A big part of the ketogenic lifestyle is the focus on staying away from highly processed foods that contain high amounts of hydrogenated oils and sugar “alternatives,” like breads and pastas, condiments, margarine, vegetable oils, soda, dessert items and fruit juices. Instead, it’s advised to eat a diet high in fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates (the ratio is approximately 60:35:5). This is because, per evolutionary history, humans have existed off of animal flesh, fats, and naturally occurring carbohydrates from plants (not grains) for several hundreds of thousands of years, and only recently have we been told that a diet consisting of mainly grain-based products and low in fat is “good for us.” Seems simple enough, right? Maybe not.
You see, most foods you find at grocery stores that don’t fall under the “fresh produce” or “meat” sections will inevitably fall under this other category of highly processed, sugar-laden foods. Most of these foods contain the toxin High Fructose Corn Syrup, a sort of frankenstein sugar alternative that has been proven time and time again to be harmful to human health and longevity. Ketchup or other condiments? Most brands contain high fructose corn syrup. Bread? Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and questionable grain origins, possibly laced with bleach. Fruit juice? Made mostly of sugar and fructose, with low amounts of fiber. These sorts of things are not natural to the human diet and, in excess, are linked to a wide variety of health problems, including diabetes type 2, obesity, heart disease and now, impaired cognitive function.
A new study from UCLA suggests that consuming foods that are high in fructose (natural or otherwise) can negatively impact the way you learn and remember information. The main focus of the study was placed upon high fructose corn syrup, which you can learn all about in my previous post featuring a video lecture given by Dr. Robert Lustig, MD, on the toxic nature of sugar. The study also suggests that adding foods into your diet that are high in omega-3 can help to counteract these negative effects. Salmon to the rescue!
So, cramming for finals last minute and need some way to stay awake? It’s probably best to avoid soda, fruit juice, and other foods that are high in fructose. As the UCLA study suggests, these foods can actually make your dumber as you consume more, whereas adding a good amount of fat into your diet can help improve your cognitive abilities. So, craving eggs and bacon for breakfast? Toss that sugary bowl of cereal out the window and revel in the goodness of these traditional power foods! And hey, you might even do better on that biology exam you’ve been dreading for the past few months than you previously thought.