How Your Productivity Is Determined by What You Eat

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Every 7 years our body will change completely. This means that each and everyone of your cells will have been renewed and exchanged for another one that your body has produced. I was always amazed by this. And science suggests that this gives us a unique chance to change and erase any mistakes we’ve made in the past. How? Through a focus on the food we eat.

Fortunately we don’t have to wait 7 years. Day-to-day changes to our diet can have a massive impact on our productivity. Something like this:

“Adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.” ~ WHO

When I grew up, there were tons of cliché wisdoms thrown at me. Eat at least 5 different fruit every day. Drink plenty of water. Eat 3 separate meals every day. Do this , do that, that’s “healthy”. I realized recently that most of this I’ve just taken for granted and never looked into it.

Whilst we have uncovered the 2 other major factors that contribute to your productivity, explaining how much sleep we really need and how science looks at the impact of exercise on our brain, it’s time to tackle the probably hardest and most ongoing challenge we all face: nutrition.

How foods interact with your brain

One of the most fascinating things about eating is how various ingredients enter your brain through your blood stream. Whichever elements make it through to power your brain will help you to either focus or lose focus.

Most of what we eat will be broken down to one thing: Glucose. Glucose is our fuel, keeping our brains awake and alert. So at all times, we have a certain glucose level in our blood, kind of like gasoline in a car.

The most important part here is that we are in full control of how we release glucose to our blood and our brains. Certain foods release glucose quickly, whilst others do so more slowly, yet sustainably. For your brain researcher Leigh Gibson found this to be optimal:

“The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream — about the amount found in a banana.”

And this is the tricky part: the way you can get those 25 grams of glucose into your blood stream is pretty easy. You can eat a donut. Or you can eat a small bowl of oats. There is virtually no difference in the very short term for your brain activity.

Over the stretch of a normal 8 hour day however, the differences are spectacular. After eating the donut, we will release glucose into our blood very quickly. We will have about 20 minutes of alertness. Then our glucose level will drop rapidly, leaving you unfocused and easy to distract. It’s like putting the foot down on the gas pedal until you’ve used all your fuel.

The oats on the other hand will release their sugar as glucose much slower. This means we will have a steady glucose level, better focus and attention levels. Another important factor are your Leptin levels. Leptin will signal to your brain how full you are. If you are now guessing that a donut won’t signal your brain to be full for a long time, whilst oats will, well, you are right:

What we are also measuring here as the difference between a donut and a bowl of oats is called your “glycemic index”, coined by the Franklin Institute:

“Foods with a low glycemic index number gradually release glucose into your bloodstream. This gradual release helps minimize blood sugar swings and optimizes brainpower and mental focus”

In fact, the lowest glycemic index of all comes from Soy, at only 18 and the highest comes with white rice of 88 or jelly beans at 80. Thorin over at Lifehacker also looked into some more longterm insights of how eating affects your brain.

What really matters with eating: when, where, and who you’re with

That’s funny now. We’re going through all this stuff about blood streams and brain fuelling only to find out it doesn’t actually matter?

Rest assured, it still matters, yet the context of when, where and with whom we eat has an equally powerful impact on our eating activities and hence our creativity.

Let’s start with the “when”. The most important part here, is that you make sure you are never hungry. To put this better: Hungry judges give in fact harsher sentences.

For our case, being hungry, or skipping breakfast can ruin several hours of your productivity until you get your first bite. Let’s take a look at this study:

All the children in a class were told to skip breakfast one morning, and then, by random assignment, half of the children were given a good breakfast at school. The others got nothing. During the first part of the morning, the children who got breakfast learned more and misbehaved less (as judged by monitors who didn’t know which children had eaten). Then, after all the students were given a healthy snack in the middle of the morning, the differences disappeared as if by magic.

Eric Barker, one of the best productivity and lifehack bloggers out there, put it like this:

“Across the board, yeah, food puts you in a better mood. To be more exact, research has shown that 2 cheeseburgers = one orgasm.”

