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Memory loss? - ANTI Atkins Diet

About Memory loss?

Previous Entry Memory loss? Sep. 14th, 2004 @ 07:20 pm Next Entry
A good friend of mine has been on Atkins for several months, and I've noticed a steady decline in her brain function. She used to be very smart, witty, clever, and reliable. Now she's none of those things -- and doesn't seem to realize just how much decrease in function she's having. If I had a nickel for every time in the last few months she's forgotten something and then fluffed it off with, "Oh, I'm just being a flake again" -- WITHOUT REALIZING that it happens ALL the time!! -- I'd be a much richer woman.

I'm not finding as much online about people having that effect, but I've seen it once or twice. Has anyone else heard or experienced this?
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From:obnox
Date:September 14th, 2004 11:28 pm (UTC)
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I've noticed the same thing. A former boss of mine was on a low carb diet and he became mean and quick tempered when previously he was a very laid back guy. We conned him into having a pizza party. After that he totally went off the diet and was back to his old self.

Carbs are really necessary for brain function from what I hear. I'm sure some other people in this community can elaborate.
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From:mercury_silver
Date:September 15th, 2004 05:42 am (UTC)
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"Carbs are really necessary for brain function from what I hear."

Carbs are necessary for brain function, but not necessarily directly from dietary carbs. Your body can make glucose from dietary protein and the brain's astrocytes have all the enzymes necessary to use ketone bodies for neural energy (for instance, nursing babies primarily get their energy from ketosis dervied ketone bodies from both their own liver and mother's nursing milk). As Atkins doesn't completely eliminate carbohydrates (it encourages lots of low-glycemic carbohydrate in vegetable form as opposed to refined sugar and flour), I think unlikely that low-carbohydrate alone is the source of their forgetfulness.

Atkins also emphasizes the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for brain function among other things...whether people make the effort to eat those or supplement those is questionable in any diet, not just Atkins, but it would be interesting to see if that's a player.

I'd put my dollars in the hormones and antibiotics coming from meat causing problems....and also potentially artifical sweetener sensitivities in certain people. Aspartame isn't the devil that some people make it out to be, but some people have sensitivies to things like that and it might be enough to cause cognitive effects if they increase their consumption of it.
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From:angelle_n_brian
Date:September 15th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)
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Whatever the chemical cause, it's being on Atkins that is doing it. She was eating meat either way.
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From:mercury_silver
Date:September 15th, 2004 03:48 pm (UTC)
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"Whatever the chemical cause, it's being on Atkins that is doing it"

what a very scientific statement, lol.
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From:angelle_n_brian
Date:September 15th, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
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Duh. Pay attention -- before she went on Atkins, she wasn't having the problem. It's OBVIOUSLY chemical in nature -- brain functions are controlled by chemistry -- and since it only started after she'd been on Atkins -- voila. How much more scientific would you like me to get?

Just because you happen to be a proponant of Atkins, that doesn't mean you should blindly dismiss or belittle other people's experiences that are negative. It only makes people want to ignore your posts.
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From:mercury_silver
Date:September 16th, 2004 07:32 pm (UTC)
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I'm not a proponent of Atkins, but I am a proponent of well-researched statements.
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From:jesterly
Date:September 15th, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC)
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My take is that most people on "atkins" are people just on a no-carb diet who don't really look to see what atkins is really about and end up screwing themselves up. They ignore the whole low-gi foods or grains high in fiber and pretty much only eat proteins/fats.

So it's one bad nourishment to another is my guess - a brain won't work well either way :)
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From:mercury_silver
Date:September 15th, 2004 03:49 pm (UTC)
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"who don't really look to see what atkins is really about and end up screwing themselves up"

so it's not a problem with Atkins, per se, it's a problem with people's mentality about the diet industry then?
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From:jesterly
Date:September 15th, 2004 04:41 pm (UTC)
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Well, I don't think any "diet" is good in general. Atkins has some great ideas like eat unprocessed foods, whole grains, not refined sugars, etc. But as a diet it's stupid. As a way of life I don't think it offers any advantage over any regular and varied eating plan.

