As much as you might like to believe that eating bacon cheeseburgers three times a day (no buns) will magically transform you (buns included) into a sizzling piece of meat, the no-carb diet infomercials are, shall we say, fraught with problematic claims. Anyone who can think rationally can probably figure that out, but anyone who does dive into the carb-free zone might, as it turns out, lose his or her ability to figure things out in general. A new Tufts study tellingly titled "The popular low-carb, no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition” recently revealed just that; within just a few weeks, those who drastically restrict their carbohydrate intakes will suffer from decreased memory function and impaired reaction time.
There’s a good reason for this. The brain mainly uses glucose for energy, but is unable to store this type of sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and delivers it to the brain via the bloodstream. Depriving the body of carbohydrates deprives the brain of energy, and, voila: you’re repeating third grade, or at least repeatedly asking a question you first posed just ten minutes ago.
According to Nutrition.gov (and your mom), a healthy diet “provides enough of each essential nutrient, contains a variety of foods from all of the basic food groups, provides adequate energy to maintain a healthy weight, and does not contain excess fat, sugar, salt or alcohol.”
Sorry to disappoint, but it’s time to put the bacon cheeseburger down and walk (or run, or do a few lunges) away. The low-carb claims are too good to be true.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.