Using context to control your eating is one of the most important aspects. If you are like me, you always end up eating portions that are too big, which makes me overly full at lunch and very tired a few hours afterwards.

One of the best proven techniques here is to eat from a smaller plate. Why? Because Delboeuf has told us so a long time ago with his illusion experiment of thinking the right circle looks bigger:

 

The portion on the smaller plate will always fill you up more. This can make the difference of 1 hour of productivity gained each day, simply by reducing the size of your plate and being less full. Joining the small plate movement is definitely something worth trying.

Another aspect comes in regarding the people you are with as Barker points out:

“Eating with overweight friends? You’ll eat more. Is your waitress overweight? You’ll eat more. Are you a woman eating with a man? You’ll eat less. Wide variety of food? You’ll eat more.”

 

3 most important aspects to get the most out of eating food

It’s time to get our hands dirty. I think we’ve got a basic understanding of how food determines our daily productive output. But what are the best ways forward to act on this information?

  • Reorganize the positioning of food stored in your cupboard:  One of the most interesting aspects about eating is that we are extremely likely to eat what is in close sight. In fact famous researcher Brian Wansink mentions that “You are 3 times more likely to eat the first thing you see in your cupboard than the fifth thing you see.” Make sure you organize your food in way that brain powering foods get more exposure. It’s an incredible trick to start eating better food that will give you more daily alertness.
  • Learn to graze: From the first section in this post, we’ve learnt that the brain needs very specifically portioned amounts of food. Too much will give you a spike that rapidly declines. Too little won’t bring your brain up to speed. A great way to go about it, I’ve found, is to make your 3 daily meals a bit smaller (potentially by making the plates smaller). And then add 2 very specific, healthy snacks in between meals to keep your brain plugging away at full speed. This way you don’t have to change your core habits too much, yet can still fuel up your brain more efficiently.
  • These foods will give your brain the most power: For the whole post, we haven’t actually looked into which kinds of foods you should consume specifically. Here is a great list of brain powering foods, that you can eat, especially for snacking. The WHO particularly emphasizes the following: Dark Chocolate, nuts, seeds; Nuts, seeds, chocolate; Fish
Some further brain powering foods are the following: Blueberries, Raw Carrots, Whole Grains, Avocado

 

Quick last fact: What you eat will also decide your grandchildren’s productivity 

As a last quick tip, here is something that blew my mind. Yes, what you eat will affect your productivity today. But even more so, it will also determine the productivity of your children and grandchildren’s productivity: 

“Evidence indicates that what you eat can affect your grandchildren’s brain molecules and synapses,” Gómez-Pinilla said

What you eat, can according to Gomez-Pinilla rewire your genes, and the more you strengthen the synaptic connections, the better your kids and their kids will perform.

I always had the opinion that I should mostly focus on what I’m eating. Looking into some of these studies, it now seems stupidly obvious to put equal amount of focus on the context of where, with whom and when I’m eating. What were your findings when it comes to improving your productivity through diet? I’d love any thoughts you have in the comments below!

 

About the Author

Leo Widrich

Co-founder and CMO at Buffer. I enjoy writing about lifehacks, social media tips and updates to Buffer. For some more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • http://twitter.com/louisblythe Louis Blythe

    Great Article Guys!

    I am a big believer in the power of the food you eat having a direct effect on your day to day productivity.

    I do most of my writing early in the morning so it is essential for me to chow down on a substantial breakfast.

    I would also suggest consuming large amounts of water to encourage the feeling of fullness while aslo staying hydrated.

    Be Good!

    Louis

    • albeit

      According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, learning to tell the difference between feeling hungry and feeling not full will help you eat less. A constantly full stomach is not necessary if you only eat when you are truly hungry.

      http://www.anewdayanewme.com/ANewDayANewMe/dr-fuhrman-stop-food-addiction-lose-weight-true-hunger-vs-toxic-hunger/

      If one is addicted to sugar, withdrawal symptoms tend to kick in when we get an empty stomach. And go away when we eat something with sugar. Sugar withdrawal is not hunger!

