Some studies are being conducted evaluating the effects of low carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, on cognitive ability. Brain function on a low carb diet may be impaired because glucose is the nutrient used by the brain for energy and the brain is not capable of storing glucose, but is depended on the bodies production of this nutrient.
Many low carb diets restrict intake to as little as 20 grams per day, while the RDA for carbs is at least 130 grams (taking into account the brains energy needs).
One study compared long and short term memory, spatial memory, and visual attention of women prior to beginning a low carb diet, post low carb diet, and after reintroduction of carbs. Those following a low carb diet had a gradual decline in memory performance and slower reaction time on all tests. Interestingly, attention span was improved on the low carb diet.
Fortunately, memory skills and scores returned to normal after carbohydrates were reintroduced.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight