High Fat and Low Carb Diet… I Did It For My Brain! – Insulin resistance And The Brain

High Fat and Low Carb Diet… I Did It For My Brain! – Insulin resistance And The Brain

For the longest time, I was very misinformed about high fat and low carb diet. Reason being, I figured this was a keto diet and not sustainable long term. Which is not the case. The plan I follow doesn’t restrict me from having off days when I am out with family and friends.

The key reason I switched to high fat and low carb diet was to keep my brain healthy and at optimal performance. Yes! I did this all for my brain. Reason being, high consumption of carbs is one of the factors for insulin resistance. Which leads to heart disease, diabetes, cognitive degeneration and eventual memory loss. And guess who has a 76% chance of developing type 2 diabetes according to 23AndMe report… This guy! In my opinion, all illness can be prevented or there is some sort of effective treatment for others. However, once the brain goes, there is no coming back. This scares me the most!

Note: I am leaving the protein out of this conversation because, for me, it’s easy to calculate the amount of protein I need per day. Since I workout and my workouts are intense, I aim for around 0.8g to 1g of protein per pound of body weight. The rest is all carbs and fat.

A Little Back Story

I am a very healthy, and fit 31 years old male living in Toronto with a job in the tech industry (basically I spend the majority of my working hours behind a monitor and at a desk). Because I work out and live an active lifestyle, I am in great shape. As a gym nut, I always believed in consuming high carb, high protein and low-fat diet to maintain my physique all year round.

So, it turns out I was wrong. I am not nearly as active to justify the number of carbs I was consuming. To give you an idea, I do strength and aerobic training for 9 hours per week and walk briskly for an additional 30 minutes per day. Which equates to a total of 12.5 hours of strenuous exercise per week. Yet, I consumed 45% carbs, 35% protein, and 20% fat each day on a 2500 calorie/day diet (I am 5′ 5″ and weigh 140 lbs).

So What Happened

My wife and I listen to the podcast “Something you should know” on our car rides. And on this particular episode, they had Dr Steven Masley on the phone. Dr. Masley was discussing his book “The Better Brain Solution“, where he breaks down the causes of cognitive degeneration and how to prevent early mental decline. (Note: in my opinion, I think everyone should read this book, especially those that are over the age of 40 –  as the main premise of this book is the relationship between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s/dementia) What caught my attention was that when Dr Masley said, mental decline is not just happening to older adults, rather it’s happening to younger and younger adults, starting in their 30s. I was shocked to hear this. Mental decline starting in our 30s?

If you want to listen to the podcast here are the links for Android and Apple

What I Learned

I did some more digging on what I had heard and the more I looked into this, the more it made sense.

So I bought Dr Masley’s “The Better Brain Solution“. It turns out, the same causes that lead to heart disease, also lead to cognitive degeneration and eventually dementia and Alzheimers. The root cause is insulin resistance.

How do carbs play into this? Well according to Dr Masely, we over-consume carbs on the regular, while living a sedentary lifestyle. He states, other than some of the athletes that visit his clinic, no one else should be consuming the number of carbs we consume on the standard America diet.

Why Should We Not Be Consuming Carbs The Way We Do?

Well, that’s because carbs metabolize into blood sugar known as glucose and the body burns glucose for energy. The excess glucose is converted into glycogen and is stored primarily in muscle and liver. When the body needs energy, it quickly burns the glycogen. However, when there is excess glycogen, after storing in the muscle and liver, the body stores it as fat for long term usage. This leads to insulin resistance, which leads to cardiovascular disease and cognitive degeneration.

If one has an APOE E4 gene, they should be more concerned about this, since they are highly susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia. I didn’t understand the implication of the APOE E4 check on 23AndMe until I read The Better Brain Solution.

So Why Are Healthy Fats Good For You?

It turns out, our brain by weight is more than 60% fat, of which 40% is made of omega-3. That means you need to consume healthy fats for a better brain. By consuming more of these good/smart fats, we improve our hormone levels and decrease inflammation. Thus, leading to better blood sugar and insulin levels. Which ultimately allows for a better brain and heart.