    • LeoWid

      Hi Louis, glad to hear the post was useful! Indeed, I used to skip breakfast for many years, but after I picked up, it made a huge difference in how much I could get done before lunch.

  • Marco

    Excellent work. I can say that my productivity has increased ever since taking on a healtheir diet. Green smoothies, in particular, have been an eye opener. Not only are they healthy, but they provide a hours worth of slow, sustainable energy and focus that I don’t get anywhere else. Well, caffeine maybe, but I try to avoid caffeine.

    • LeoWid

      Hi Marco, thanks for stopping by, I’ve never come across Green smoothies, that sounds very interesting, will have to give them a go!

  • http://twitter.com/socialmotus SocialMotus

    Guys you might want to revise the first part of this article – “Recent research has confirmed that different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues never replace cells. So the statement that we replace every cell in the body every seven years or every ten years is wrong”

    Sources:
    Evidence for Cardiomyocyte Renewal in Humans. Olaf Bergmann, Ratan D. Bhardwaj, Samuel Bernard, Sofia Zdunek, Fanie Barnabé-Heider, Stuart Walsh, Joel Zupicich, Kanar Alkass, Bruce A. Buchholz, Henrik Druid, Stefan Jovinge, and Jonas Frisén. (3 April 2009) Science 324 (5923), 98.
    Dynamics of fat cell turnover in humans. Spalding KL, Arner E, Westermark PO, Bernard S, Buchholz BA, Bergmann O, Blomqvist L, Hoffstedt J, Näslund E, Britton T, Concha H, Hassan M, Rydén M, Frisén J, Arner P. Nature. 2008 Jun 5;453(7196):783-7.

    • LeoWid

      Thanks a lot for the heads up on this, I haven’t come across this study before, will check it out right away, very interesting that in fact some of our cells will stay the same!

  • http://twitter.com/georgekjoy George K Joy

    Great article. For years i used to skip breakfast. Now i know why my productivity is low nowadays Much obliged for the info.

    • LeoWid

      Hi George, awesome to hear that the post was useful. Definitely, breakfast makes a huge difference, let me know how you get on with it!

  • Jonathan Wong

    Great article and very informative. I find bringing snacks like healthy cereals and carrots or something with a crunch helps a lot with a long day.

    Water instead of coffee also keeps you going for longer.

    • LeoWid

      Hi Jonathan, absolutely, I became a big snacker myself, mostly nuts these days, it has definitely worked wonders for keeping energy levels consistent!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bennesvig Ben Nesvig

      Healthy cereal is usually an oxymoron.

  • nthmostfit

    Your article is largely about how modern humans are addicted to sugar.

    All this stuff about glucose and willpower is only useful in the context of the modern sugar/starch diet. These studies you cite (and by the way, citing “a study” but then linking to a book on Amazon isn’t exactly good science netiquette) are mostly predicated on the notion that our bodies can’t mobilize fat for fuel in a fasted state.

    And that is true 99% of the time, because very few of us have gone without carbohydrates for even a single meal. But I am here to tell you, these truisms about willpower, hunger, self-control, etc are *probably* only relevant in the context of a glucose-only metabolism… and that this is not man’s natural state.

    You guys are into lifehacker-y stuff, right? So try an experiment.

    Try eating nothing but fat and protein for 10 days. You’ll reach a low energy point at days 4 through 6 where your brain is transitioning over to ketones for fuel, but after that point you’ll rebound and feel fine.

    On days 7 and 8, you’ll notice that it doesn’t matter if you’re hungry — you can function just fine. It doesn’t matter if you skip breakfast — your energy level is just fine.

    I’m not advocating for magic, here… just a little temperance and skepticism in the face of all of this glucose addiction.

    I’m not anti-carbs, by the way. I just think there’s a great deal of value in becoming fat-adapted, and I would like to see more science done on people who aren’t addicted to dietary glucose.

