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Low carb diets affect memory

A small study has shown low carb diets may affect memory and cognitive skills.

Low carb or Atkins style diets recommend avoiding carbohydrate rich foods such as bread and pasta, in order to lose weight.

The low carb memory study

A small study of only 19 women, aged 22 to 55 years compared the performance of complex mental tests during a three week diet. Half the women followed a low carb diet, and half followed a balanced low calorie diet.

Women on the low carb diet performed worse in memory tests than those on the balanced diet. The researchers suggest this is because their brains lacked glucose, which is restricted in low carb diets.

Even though the study was a small sample size, it highlights the need for further research to see how dieting might affect short-term memory and awareness. Both groups lost weight during the 3 week diet.

Researchers comments

Co-author of the study, Professor Taylor said, “Although this study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight.”

The brain needs glucose for energy and diets low in carbohydrates can be detrimental to learning, memory and thinking.”

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Low GI diets help prevent heart disease and diabetes.


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