All everything does is play on people - they're stupid, lazy, and like to eat.. a lot. Atkins is perfect for them. And when people say how much they gained once they stopped, it's obvious that atkins didn't teach them to stop their original problem - eating too much and too many bad foods coupled with no exercise. But I'm sure you already know that :)
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From:mercury_silver
Date:September 15th, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC)
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I agree that a lot of people claim to be following Atkins when in fact, they are not. I think it stems from being told for years and years to drop calories and drop fat...that you can never eat too little fat (regardless of the consequences of a very low-fat diet). People think its the same thing with carbohydrates - that fewer is better. I can't find one popular commericialized diet that reccomends that people abstain completely from carbohydrate sources...they all reccomend whole, unprocessed carbohydrate sources that are low on the glycemic index. True, it's lower amounts of carbohydrate than what was reccomended during the 1980's anti-fat crazes, but then again, anything is better than the endless low-fat products chock full of sugar and other crap.

...it's unfortunate that people only take away the idea of increased protein consumption instead of healthy carbohydrate consumption, but ultimately that's not the fault of any book or fad diet...just the idiots who don't take the time to learn about basic nutrition nor read the books. The media certainly doesn't help either - it spreads the idea that Atkins is "unlimited meat and cheese and eggs with scarce vegetable consumption" when that's not true either (niether component of that statement)...but it's what common people see and take for granted as the truth.
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From:styggie
Date:September 15th, 2004 02:18 am (UTC)
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if i was doing my masters in nutrition i'd be studying students on atkins pre and during the diet test results as opposed to students eating a decent diet and if thier grades dropped. But im not so oh well.
I have always thought that removing carbs would mess with brain function and id be very interesed to find out... if anyone here is looking for a nutrition/ diettics research assignment do this one, i wanna know!!


Evidently i work at a food change that serves "atkins friendly" crap and its so funny how many atkins order-ers forget what they want halfway through my making of thier wrap ;)
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From:styggie
Date:September 15th, 2004 02:19 am (UTC)
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ps in england a flake is a chocolate bar... your friend could probably use a couple to get her brain back into whack ;)
From:carboloader
Date:October 5th, 2004 08:35 pm (UTC)
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I have found that the ppl I know on lowcarb diets do tend to be forgetful, and DO snap out and lose their cool too quickly. I think they convince themselves the diet is healthy because they are so hard up to lose weight.

I have debated a bunch of them on a diet debate board for a year now, and they are really brainwashed. Its like a religious cult, but the focus is on food, not religion.

They get really ticked when I tell them how much weight I lost just by changing my lifestyle and going on a lowerfat/PRO-carb "diet", combined with daily exercise. I guess it ticks them that someone could lose 160 lbs without the help of their dear, dead, "Dr" Atkins!
From:carboloader
Date:October 5th, 2004 08:30 pm (UTC)

the brain functions ON carbs

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its common for those on lowcarb diets to end up suffering from depression, absent mindedness and other related problems. I have a friend on Atkins who had to go on Celexa for depression because of it.

The brain RUNS on carbs. The less you eat the less the brain functions properly.I read an entire article on it, if I can find it I'll post it here. The brain uses carbs for the manufacture of serotonin, etc and the less carbs, the less serotonin, the more depression.
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From:mercury_silver
Date:November 17th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: the brain functions ON carbs

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"its common for those on lowcarb diets to end up suffering from depression, absent mindedness and other related problems"

out of curiousity, do you have a resource you could post for that statement?
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From:mercury_silver
Date:November 17th, 2004 03:26 am (UTC)

Re: the brain functions ON carbs

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"its common for those on lowcarb diets to end up suffering from depression, absent mindedness and other related problems"

out of curiousity, do you have a resource you could post for that statement?

Your next statement is partially incorrect. The brain certainly uses glucose from dietary carbohydrate for energy, but through gluconeogenesis, it's certainly capable of converting protein to glucose, your body does it all the time.
Not to mention that the precursor to serotonin (and niacin) is tryptophan, an amino acid, not a carbohydrate, though found in some carbohydrate-rich, it's not the primary source for our bodies. Glucose is used to fuel neurons, but astrocytes can use glucose from gluconeogenesis as well as ketone bodies for fuel, too.

Depression also isn't soley based on serotonin levels as is evidenced by the wide range of problems with depression...it also involves dopamine and norepinephrine in most cases. So the correlation between eating few carbohydrates and depression isn't likely the case. Blood sugar spikes can certainly make a person temporarily feel better after noshing on a candy bar if they're hungry, but alternatively, your body isn't necessarily going to go into depression when eating carbohydrates from vegetables as opposed to sugar (the basis of low-carb diets).
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