Are carbs really bad for our brain?

The “Grain Brain” book by Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition Dr. Perlmutter MD has caused quite a stir among health conscious people and fitness enthusiasts. The book explores Dr. Perlmutter’s theory that dietary carbs can lead to developing a so-called “toxic brain” and increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, depression and others.

bread-587597_1280This is why, according to the author, in order to reduce the risk of neurological disorders and for proper treatment of existing conditions, it is highly recommended to switch to a very low carb diet, with less than 60 grams of carbs per day.

So, the question which more people have started asking is whether carbohydrates do harm to the brain and cause serious neurological diseases?

The answer to this is that while appointing a very low-carb diet to someone who is already suffering from such a neurological disease could lead to the improvement of their condition, this doesn’t necessarily mean that eating carbohydrates causes these health conditions in the first place, so this type of no-carb diet being promoted as a preventive action against neurological disorders is not recommended.

The truth is that for people who already have some kind of neurological disease, eating a low-carb diet can cause the reduction of inflammation and can lead to an improvement of the condition.

But do carbohydrates actually cause these disorders?

Well, humans have been eating and metabolizing carbohydrates for ages now, which means that are bodies have become adapted to best digesting and metabolizing them.

Apart from consuming glucose, the human body also can produce its own glucose from proteins which is needed to maintain the homeostasis.

A lot of the cultures who have traditionally been eating high carb diets for ages have been proven to be free of neurological disorders, or have been found to have little or no people from the culture suffering from such a health condition.

One prime example of this is a tribe in Tanzania called Hadza, as well as the Kuna tribe of Panama, where the main food resources come from natural sugars in fruits, honey and starchy tubers. Yet, studies have found that the people there are amazingly fit, lean and healthy, with little or no occurrence of modern-day Western diseases.

There are other tribes and cultures which have been eating a similar high-carb diet for ages, including the Okinawans from Japan who apparently eat about 85% carbohydrates in their daily diets, mostly coming from sweat potatoes. Another one is the Tukisenta tribe from Papa New Guinea eat a stunning 90% of carbohydrates, and they too have been found to be fit and rid of modern-day diseases and disorders.

So, there is no anthropological evidence that carbs from whole foods can cause neurological disorders and problems, and even on the contrary – the abovementioned tries and cultures were much fitter, leaner and healthier than the average Westerner.

The truth is that no diet which completely or severely limits one of the basic macronutrients necessary for the functioning of the human organism is not without a risk for the health.

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One Response

  1. John July 3, 2015 Reply

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