Fast carbs help replenish muscle glycogen burned up during a demanding session of lifts, but artificial sweeteners can sap brain power in just 6 weeks a study published in the Journal of Physiologyreported. UCLA researchers fed 2 groups of lab rats a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener commonly used in foods and beverages. Along with the sweetener, some rodents were fed omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

After 6 weeks on this diet, the rodents who didn’t get any omega-3s tested poorly on a maze-based memory test. But the rats who also consumed omega-3s along with sweeteners scored much higher. Since DHA is critical to brain cell signaling, scientists theorized supplementation protected brain synapses from damage.

It’s important to note that fructose from raw fruit comes with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant support. You can avoid high-fructose corn syrup by consuming whole foods in their natural state and reaching for calorie free energy drinks. Read today’s Daily Fitness News for more on good and bad fats.


Bad Fat Cuts Brain Power

‘Good’ monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from cold water fish, olive oil, seeds and nuts provide your body with essential fatty acids that play important roles in numerous metabolic functions. Many dieters make the mistake of avoiding all fats when they should be focusing on avoiding the ‘bad’ saturated fats found in red meat and dairy foods. A study published in the Annals of Neurology shows good and bad fats in a whole new light.

Researchers analyzed the self-reported diets of 6,000 women who took part in 3 brain function tests spread across a 4-year timeframe. Regardless of levels of fitness or education, subjects who consumed the most monounsaturated fats posted higher scores, while women who consumed the highest levels of saturated fat scored poorly for memory and brain function performance.

True Strength Moment: From the results of this research, it appears that making smart decisions about what and how much you eat can pay dividends that extend well beyond the weight room and treadmill. For another interesting story on the benefits of good fats, read today’s Performance Blog at


A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism suggests that when you eat might be even more important than what you eat. Researchers fed lab rats a diet with 60% of the calories coming from fat. One group was allowed to eat 24 hours a day, while the others were only allowed to eat for a daily 8-hour period.

After 100 days, the 8-hour feeders who fasted for 16 hours each day weighed 28% less than the rats who ate all day. They also showed no adverse health effects such as elevated cholesterol or fatty liver disease. Even more astonishing, on an exercise test rats restricted to 8-hours of daily eating outperformed rats who were fed a ‘normal’ diet where fat accounted for only 13% of calories.

True Strength Moment: Although none of the diets used in this study compare to the choices made by clean eaters, there’s something to be said for skipping dinner after a high-fat breakfast and lunch. If you sit down to breakfast at 7PM, your last meal of the day would come at around 3PM on this 8-hour eating plan.