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Low-carb brain function in college

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  • Low-carb brain function in college

    I'm a previously primal guy and I'm getting back into my diet right now. Not trying to lose any weight, doing this for long-term health reasons.

    Before, I would eat some fruit every day, mostly bananas, strawberries and blueberries, but I'm thinking this time I'm gonna try to skip most of them because they upset my stomach.

    The problem is, I'm in med school and it is pretty damn tough these days so I need to be at the top of my game mentally, so I'm wondering if there are any people here that have had success in college doing a low carb diet?

    I'm especially interested in factors such as concentration and long term memory, as these are my major weak points. I've read about how kids with ADD have been able to concentrate better after cutting out sugar and am wondering if the same applies to regular people.

    So, you guys have any low-carb college stories to share?
    Kriskris.com

  • #2
    I'm not in college now (I do have a master's degree, though), but my job requires me to remember lots of information and I am finding my brain fog to be lifting substantially with primal. One thing that really seems to be helping is magnesium. I'm using magnesium taurate by Cardiovascular Research and feel much calmer, focused and on top of my game. I also take vitamin D and fish oil. I think the increased fats that are present in the primal WOE really help with brain function also. I used to have a steel trap memory and had found myself in such a fog that I couldn't remember anything. So glad that this is much improved.
    True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington. ~Anonymous
    The worst carrot is better than the best candybar.--TornadoGirl

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    • #3
      Personally, I think you'll do better mentally low carb, but I'm only going by my own experience. I low carbed in graduate school and was at the 'top of my game.' I had much less mental fatigue and found myself with more energy and was more focused.

      Before I retired, I was a college professor who low carbed as a long-term way of eating, and, again, I was mentally sharp. Even at my advanced age, I had no problems at all with concentration or memory (short or long-term).

      Recently, I had a problem with headaches, and the neurologist commented when he looked at the films that my brain was superb--and he didn't even see any sign of age-related negative changes that would be expected at my age.

      So low carb, in my experience, is good for mental health.

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      • #4
        Only thing I would say is if you have a big transition to make from how you're eating now, time that for a vacation. I found I had a few weeks during the transition where my short-term memory went walkabout completely. Things had to be written down or they were gone.

        Nowadays - not in college, but work requires plenty of thinking at the same sort of level, and all the cogs seem to be turning as normal.

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        • #5
          if you're not doing PB to lose weight, but just be healthy, there is no reason for you to be low carb. which carbs you are eating is obviously important--no wheat, sugar, etc.--so you can eat potatoes and such if you feel like you need that little extra.
          from personal experience with PB, though, i can say that i have way more energy than i ever have before, and i wish i had this kind of mental stamina when i was in college.
          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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          • #6
            Try some l-tyrosine or piracetam if mental focus is an issue - but my advice would be not to compromise your college performance if you are not yet adapted to a paleo/primal lifestyle - eat your carbs, just make them good ones.

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            • #7
              How has it affected your sleep? I suffer from mild insomnia and I wouldn't mind getting some improvement in that department..
              Kriskris.com

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alex_the_iron View Post
                Try some l-tyrosine or piracetam if mental focus is an issue - but my advice would be not to compromise your college performance if you are not yet adapted to a paleo/primal lifestyle - eat your carbs, just make them good ones.
                I don't believe in nootropics. I think they only work temporarily. Plus I've tried l-tyrosine and for some reason it made me feel like crap, and piracetam is illegal where I live so it's not sold here and I can't get it through customs.
                Kriskris.com

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                • #9
                  AFter the first few weeks I think my brain function is better, but I wouldnt transition fast during school time. Switch to equal carbs from good sources and then ramp back slowly if you want to.
                  MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                  "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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                  • #10
                    I'm an attorney and I function better on low carb / very low carb. It takes about a week or two, though. My brain functions the absolute best while fasting. I typically fast the day before trial or an argument.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by krassi View Post
                      I don't believe in nootropics. I think they only work temporarily. Plus I've tried l-tyrosine and for some reason it made me feel like crap, and piracetam is illegal where I live so it's not sold here and I can't get it through customs.
                      fair enough.

                      dark chocolate then?

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                      • #12
                        Are there nootropic effects from dark chocolate?
                        Kriskris.com

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                        • #13
                          I'm in college! And I don't think I could have my GPA (or even be in college..) if I wasn't eating primally - my mood has improved so much and I'm not tired anymore, staying focused is much easier.
                          The only issue is going through the carb flu in college. I picked 3 day weekend or breaks to cut something out - on breaks I could cut out everything, on a weekend I'd start with say grains, the next weekend caffeine, etc.

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                          • #14
                            Oh! And on sleep, again, the carb flu - sleep sucks.
                            Try 100-200mg of GABA about an hour before bed, it increases serotonin (helps with strees/mood) and helps you sleep right through the night.

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                            • #15
                              I started PB in July. I’m not VLC, I usually range between 50-100 grams a day. I started graduate school in August, at age 41, after being out of college for over 10 years. I also have a full-time job. The transition to learning and synthesizing information again, rather than just functioning, was rather difficult. However, I did find that the mind fog I sometimes used to experience at work was gone, and I was able to concentrate on both work and school with no problems.

                              During the stress of finals and writing 20 page term papers again, my blood sugar stayed stable. I didn’t find myself eating crap, and I really think that helped my concentration. Also, I’m not constantly hungry like I was on my CW diet, so I can make it through night classes without wanting to chew on a chair.
                              Food should be fun--Thomas Keller

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