A questions about carbs, glycogen and brain function
(And I just noticed the typo in the post title, should read 'a question', not 'questions'. See what I mean about brain-not-awake? )
I did a quick google search of MDA.com for info on this. The subject has been discussed at length, but mostly from a exercise, endurance training, fat loss etc point of view. That's not my issue here.
I'm at my desired weight and body composition. Right now my goals are just to maintain both. I don't have very ambitious fitness goals at this time. I find I'm happy with what I consider to be fairly light exercise- 2-3hrs of brisk walking per day.
My main issue is just managing my brain, not my fat percentage or weight. I have dysthymia and ADHD and I am on medication for both. I've discovered that I am SO much happier and less stressed/depressed/ADHD-y when I don't eat a whole lot of carbs. Right now I'm doing about 40-50g, where 95% of those are from leafy greens and raw vegetables like tomatos, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, etc. The other 5% are coming from little 1-2g bits in cheese, shellfish, etc. (I am not a strict paleo adherent either. I don't shun dairy as a lot of cheese is very high in tyrosine, which converts to dopamine. ADHD and my form of depression are based in a dopamine deficiency.)
But I do completely avoid grains, fruit, all forms of sugar and starch, etc. I don't do nuts as they don't agree with me. Sugar alcohols annoy my stomach, but I do ok with splenda and stevia for sweeteners.
My body and my health issues are responding beautifully to this lower carb schema.
I'm finding that even with plenty of sleep- and eating at calorie balance- I'm having issues with keeping my brain AWAKE. I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open and my brain focused. I was mystified as to why- as I said, LOTS of sleep, and I'm not starving myself at all, I'm not even trying to lose weight period.
But then I read a random comment on Mark's 'Glucose and Human Energy' post. A commenter said "just eat enough carbs to fuel high intensity exercise and to keep your brain awake."
So can the brain only run on glycogen? I'm not eating a ton of carbs, but surely it's enough glycogen to fuel moving at a fairly slow pace for a few hours AND running my brain. And can't excess protein be broken down to make more glycogen? Can't the brain run on ketones anyway? I don't get this, lol. I don't understand how glycogen, carbs and brain function interrelate.
Basically I don't want to eat any more carbs. Carbs make me unhappy- in both literal and figurative ways. My life is better without carbs.
But do I have to eat more damn carbs to STAY AWAKE or what?
Anyway, I thought you knowledgeable people would know all about this stuff.
Just in case it's relevant, here's my current data:
I'm a girl, I'm 32 years old.
5'6", 120lbs, average to light build
I eat about 1800-2000kcal per day
I also habitually IF for most of the day and eat within a four hour window of 4pm-8pm. Food can interfere with some of my medications, so it's just logistically easier to eat later in the day. I've been doing this for about a year without problems, though previously I ate about 40g more carbs per day.
Last edited by CandylandCanary; 04-30-2012 at 08:14 AM.
Getting my Grok on in the Pacific Northwest.
"C is for cookie, that's good enough for me."
"Cookie is a sometimes food."
"Sometimes cookie monster eat APPLE instead of COOKIE. Sometimes eat CARROT."
-Cookie Monster, partially reformed sugarholic