Donald Layman PhD, professor of human nutrition at the University of Illinois, has said: “Carbohydrates are the only nutrients that exist solely to fuel the body.” Carbs are absolutely essential for brain function. Although the body can use proteins, fats, or carbohydrates for energy, brain cells reportedly prefer glucose from carbs almost exclusively as a source of energy. Due to rapid metabolism—levels fall during periods of intense cognitive processing—the brain requires minute-to-minute glucose. Studies on all types of people have shown improved mental ability after a meal high in carbs, which raises concerns about the long-term impact on the brain from “low-carb” dieting. Healthier carbs, however, are better than hhighly refined carbs such as sugar and white flour and processed foods made from them. High-sugar foods and beverages can trigger a glucose spike in the brain, usually followed by a dramatic low. Much like a roller-coaster, this fluctuating pattern of glucose highs and lows can be deadly for many brain functions while also causing low-grade inflammation. More tomorrow.