Published:

Grain Brain

Authors: David Perlmutter, MD, and Kristin Loberg (contributor) (Little, Brown and Company 2013)



In his new book, Dr. Perlmutter claims that sugar and gluten have a role in everything from chronic headaches and insomnia to depression, epilepsy, ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Billed as a four-week plan to improve brain health, Grain Brain encourages readers to restrict carbohydrates to 30 to 40 grams a day with a maintenance level of 60 grams daily thereafter. Participants are encouraged to get adequate sleep and at least 30 minutes of exercise five times per week. Multiple supplements including coconut oil, probiotics, resveratol and vitamin D are suggested for daily intake. The plan is designed to induce ketosis, as the author suggests that ketones are “far more effective fuel for the brain.”

Grain Brain challenges longstanding beliefs about what constitutes a healthy diet. Not only are gluten- and sugar-containing foods eliminated, but “healthy carbohydrates” such as whole-grain bread, beans and fruit are demonized and regarded as poisonous to the brain. Perlmutter extolls newer research that suggests a ketogenic diet (higher-fat, very-low-carbohydrate diet) is neuroprotective, yet he disregards the potential drawbacks of such an extreme diet regimen.

This plan is quite restrictive and may be difficult for the average person to master. The daily supplement regimen can also make it expensive to maintain. More research is needed on the impact of ketogenic diets and other diet regimens on brain health. However, a key takeaway would be to cut back on excess carbohydrates and embrace heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts and olives without fear as research suggests these fats boost heart and brain health.

More Articles

Veggie Stir Fry Made With Millet

Veggie Stir Fry Made With Millet

The rich, corn-like flavor will add a delicious je ne sais quoi to your meal.
Easy Homemade Granola

Easy Homemade Granola

I love granola. It's convenient, has that crunchy-salty-sweet thing going on, and can be a high-fiber, low-sugar snack. Unfortunately, a lot of store-bought brands are high in added sugar, filled with strange ingredients, and devoid of fiber. So instead of relying on other people to create the perfect granola, take control and make it at home with your favorite mix of ingredients!
Spring Forward: Farm Bill Updates and Challenges

Spring Forward: Farm Bill Updates and Challenges

Unfortunately, the 2012 farm bill never made it past the House of Representatives. The farm bill is supposed to encompass a lot of different elements, including food stamps (along with SNAP — a supplemental nutrition program) and legislators couldn’t agree on funding so the bill expired in September 2012. Currently, the 2008 bill is chugging along until the deadline of September 30, 2013, and with that extension, a whole new bill needs written as automatic spending cuts are starting.


blog comments powered by Disqus

View The Current Issue

The latest news and resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Read More.

Tweets from Nutrition Experts