They’re at it again! Once more, the naysayers have launched a sneak attack on low-carb diets like the Atkins plan. And now the latest arrow in the quiver of the pro-carb camp is a new study that claims that diets low in carbohydrates could have a negative effect on your thinking.
Yes, this new study says that by cutting back on carbs, you could blunt an otherwise sharp mind. Pardon me if I don’t reach for the nearest bag of potato chips.
We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that carbohydrates are essential nutrients and that "you’ve gotta have a certain amount of carbs in your diet." Nothing could be further from the truth. Your body converts carbohydrates into sugar, which has no nutritional value; i.e., there are no amino acids, vitamins, pro-vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids, or anything else of any nutritional worth in it.
In short, we’re talking about empty calories.
And now this study from the psychology department at Tufts University in Massachusetts claims that your mind may actually be in danger if you take a pass on the starches. And, as is so often the case on "studies" conducted by psychology departments, they were able to determine this on the basis of examining the habits of 19 women! Wow! Nineteen whole women! Now, the medical community really ought to sit up and take notice!
The women in the research were between the ages of 22 and 55. Nine of them were placed on a low-carb diet, while the remaining 10 ate a low-cal, macronutrient diet as suggested by the American Dietetic Association. The women were subjected to a battery of tests to measure their memory skills (both short and long term) at various intervals during the study, as well as when they returned to their regular eating habits.
As you probably have already guessed (no doubt you’re quick-witted because you’ve been shoving carbs into your face), the low-carb group fared poorly on their cognitive tests compared to the women who ate the low-cal diet. In both the memory and the recall tests, the carb-deprived group lagged behind.
However, when it came to a test based on attention and focus, the low-carb group scored a "W" against the low-cal women – not to mention what was surely a shocking blow to the anti-carb researchers who were hoping for the sweep. But not to fear: the researchers had an "explanation" handy to waive off the low-carb group’s win. The researchers claimed that (as "other studies" had already proven) fatty and high-protein diets can be a boon to one’s attention span.
According to the study’s co-author Holly Taylor, a Tufts psychology professor, "Although this study only tracked dieting participants for three weeks, the data suggest that diets can affect more than just weight."
Maybe so … but can this "data" based on three weeks studying 19 women really be considered conclusive at any level? I hardly think so.
Excuse me for not taking of this too seriously. Ever since Dr. Atkins’ diet started having endless numbers of success stories with his well-researched and brilliant approach to eating, there’s been an endless parade of doubters. Atkins based his ideas on thousands of years’ worth of evidence showing that a high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet is the healthiest way to eat.