There is a lot of research talking about how carbohydrates—wheat, flour, sugar—are bad for you. Bad for your waistline, bad for your energy levels, bad for your heart health… the list goes on and on. What many people don’t talk about, however, is the relation between carbohydrates and your brain. Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, MD, discusses that very correlation with detailed evidence and descriptions supporting the hypothesis that carbs are destroying your brain.
Dr. Perlmutter gets to the point right from the start of the book. “Brain disease can be largely prevented through the choices you make in life,” he states in the introduction of Grain Brain. His book is filled with studies and scientific evidence that states that not only are carbs bad for your body and weight, but they are bad for your brain. His approach is strict and brutal: cut out all carbs (including supposedly healthy whole grains) to save your brain.
Our modern society has moved from using food to maintain a healthy body to using medicine to fix a broken one. Not only is this thinking flawed, it’s also not effective, as we are encountering more and more illnesses that cannot be fixed or cured, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but the foods we consume today, including grains, are not the same foods that we consumed even 70 years ago. Therefore, our genes are ill-equipped to process things like flour, sugar, low-fat foods... basically, anything processed.
Most of what we are told to eat, according to Dr. Perlmutter, is grossly flawed. He maintains that our bodies thrive when given good fats, and that humans actually don’t need carbs to survive. Everything that we’ve learned about fat being bad, needing statin drugs to regular cholesterol…Dr. Perlmutter states that this way of thinking is exactly what has diminished our health and our brains.
Our brains need fat, and cholesterol, to survive. Take that fat out of our diets and the brain muscle starts losing its strength. Dr. Perlmutter describes many patients he has seen who have come to him with various brain-related issues who, after cutting carbs out of their diets, have seen a dramatic change in their bodies.
This book is ideal for those who have an interest in maintaining a healthy body, fixing a “broken” one with diet and healthy habits, or those who are curious about what carbohydrates do to your brain. Dr. Perlmutter is extensive and thorough in his explanations, but does a great job of explaining himself without tons of scientific jargon. He also outlines a 4 week plan of action to start moving your body in a healthy direction, complete with recipes at the end of the book.
So, what do you think? Are you avoiding carbs? What's the greatest challenge you face in maintaining a really healthy diet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!