Monday, December 15, 2008

Carbs, calories and cognition

People who cut out carbohydrates as part of a diet may be reducing their brainpower as well as their waistline according to a study by researchers at Tufts University in the U.S. The study compared nine women on a low-carbohydrate, Atkins-style diet and ten women following a low-calorie diet based on advice from the American Dietetic Association. The dieters completed five testing sessions which assessed attention, long-term memory, short-term memory, visual attention and spatial memory. The low-carb dieters showed a gradual decrease in performance on the memory-related tasks compared to the low-calorie dieters. Their reaction times were slower and their visual-spatial memory worse. However, the low-carb dieters did do better than the low-calorie ones on the attention task; perhaps because fat and protein, which tend to be consumed more on these kind of diets, can improve people's attention in the short term.

You can find out more about this research at

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