    • Holly

      Amen!!! Brain does much better on fat than carbs but our society has become so addicted to carbs. Dropping grains and sugar from my diet was the best thing I have ever done and have a lot more energy and feel as if a cloud has been lifted!!

      • http://twitter.com/TURNERO Robert Turner

        I feel like articles seem obligated to include whole grains in the list. Wholegrain bread has a glycemic index on a par with table sugar so why are whole grains included in this list?

        • nthmostfit

          Good observation. The answer is: money and public policy.

          Whole grains are certainly NOT more healthy in any significant way as compared to processed grains (and in fact there is much to disrecommend them, but that’s outside the scope of this comment).

          Money: The industry wants to be perceived as promoting “healthy” foods. The industry is rooted in processing grains, which are also extremely cheap. Solution? “Whole grains are better than processed grains”.

          Policy: The government still believes in 1970s notions of heart disease being caused by fat, which is patently untrue (and we’ve known that for decades now), but also sees that people have become obese. What’s the low-fat solution? Tell people to eat more fiber.

          • LeoWid

            ah, very good to know, greatly appreciate the follow up on this!

            From a protein perspective, do whole grains carry more protein though?

          • nthmostfit

            No. You don’t want protein from grains, in any case. Very disadvantageous combinations of amino acids, and in many cases the grains contain absorption-inhibitors.

            Grains are seeds that are “trying” to resist digestion. Their whole construction, both mechanically and chemically, is set up around protecting the grain from the gut of an animal who accidentally ate it while grazing.

          • LeoWid

            Got it, that’s extremely interesting to know, what do you think would be the best sources of protein then?

          • nthmostfit

            What, for an omnivore, or for someone who chooses to arbitrarily restrict their diet in some way?

            The best sources of protein by far — for human consumption, not for animals in general — are eggs, whey protein, and beef (or bison or other wild game). Pea protein isolate gets an honorable mention, but you can’t get enough protein from whole peas to make that a “protein food”.

            I don’t digest milk proteins very well, so I can’t really make use of fractionated whey protein (no matter how well it tests in research), which is why I recommend eating Real Food like this:

            http://thehardcorechef.com/2012/10/17/one-dish-nutrition-manifesto/

            Other great protein sources: birds and fish and shellfish.

            Not so great but keeps people alive: nuts, lentils, legumes, beans, corn, rice.

            Special level of hell for industrial marketing bullshit: soy.

            If it seems like I’m pushing some kind of meat-eating agenda… well, you’d sort of be right… but not on purpose. All of this comes from a combination of reading scientific literature, talking to fitness experts, listening to lectures from high-profile doctors, and doing my own self-experiments.

          • LeoWid

            awesome, awesome, I’m in the middle of learning all this stuff, thanks a ton for your thorough answers.

            Makes a lot of sense, I don’t process milk protein very well. I’ve recently bought a whey protein isolate to give it a try, it is still made from milk but without lactose (I’m sure you know all this anyways) – do you think this gives you the same problems of digesting the protein if you are sensitive to milk?

            Appreciate all your advice!

          • nthmostfit

            Cool. So, here’s the deal with milk. It’s made of part whey, and part casein. Some people who can’t deal with casein can still digest whey protein pretty well. The only way you will know which protein is problematic for you is to try a high-quality whey protein isolate.

            Not all WPI (whey protein isolate) is created equal, and accordingly, not all WPI will digest the same. It’s kind of a trial-and-error process of finding something good for *you*, but in general, buying more expensive brands like IsoPure does tend to pay off in digestibility.

            The real horrorshow crap is what you get from a gym fridge. Turns out, whey protein dissolved in water loses a bit of its magic mojo over a period of hours, so drinking those Monster Milk shakes and whatnot can make your digestive experience with whey all the worse (not to mention the gross preservatives and stuff).

            What’s your goal right now? Actually, if you want some direct advice you can email me (naomi at nthmost dot com).

