No carbs, no memory?

By • Published: March 19th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you’ve put the kibosh on carbs, the taste of freshly baked bread may not be the only thing you’ve forgotten.

A new study from Tufts University shows that cutting carbohydrates from your diet doesn’t just affect your waistline… it seems to affect how well your brain works, too.

After just one week of not eating carbs like bread, pasta and rice, the women in the study performed more poorly on memory tests than they did before they started their diets. The women also fared worse on these tests than another group of female dieters who were sticking to a more traditional low-calorie diet.

The lack of carbohydrates also seemed to affect the women’s reaction times as well, although their ability to stay on task while working did not seem to be affected.

Fortunately, reintroducing some carbs to the dinner table after the first week of dieting seemed to give the women enough of a brainpower boost to improve their scores on the memory tests.

In a world that has grown increasingly hostile to the helpless carb, researchers say it’s important to remember what those grains of rice and baskets of bread actually do for your brain. After you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks these foods down into the simple sugar glucose, the fuel your brain needs to thrive.

Of course more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of living low-carb. But for now, maybe it’s better to embrace the bread, at least once in awhile.