always noticed that I feel sharper when I eat a well-balanced diet, but I never considered how the food I eat is actually effecting how my brain functions.
From now on, come finals week, you can find me at House of Bread.