Also, when you consume good fats and avoid the bad fats, your body learns to not store fat, because it’s getting enough already. So you end up with a better body, along with a healthy brain and heart.

Note: Good Fats are fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines. Bad Fats are hydrogenated fats (trans fats); fats from animals that are not grass-fed – since the feed is loaded with pesticides and hormones (these toxins are stored in the animal’s fat) and are transferred to us when we consume animal fats.

What Have I Done To Address This?

Well, now I have switched to 55% Good Fat, 25% Carbs and 20% Protein on a 2500 calorie/day plan. And I must say, I’ve actually seen a drastic change in my energy level and mental functions. Also, it’s much easier for me to stay in shape. Of course, I combine the new plan with various other suggestions made by Dr Masely’s in his book, such as intermittent fasting, and working out 6 days a week (strength and aerobic).

If you are interested in figuring out how to calculate your required calories and the macros, check out Lose Stomach Fat Naturally – What Worked For Me! – I have gone into detail and broken down the macro and calorie calculation process.

I am grateful I came across the podcast and eventually Dr Masely’s book. It has changed my life for the better.

In my opinion, everyone should read The Better Brain Solution. Not only does Dr Masely outline a solution to having a healthier brain and lifestyle. He also debunks a bunch of misinformation when it comes to a healthy diet, plus the marketing schemes and loopholes in the regulations the food industry exploits to push unhealthy food on us. This is a must-read for everyone!

Related Articles: How Much Protein Should I Eat Daily? And My Top 5 Best Sources. | Full Body Workout Routine For Women and Men

10 thoughts on “High Fat and Low Carb Diet… I Did It For My Brain! – Insulin resistance And The Brain

  1. This is a great review! I’ve heard of keto but I just can’t go there. I love my carbs and in fact, if I take them out almost completely, I get sick. This sounds like a much better ratio. I just bought the book. I’m looking forward to a great summer and feeling energized!

    1. I am glad this post helped you. I love my food too and can’t think of getting rid of carbs completely. I think it’s better to have a healthy lifestyle that allows you to eat the food you love all your life.

      The book is amazing, it will shine more light on healthy lifestyle and he backs it with update scientific research. Let me know what you think of the book and how it helps you.

  2. Great article, there was a ton of information I did not know about carbs.
    I may have to look at cutting out some carbs. I am a carb junky for sure, so I can’t completely cut them out. But I will try.
    I love the layout and the pics where great too.
    Good job!

    1. Hi Coralie,

      In the beginning I thought it would be hard too. But it wasn’t as hard as I made it out in my head. One thing that helped me the most was to plan my meals for the week in advance. Also I never let myself fell guilty if I indulged on the weekends.

      Let me know how it goes for you.

  3. Hi.
    Thank you very much for these Pieces of information.
    Do you have any newsletter op-tin, so that I won’t miss any of your posts?
    If so, reply me back :). Thank you

  4. Way to go! I totally agree that scaling way back on the carbs and upping the good fats is the way to go.
    I was able to eliminate my brain fog eating a ketogenic diet and I great results with all blood work. One of my brothers and one sister as well as my moms father all had type 2 diabetes, so I am happy to have positive test results.

    I find more and more books written by neurologists recommending a low carb diet, so if they think it is good thing then it probably is.

    Did you have any issues when you started low carb eating?

    1. Surprisingly I had no issues when I cut down on my carbs. In fact I felt even more energetic… no wild swings in my energy levels through out the day. After about a month I really started noticing the improvements in my ability to focus and my mental function. I now joke around that in any given room I may not be the most smartest person but I probably am the sharpest.

      I had a bit of difficulty when I started incorporating intermittent fasting. But I was able to optimize that by playing around with my nutritional intake, mainly the consumption of salt. I’ll write about why I decided to incorporate intermittent fasting and what I did to make it work for me soon.

      Btw if your family members have Type 2 diabetes you should tell them to read The Better Brain Solution. It will help them bring it under control.

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