Monday, October 31, 2016

Carb-Brain Link

Your body is a complex and world-class organization. Its primary source of energy is carbohydrates that it breaks down into glucose, which forms the fuel your brain, central nervous system, red-blood cells, and muscles require, to name just a few. Eating fewer healthier carbs may not be the ticket. Eating moderate amounts of healthier carbs likely is. They help supply your brain and body with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which impacts appetite, mood, and sleep, among other things. It’s a cascade effect: eat healthier carbs, blood-sugar levels rise appropriately, and insulin is released to help the amino acid tryptophan move into the brain where it ultimately creates serotonin. Too few carbs and too little serotonin can contribute to fatigue, irritability—and may even lead to depression. Too few healthy carbs may be one of the reasons that habitual dieters may have low serotonin levels in both their brain and gastrointestinal tract—a situation that can lead to bingeing.

Limiting carbs too severely or for too long a period of time is unwise and may force the body to steal from muscles or other body organs or try to use proteins and fats in an attempt to find fuel to power its many functions. There is even concern about the potential long-term impact on brain function that may result from a failure to give it sufficient amounts of high quality healthier carbs on a regular basis.

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