          • LeoWid

            awesome, yes, I’m struggling even with WPI, I’ve tried 5 different ones so far, so I think I’ll try egg protein? If that doesn’t work, I’m guessing I’ll just stop with the protein in shake form altogether, what do you think?

            I’ve been doing a lot of heavy weight lifting the past half year. I’ve been having lots of nuts (almonds, cashews, etc.), but mainly meat as a protein source, which has worked very well.

            Let me know if you have any thoughts! :)

          • nthmostfit

            Egg protein works pretty well, sure. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s counterproductive to take fractionated proteins most of the time, for most people. I.e. if you’re not a pro or competitive athlete and working out and recovering most of the time, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not eating real food at most meals. The fast-digesting proteins should be reserved for postworkout times only.

            And if it turns out you can’t deal with protein shakes, no big deal. Eat some quickly-digesting protein like eggs and that will be fine.

            Heavy lifting is great! Nuts are ok in moderation, but they’re heavily skewed on the omega-6 end of the essential fatty acid spectrum. Animal protein is great, especially if you can get grass-fed and pastured sources.

            Relatedly, if you’re not already taking a good quality fish or krill oil, you should!

          • http://www.greig.cc/ James Greig

            Hey Leo, just posted a link to his Bulletproof Coffee recipe in another comment, but I thought you might be interested in the Bulletproof approach (Target 50-60% of calories from healthy fats, 20% from protein, and the rest from vegetables)

            http://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-complete-illustrated-one-page-bulletproof-diet/

          • http://adam.shand.net/ Adam Shand

            I’ve now had several friends who couldn’t digest milk very well, yet when they (for a variety of reasons) changed to drinking raw milk they discovered that they were completely fine with it.

            Both homogenisation and pasteurisation of milk make it more difficult for us to digest it. Homogenisation because it makes it harder for our bodies to break down the milk fats Pasteurisation because it kills the enzymes which naturally live in milk and kickstart the digestion process for us.

          • Ilenia Spallino

            just 3 points

            1. you don’t digest milk protein, as everybody do, unless they are not yolk

            the follow are only examples: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24247817
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149181

            2. nuts and legumes not only keeps people alive but also helthy in many ways

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Out-of-hand+nut+consumption+is+associated+with+improved+nutrient+intake+and+health+risk+markers+in+US+children+and+adults%3A+National+Health+and+Nutrition+Examination+Survey+1999-2004
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22614926

            3. meat, maybe, used to be a good source of food in prehystoria, but now it is good only for food industry

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2sgaO44_1c

            I expressevly avoided to full the page of scintific literature about how much beaf is correlated with cardiovascular disease and cancer because it is well known

            PS
            don’t put nuts and corn in the same list because they are complitely different

            propaganda (about the malefit of soy, about unusefulness of full grain etc) is not science

          • http://adam.shand.net/ Adam Shand

            Note that soaking grains (and nuts and seeds) before eating them changes this. The soaking tells the grain that it’s time for it to sprout and it changes it’s chemical structure so that the nutrients become more easily available.

            My first lesson with this was when I was living on a farm and the mice would appear and eat only the just sprouted seeds from the greenhouse. Very frustrating, but they knew which seeds were full of available nutrients and completely ignored the rest!

      • Fati

        I ditto!

    • Kate in Virginia

      The only downside of the low carb lifestyle (other than the fact that it’s really bad for the environment for everyone to each so much animal products) is that there is a lot of scientific evidence connecting a long-term high fat diet with inflammation and cancer. It might not show up in the short term, but the more meat and dairy a culture consumes the higher the cancer rates. Check out Dr. Furhman or Dr Ormish…They have had a lot of success arresting and even reversing heart disease by advocating patients to eat a fruit/vegetable/seed/nuts/beans/legume diet. I know the Eskimos used to have low cancer rates with a high fat diet but it’s been suggested that there was a protective effect by eating all that fish…which very few people can replicate in modern society (especially with high mercury in modern fish).

      To your (long-term) health!

      • Kate in Virginia

        I meant Ornish!

