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Concentration Levels & Food Choices

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Ruth Buttigieg | 0 comments

With the summer holidays over (or nearly over for some), getting back into the routine of old can be a bit tough. Regaining and maintaining high concentration levels can also prove daunting, especially after lunch time - or siesta time as it was a couple of days ago. So how can your diet help to increase not only your concentration levels, but also help to improve your overall health?


The Science So Far


Research in cognitive abilities has become more prominent in recent years, mainly due to the the fact that we, as a society, are living longer. Hence, interest in researching preventative measures we can make use of - whether they be lifestyle changes or other therapies - that can offer better cognitive function in our old age have become quite popular.


Our food choices play a big role and is a constant feature in the debate about what a “healthy diet” should consist of in order to reap the best results. The science however has been showing that the high carbohydrate diet that is commonly found in Western Societies is doing nothing to improve our physiological nor our mental health.


The science keeps showing that high blood sugars have a negative impact on our brain function. Scientific evidence, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggest that switching from burning sugar as a body fuel, to burning fat for energy not only has positive impacts on our health, but also helps to improve our cognitive function.


Current Eating Advice


The current healthy eating guidelines advise that to get the best nutrition, one needs to ensure that 50% of each meal is made up of a variety of carbohydrates. However, whilst these items are not usually associated with being sugary, the biological digestion of these items turns them into sugar and are recognised as such by the brain. This in turn leads to insulin being released in order to regulate these high blood sugars. Once blood sugars have been stabilised, there is a dip in energy levels which is often felt as a either sleepiness or alternatively as a hankering for something sugary. This is the body’s way of regulating it’s blood sugars levels - a constant cycle of highs and lows.


By minimising blood sugar spikes, insulin levels remain relatively stable throughout the day. Once stable, the body will look into sourcing its energy requirements from unwanted body fat. Due to this, the body will have a constant stream of energy - and the best part is that your concentration and energy levels improve as a result of this.


Reducing Carbohydrates


Whilst reducing the amount of sugary and starchy items consumed in the form of biscuits, confectionary, fizzy drinks etc may help, this is not enough if you are going to get rid of that “brain fog” sensation and the need for a quick energy fix in the afternoon (usually in the form of a biscuit or a chocolate bar accompanied by coffee for a perceived boost). If you really want to get rid of those “brain fog” sensations, then a rearranging of the macronutrient intake in one’s diet is required.


Natural Low Carb Store


So how are you expected to make an informed decision that is going to benefit your health?


The Natural Low Carb Store way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress.


A quick glimpse at a low-carb meal plan one can notice that it is balanced, natural, low in trans-fat, low in sugar and low in salt. It also provides omega 3 and 6, and essential amino acids. It is full of food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, as well as fibre. A diet high in protein has also been extensively proven to alleviate satiety in individuals.


The Natural Low Carb Store way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’ll answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision.



References:


Born, J., Martens, M., Lemmens, S., Goebel, R. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2013). Protein v. carbohydrate intake differentially affects liking-and wanting-related brain signalling. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(02), pp.376--381.

Kavanagh, K., Wylie, A., Tucker, K., Hamp, T., Gharaibeh, R., Fodor, A. and Cullen, J. (2013). Dietary fructose induces endotoxemia and hepatic injury in calorically controlled primates. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 98(2), pp.349--357.

Maalouf, M., Rho, J. and Mattson, M. (2009). The neuroprotective properties of calorie restriction, the ketogenic diet, and ketone bodies. Brain research reviews, 59(2), pp.293--315.

Mortby, M., Janke, A., Anstey, K., Sachdev, P. and Cherbuin, N. (2013). High “normal” blood glucose is associated with decreased brain volume and cognitive performance in the 60s: the PATH through life study. PloS one, 8(9), p.73697.

Murphy, P., Likhodii, S., Nylen, K. and Burnham, W. (2004). The antidepressant properties of the ketogenic diet. Biological psychiatry, 56(12), pp.981--983.

Schoeler, N., Wood, S., Aldridge, V., Sander, J., Cross, J. and Sisodiya, S. (2014). Ketogenic dietary therapies for adults with epilepsy: Feasibility and classification of response. Epilepsy \& Behavior, 37, pp.77--81.

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