Diet Can Affect Attention and Brain Function
You have heard the old saying, “your are what you eat,” and this article addresses how the highly refined carbohydrate and high-fat diet impairs brain function and attention. Most of us have experienced that tired feeling after a big thanksgiving dinner. That may be partly due to the tryptophan in turkey that increases serotonin that is calming, or it may be the crash after our bodies over produce insulin and then we crash with low blood sugars. I also know personally that “hung over” feeling that can occur after over eating carbs (cake, ice cream, other refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup).
It think for many of our children, have become more sensitive to processed carbohydrates, high sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and this study lays points to this diet having worse effects than just the waist line. Perhaps our children are even more vulnerable to having that “fog” produced by this diet.
We have found a subset of our children who suffer form ADD or ADHD or Autism Spectrum disorders also have significant food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are typically most prominent to gluten, dairy, eggs and less often peanuts and soy. I have found that in many cases of food sensitivities, removal of these foods from your unfocused children can result in a huge improvement. Have you wondered why some children seem to crave the carbs? They often only want to eat the very foods that they are sensitive to. It takes courage and resolve to help them get back to a healthy diet that I have seen in many instances result in a child who was non-verbal, begin talking and a child with no eye contact, make good eye contact.
I think this article is a great reminder to get back to whole foods, remove highly processed and high fructose corn syrup from the diet.
The longer-term impacts of Western diet on human cognition and the brain
Heather Francis and Richard Stevenson
Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
Animal work over the last three decades has generated a convincing body of evidence that a Western diet – one high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates (HFS diet) – can damage various brain systems. In this review we examine whether there is evidence for this in humans, using converging lines of evidence from neuropsychological, epidemiological and neuroimaging data. Using the animal research as the organizing principal, we examined evidence for dietary induced impairments in frontal, limbic and hippocampal systems, and with their associated functions in learning, memory, cognition and hedonics. Evidence for the role of HFS diet in attention deficit disorder and in neurodegenerative conditions was also examined. While human research data is still at an early stage, there is evidence of an association between HFS diet and impaired cognitive function. Based upon the animal data, and a growing understanding of how HFS diets can disrupt brain function, we further suggest that there is a causal link running from HFS diet to impaired brain function in humans, and that HFS diets also contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions.
► Western diets tend to be high in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates (HFS). ► This review examines the impact of HFS diets on the human brain. ► HFS diets impair several aspects of cognition and damage associated brain areas. ► HFS diets may cause such damage via several established mechanisms. ► HFS diets also seem to contribute to the onset of neurodegenerative conditions.