Danny Lieberman, founder of Pathcare, the private social network for healthcare that enables physicians to care for more patients with less stress in less time brings some interesting research that challenges conventional wisdom on what foods are healthy.
The role of pasta in improving cognitive performance
The research paper “Nutritional effects on cognitive performance” by Lindseth et al, originally presented at the Military Health Research Forum (MHRF) in 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri presents a study of the effects of nutrition on combat pilot performance.
The repeated-measures, randomized crossover study showed that high-carb and/or high-fat diets can improve cognitive performance.
Diets high in carbohydrates or fat can lead to significantly better cognitive-performance and inflight-testing scores in pilots than diets high in protein. Overall flight performance scores for pilots consuming high-fat diets and high-carbohydrate diets were significantly better (p < .05) than pilots who consumed high-protein diets.
With all the talk recently about obesity and the importance of wellness programs in the workplace – educating employees to exercise more and eat better, it was surprising to me that high carb diets are good for cognitive performance.
In addition, a high-carbohydrate diet helped study pilots sleep better, and a high-fat diet appeared to lead to significantly faster short-term memory.
“We started out thinking that the high-protein diet would lead to being the sharpest afterward,” said colead investigator Glenda Lindseth, RN, PhD, licensed registered dietician and professor of nursing at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks. “But we were surprised by our findings that it was actually the high-carb or high-fat diets that were the best.
Eating a diet that’s high in protein just isn’t going to help you perform optimally.”