        • LeoWid

          @c76c8a4008f48fee4e018b2169484b55:disqus @1f06d1666e14a4f1a2f3ba774f5fec3d:disqus @nthmostfit:disqus thanks a ton for these amazing comments, I wasn’t aware of a fat only diet and the pros and cons of it! I’ll definitely be reading up on it and see if I can give it go! :)

      • nthmostfit

        That’s funny, because it turns out that vegetarians have far more incidence of cancer than omnivores.

        http://www.bulletproofexec.com/steve-jobs-dr-dean-ornish-and-vegetarian-cancer/

        I’m posting the above link because I don’t have time to refute the entire Ornish complex of beliefs.

        As for inflammation, that’s based on a flawed assumption about saturated fat being responsible for inflammation, which has no basis in scientific fact.

        Largely, the success that Ornish has had in addressing heart disease lies in taking people off a Standard American Diet, which universally sucks, and on to a fiber-rich, whole foods based diet. That’s always going to help in some way. Is it optimal? Hardly. But it is better.

        Want to stay “heart healthy”? Eat lots of fat and protein, minimize plant fats, eat a good amount of fiber, and avoid high-sugar foods… except after lifting heavy weights. :)

        Regardless, I wasn’t advocating a long-term low carb diet — which does indeed have significant downsides (like downregulating thyroid hormone production responsible for things like fertility and fat metabolism). I was advocating for using diet to become fat-adapted, such that when you go without food for some amount of time, you don’t become essentially INSANE from lack of sugar.

    • Vassargirl

      Thanks for writing this reply nthmostfit. The article is outdated. Like so much garbage put out by the ADA. Reads like something from the 80s.

  • http://www.zenmodeler.com/ Jérémie Grodziski

    Hi Leo,

    Nice article. I’m deeply convinced about the impact of healthy food on productivity and overall well-being, as said “garbage in, garbage out”…

    +1 for the green smoothies breakfast, I made the switch 6 months ago and experienced a real increase in my energy level through the morning. That along with a gluten and dairy free diet is one of my best lifestyle change during the last months.

    Have a look at the book “Green for life” from Victoria Boutenko and there is even an app for that :) https://itunes.apple.com/app/green-smoothies/id409966779?mt=8

    Cheers,

    Jérémie.

  • Chipbutty

    If you are going to blog about the impact of nutrition on the brain then you should eat an avocado before you proofread your post.

  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Mandy Kilinskis

    Well, hey. Any excuse to nibble on some chocolate is okay in my book. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/arie.shpanya Arie Shpanya

    Leo, This is by far the most interested and thought provoking article that i had read the last month. can’t wait to try some of those practices. Also, they say “you are what you eat” and i think we should consider some of morals learnt by Michael Pollan (“in defense of food”) : Eat, eat less, eat more vegetables.

  • Gerry

    My kids are approaching 30. It’s great to know that “… the more you strengthen the synaptic connections, the better your kids and their kids will perform.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ankeshk Ankesh Kothari

    Thanks Leo for a thought provoking article.

    Some time back, I was doing research on food that helps improve productivity. You may be interested in it.

    1. According to Charles Duhigg, habits are cyclic:
    Cue -> Behaviour -> Reward -> Cue -> ..

    What is needed to affect each of the above 3 elements of the cycle?

    2. Surprisingly, 3 neurotransmitters match about perfectly with the 3 elements.
    - Dopamine plays a role in the brains “reward” center
    - Serotonin plays a role in activating “behavior”- Norepinephrine plays a role in alertness (cue?)
    3. And there is quite a bit of research done on which food items help in producing the above 3 neurotransmitters in your brain.
    - The building blocks of serotonin are: tryptophan in the presence of b-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, gamma linolenic acid, omega 3 and 6.- The building blocks of dopamine and norepinephrine are: tyrosine or phenylalanine in the presence of adequate oxygen, vitamins B3, B6, and C, folic acid, iron, and copper.

