Carbs on the Brain

Carbohydrates are the source of much concern for researchers and dietitians. Carbohydrates themselves are not necessarily bad or good for the body; in fact, they are often treated as long term storage of energy that the body can tap into later on. The cause for concern is often that we eat too many carbohydrates than our body needs, so we store the extra carbs as weight. For a long time, scientists and researchers thought that this is the extent of damage that carbohydrates did to our bodies.

However, new research points to an even more dangerous side effect of over eating carbs, particularly in the elderly. When elderly patients began expressing cravings for sweets, researchers wondered about the possible link. It turns out they might have found a possible link between dementia and carbohydrates.

Please note that these are just early results and will need to be studied further; however, what researchers found is, that as we get older, our brain craves certain foods, and the cravings can be indicative of problems in the brain. For a long time, researchers have used changes in eating behaviors as a red flag for signs of frontotemporal dementia (or FTD) but they never considered why.

This first study looked at 75 patients with dementia. Caregivers observed those suffering from variations of FTD and tracked their patients’ eating habits. They reported that those suffering from “behavior [variants]…[focused] more on sweet foods.” Furthermore, and perhaps more alarmingly, the patients didn’t “eat because they [felt] full,” but instead ate because “the food is there and they eat it,” according to Dr. Olivier Piguet, who authored the report.

Of course, more research will have to be conducted into this topic, as the original study was a small sample size. Researchers will also have to look more into the correlation between sweets and mental changes. In the meantime, we would recommend just simply cutting back on carbohydrates if at all possible! In general, Americans eat far more carbohydrates than they need.

Sources of carbohydrates can include:

  • Pasta
  • Candy
  • Sodas
  • Breads

No one is suggesting that you cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely; however, carefully consider how many carbohydrates you consume. Consult your general practitioner or consider signing up for our Ideal Protein program, which focuses on cutting back on carbohydrates and helping your body find its ideal weight. Learn more by visiting our Ideal Protein website or by contacting your general practitioner.