Why You Crave Carbohydrates

I recently went to a local Christmas craft fair. It was delightful, in a tinsel-tat sort of way. The food stall was the main attraction, for me, so I quickly made my way over, hoping to discover something new and special. Alas no, it was the usual cake fest. Don’t get me wrong: there’s no denying the artistry of the craft. But there’s also no denying the artistry of how sugar creates cravings that lead to overeating, however pretty the presentation.

The one, non-sugary offering was artisanal bread. I rarely eat bread, or indeed any starchy carbohydrate, but it did look very good, in a homespun way. I wasn’t alone in my thinking. Mr Cross suggested we buy a loaf and keep it in the freezer, “for guests”. I know a cunning ruse when I hear one, but on this occasion I willingly played along.

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This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Cut Out Carbohydrates

Treatment for mental health conditions is not always effective. Sometimes the meds work, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, science has to look beyond the usual parameters for the solutions needed.

That’s why, between 2019 and 2020, French psychiatrists carried out an experiment on adults with “severe, persistent mental illness”. These various illnesses included major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. Their symptoms had responded poorly to intensive drug treatment.

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How to Combat Depression… With Fat

The human brain is often likened to a computer. I don’t know why; it’s nothing like a computer. Break open a head and you will see that the organ within is just a lump of wobbly fat. Yet it took millions of years of human evolutionary biology to fine tune that lardy lump. It runs entirely on what you feed it.
The dry weight of the brain is 60% fat. The rest of it is cholesterol (also very important) and protein (ditto). No other organ contains so much fat or needs it so much. Without it, the brain simply cannot function.

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BDNF: The Brain Protein That Protects From Depression

This protein is involved in the process of creating new neurons and is crucial for their protection and survival. It is involved in brain plasticity and regulates inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters.

BDNF is very much involved in maintaining mood.

Without sufficient BDNF, you are at risk of, among others, major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder. The lower the BDNF level, the more severe the symptoms.

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Forget Cholesterol. It’s Your Homocysteine Level That Matters

While cholesterol remains a contentious issue – for good reason – there’s nothing contentious about homocysteine. A high level is a known risk factor for the development of dementia (especially Alzheimer’s), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In most people, homocysteine is easily controlled, without the use of medication. That so few people know about it is nothing short of a scandal.

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