    - So banana, milk, nuts etc help in serotonin production.- Apple, berries, cottage cheese, legumes help in dopamine and norepinephrine production.
    A good quick breakfast recipe my friend Kelly Parkinson shared with me that may help you become more productive: Blend 2 eggs (B12 & omega), 1/2 cup oatmeal (iron, magnesium), 1/3cup of cottage cheese (calcium, b12). And then put blueberries (vitamin c) into the batter & make pancakes.

  • http://jonnyrowntree.com/ Jonny Rowntree

    Great article Leo!

    I’ve found that if I want to be productive, I eat less and drink a ton of juice or even better, water. However, I do balance in those days where I want to take it easy and add a treat to my diet so I’m not being constantly strict and killing my sugar side.

    Just this week I’ve had a ton of job interviews. I found by drinking water in the morning and throughout the day, I was able to stay alert and active without eating. I had my dinner at the normal time during the day so it didn’t knock my diet or eating pattern off course.

    I wouldn’t recommend doing what I do when being heavily productive as that will cause you to decrease your eating pattern by a large percentage and will be really bad for you in the long run.

  • YEah

    what’s the point of having a small dinner if you don’t need brainpower in the hours after (if you are not going to work and study but just relax and sleep?). I think it would be better to have two small meals, healthy snacks throughout the day and then a normal dinner.

    Nthmostfit, I tried low and no carb, it doesn’t work in the long term especially if you are very active physically- carbs are excellent to fuel the mind and the body, if you use them enough- fat and protein alone are just inferior.

    Trust me, I have gone years following low carb. It just is an inferior life style compared to yes-carb (in quantities proportioned to the energies you expend)

  • sahaguru

    Your productivity choosen to eat the way you grow, and grow fertile from the teenage. Beginning of teenage is a uturn in the life, from where one should be alert with the habits. Bad habits, which may tempt, as they have never utilized, let it be, when you control them it is the success of your mind over brain that provokes to do. Once you out of bad habits, it is the best nature to becxome great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005947053 Dianne Gardner

    Good article! Love to munch on blueberries and fish is the best thing for you. You can have your red meat, though a hamburger is tasty once in awhile, I don’t believe people were meant to consume game they don’t hunt down and kill. Anything raised in a slaughterhouse and pumped with hormones can’t be good for you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sanyonfacebk San Yon

    Food for thought:

    Imagine a long drawn major catastrophe and you are in it. There is somehow no more options for freezer meat, eggs to cook, unspoit milk and no fresh food. What do you eat then?

    I have contemplated cereal with water, ramen noodles uncooked, raw oats, nuts, seeds, raw sugar, raw dough and chew on dried seeds and rice. That is if I have it and until I run out of them. Then what? Remember the guy found after Japanese tsunami going through debris craving to find something he could make into a soup!

    I keep debating – would I eat the plant leaves in the yard I know nothing about, would I know to catch a small animal like squirrel or dig for worms? Do I know to fish or hunt?

    So if you take off the modern lifetsyle from the equation, you are actually left with the ancient paleo diet options. May be I should develop a taste for non-refrigerated foods, learn some food foraging skills and hope this catastrophe never happens.

    Humbly reminded that my food choices are being supported by just a socket and a power line away! Until help arrives or mob force runs the streets!

  • https://plus.google.com/104416249503115298326/about Treathyl FOX

    Fortunately every soul is born with its own independent free will. The eating habits of the fathers and mothers may have impact but hopefully the kids and grand-kids can still think for themselves. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.t.correa Cheryl Turner Correa

    Wow! amazing string here…I have to agree with absolutely everything @nthmostfit:disqus says though…you will feel like a new person when you have become “fat adapted” as she puts it…Crossfit helps too!

  • Jena Isle

    This is a well researched article. Kudos to you. The brain cells indeed need sufficient amount of glucose to function properly. In fact, without glucose, a person goes hypoglycemic and faints, because the brain is one of the first organs affected by hypoglycemia.

    Thanks for a very informative article.

