Ask Dr. Salerno Health

Memory Improves on a Fat Fast

Memory Improves on a Fat FastA word from Dr. Salerno’s desk about improved memory on the Fat Fast:

Several of my weight loss patients have reported the same encouraging findings to me. After a few weeks on the fat fast, not only has their waistline gone down, but their memory has improved.

Many of them attribute this to the fact that they have more energy and feel better, but studies are showing that there is a direct and very real connection between an extremely low carbohydrate diet and the improvement of short-term memory.

On the Fat Fast, the body, deprived of carbohydrates begins to burn fats in a state that’s called “ketosis”. Ketones provide fuel for the body and the brain, and in a study recently completed in England, it was seen that patients who exhibited “mild cognitive impairment) reduced brain function associated with aging but not severe enough to be called dementia or Alzheimer’s, showed a marked memory improvement in as little as six weeks on the ketogenic diet.

Verbal memory was what improved.  You know what that is.  You can remember something, but you can’t call it up. Those on the ketogenic diet soon saw they could call up words and ideas involving abstractions with marked improvement.

Some people are afraid of ketosis and assume that a body burning a lot of fat for energy must be a bad thing. However, there is no indication from studies that this is the case. Yes, in the first week on the Fat Fast, you may have a few rocky days, but stay with it and you’ll see the benefit.

When the body releases ketones, which happens when the liver works to turn fats into fatty acids that can be used to provide energy to the body, the main side effect the patient may notice is a strange taste in their mouth, a kind of fruity, peculiar taste. This is nothing to be alarmed about.  This is your body in fat-burning mode.

This is good news for all our Baby Boomer patients who often attribute their memory problems to stress, overwork, too much time at the computer, and a host of other things.

What if the plain truth is that too much sugar and starch in the diet is robbing them of their memory. These recent studies suggest that may be exactly the case.

Ketones fuel the brain and enhance cognitive brain function. Other benefits to staying on the fat fast include weight loss, waist circumference reduction as well as reductions in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels.

Carbohydrate restriction,  is not only good for your body, but also your brain. Go for it.