  • Vassargirl

    PS The state of N Carolina wants to shut down this man’s blog for telling the truth about how he cured his diabetes–and helping others do so. Everyone should at least know the truth:
    http://www.diabetes-warrior.net/2011/02/08/19-million-paid-to-ada-by-bigpharma/

  • Shaun Rosenberg

    Very cool, we all know that eating healthy is good for you, but you really put it into perspective of what it actually does to your brain and how it can help you accomplish more. I’m defiantly bookmarking this page.

  • http://twitter.com/happyupdates Happy Updates

    Great Article Guys! I am a big believer in the power of the food you eat having a direct effect on your day to day productivity. http://healthtipsbox.com/when-and-how-to-get-pregnant-with-boy/

  • http://www.greig.cc/ James Greig

    Anyone have tips on eating fish as a snack between meals?(?)

    Bulletproof coffee is the single most energising food hack I’ve tried of late. It sounds gross but actually it tastes great, and feels like fuel rather than a drink.

    http://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/

  • http://twitter.com/samsonvarughese Samson Varughese

    genius!

  • Jason Darrell

    It amazes me that all ripped, fitness fanatics aren’t on mastermind.

    The simple fact of the matter is: what works well for building an athletic, well-honed, muscular body also works well for the brain.

    Take any nutritionist’s diet who’s working with someone to bulk up, get trim or lose weight naturally and you’ll see all of those ingredients on his menu, too.

    It makes sense – we’re not going to have evolved with our brains taking optimum nutrition from one diet and our bodies another.

    The problem we, as a race, face now is: if this plethora of processed food is making our bodies whack and obese, what the hell is it doing to our average IQ?

    In 200 years time, will we be jiggling masses of blubber too dense to remember how we got to that stage?

    If marketing keeps leading the majority down the blind alley for profit over sustenance, there may well be a superior race in the future, for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/happyupdates Happy Updates

    Fortunately every soul is born with its own independent free will. The eating habits of the fathers and mothers may have impact but hopefully the kids and grand-kids can still think for themselves. :) http://www.jobsexamresult.in/

  • Duong Pham

    Oh god, now i realize when I was struggling with assigments, chocolate and candy always helped me. Thanks for posting such a useful and informative guide for us about food. Now I will definitely have a more scientific based eating habit.

  • http://www.directory-businesscore.com/ Alex Liddell

    very interesting page as i read some of it,a lot need there sugar or starch,most dont know what is in there food.

  • Doryen Chin

    It’s sucks that I can’t eat fish, nuts, raw vegetables, or avocado in any form. Bad allergies.

    Looks like It’s blueberries, wheat, and dark chocolate. Woohoo?

  • Matt

    Hi – great article. Could you kindly point me in the direction of the school breakfast study?

  • http://brianadragon.com/ Briana Blair

    It’s interesting how the information about eating changes over time. I discovered that if you just give some thought to what you eat and listen to your body, it pretty much guides you in the right direction.
    I cut out most of the processed foods i was eating and started following my cravings. Interestingly enough I lost a bunch of weight, felt healthier and all but one of my food allergies disappeared.

  • johnnyrocket

    Hi Leo,

    Nice article. Quick point of clarification. You write, “Every 7 years our body will change completely. This means that each and everyone of your cells will have been renewed and exchanged for another one that your body has produced.” This is not true. In certain areas of the body, including your brain and liver, the cells are post-mitotic, meaning that they do not divide or renew. Proteins within these cells still turnover, but the cells themselves are as old as you are.

    • http://www.FetchResponse.com Roxann Souci

      Your information about brain cells not regenerating is not current.

  • Philippines Food

    Philippine pili nuts from the Bicol region in the Philippines is a great Filipino or Philippines food orsnack. Pili nuts are very healthy and nutritious indeed, being a source of energy, potassium and iron.They also have protein, dietary fiber / fibre, and calcium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I know they have no cholesterol, no trans fat, and the unsalted ones have no sodium. What is great about the pili nut snack or treat is that they are so crisp, rich, and delicious.