7 Worst Foods for Your Brain


High intake of sugary drinks has a negative effect on your brain (1, 2, 3)

Animal studies have shown that a high fructose intake can lead to insulin resistance in the brain, as well as a reduction in brain function, memory, learning and the formation of brain neurons (6, 7). One study in rats found that a diet high in sugar increased brain inflammation and impaired memory. Additionally, rats that consumed a diet consisting of 11% HFCS were worse than those whose diets consisted of 11% regular sugar (8)

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may be especially harmful, causing brain inflammation and impairing memory and learning.

Refined Carbs

Research has shown that just a single meal with a high glycemic load can impair memory in both children and adults (10). This effect on memory may be due to inflammation of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that affects some aspects of memory, as well as responsiveness to hunger and fullness cues (10).

One study looked at elderly people who consumed more than 58% of their daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. The study found they had almost double the risk of mild mental impairment and dementia (12). Another study found that children aged six to seven who consumed diets high in refined carbs also scored lower on nonverbal intelligence (13). However, this study could not determine whether consuming refined carbs caused these lower scores, or simply whether the two factors were related.

Highly Processed Foods

A study including 18,080 people found that a diet high in fried foods and processed meats is associated with lower scores in learning and memory (29).

In animal studies, rats fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet for eight months showed impaired learning ability and negative changes to brain plasticity. Another study found that rats fed a high-calorie diet experienced disruptions to the blood-brain barrier (30, 31, 32). The blood-brain barrier is a membrane between the brain and blood supply for the rest of the body. It helps protect the brain by preventing some substances from entering.

One of the ways processed foods may negatively impact the brain is by reducing the production of a molecule called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (10, 33). This molecule is found in various parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, and it’s important for long-term memory, learning and the growth of new neurons. Therefore, any reduction can have negative impacts on these functions (33).


aspartame is made of phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid (35). Phenylalanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and might disrupt the production of neurotransmitters. Additionally, aspartame is a chemical stressor and may increase the brain’s vulnerability to oxidative stress (35, 36).

One study looked at the effects of a high-aspartame diet. Participants consumed about 11 mg of aspartame for every pound of their body weight (25 mg per kg) for eight days. By the end of the study, they were more irritable, had a higher rate of depression and performed worse on mental tests (37).

Another study found people who consumed artificially sweetened soft drinks had an increased risk of stroke and dementia, though the exact type of sweetener was not specified (38).

A study of repeated aspartame intake in mice found that it impaired memory and increased oxidative stress in the brain. Another found that long-term intake led to an imbalance in antioxidant status in the brain (39, 40). Interestingly mice and rats are reportedly 60 times less sensitive to phenylalanine than humans (35, 41).

A number of papers have reported that aspartame has no adverse effects (42).


When consumed in moderation, alcohol can be an enjoyable addition to a nice meal. Chronic alcohol use results in a reduction in brain volume, metabolic changes and disruption of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals the brain uses to communicate (43).

However, moderate alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects, including improved heart health and a reduced risk of diabetes. These beneficial effects have been particularly noted in moderate wine consumption of one glass per day (51, 52, 53).


Written by Elise Mandl, BSc, APD on January 28, 2018

Today Is A Great Day!



I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is Distraction. Whether it be busyness or entertainment, ultimately it is Distraction.

Originally I had accepted the enemy’s identity as busyness. The spirit of the enemy (the world) is the spirit of the age, which I had incorrectly identified as busyness. While this has set me on the correct path, and probably played a role in identifying the enemy’s true nature (I need to offer up thanks to John Eldridge for pointing me in this direction), it is merely one of the enemy’s tools. Entertainment is the other.

Have a Great Day!

Prison Cubicle Training again

I know I’ve said this before, but it isn’t just the muscles that weaken from an extended (2 week) layoff. The motivation and drive fall off a cliff. Even though I have the desire to do something, the thought of digging down deep makes want to just “wait until I have more mental energy”. That is folly, it is never coming back. It will show up after I re-establish the habit of doing it. I don’t just mean doing the exercises and training either, I mean pushing farther than I think I am capable of. Uggggh. It’s early, it’s cold, it’s very cloudy which is depressing and completely uninspiring. In fact it’s not just uninspiring but it is anti-inspiring. I love me some Texas for many reasons, but the weather is not one of them. Winter here is depressing, it’s like living in London or Seattle. I am a child of light, I need the sun. Being overcast for weeks at a time with spots of momentary sunshine here and there is getting harder and harder for me to deal with.

2/19/2019 Tuesday

Yesterday I managed to force myself to do pushups to failure. I was able to grind out a set of 52, total failure on the concentric phase of #53. That was good, I wasn’t sure I could do more than 50 early on in the set. I took a video of myself doing them on my phone, and was surprised at how poor my form appears. I am conscious of using good form, but apparently my proprioception is off. That’s not a big deal though, it is an easy fix: raise my hips higher and they will be in line with my shoulders and ankles, and don’t look directly down at the floor, tilt my chin a bit more forward. Think kissing the floor rather than touching my nose to it.

8:40 – Windshield Wipers x 8; bent knees, my right side (problem area) is just frozen solid, so I just stayed in the bottom position to the left and focused on relaxing into the stretch. It feels a little better, but I could barely get back up off of the floor. The core muscles did not want to work with me.

– Split Squats x 10/side. My right glute feels significantly weaker, even though I think it is actually the stronger side. That is the side I leap off of when jumping over things. On this exercise (and all glute/leg exercises going forward) I focused on driving my foot into the floor and attempting to externally (laterally) rotate it. Like I was screwing something into the floor with my foot.

I wonder if hydration is part of my issue right now? I think I’ll make sure that isn’t the case, I’m going to chug back about 16 ounces of water right now.

9:45 – NOS + Protein powder + ACV

– Handstand Press x 7! New personal best! Total failure after 7.

– Yoga Pushups x 90; failure, good pump. This is my follow up from yesterday.

10:50 – Handstand x 7 seconds; this was an attempt to just do a handstand without using the wall. I did a few 1 and 2 second attempts in which I lost my balance, then I got longer one of about 7 seconds or so.

– Reverse Lunge, non-alternating x 25/side; focused on “screwing my feet into the floor” again, this really does move the focus to the glutes. I am sucking wind too, definitely out of shape after my recent downtime.

– Triceps Flex x 30 seconds; dug as deep as I could

3:30 – BCAA + NOS + ACV

– Handstand Press x 5

– Box Step ups x 5 per side; woohoo! Anything to keep moving dontcha know

Have a Great Day!


Supplement Research

I’ve been taking a pre-workout (NOS Blast) that I just randomly picked up at Walmart, so I decided to vet out the ingredients since I have seemed to have felt some benefit from taking it before I train. I am going to admit that it could be a placebo affect because as I’ve said before, when I take I feel motivated to push harder because I don’t want to be a poser. I don’t want to be that guy that takes a bunch of supplements but never gets in shape. Why bother and why waste the money?

Citrulline Malate

High levels of ammonia increases feelings of fatigue, and it is removed via the Urea cycle. Ammonia is converter to urea and is sent to the kidneys to be peed out. The more ornithine available the faster ammonia can be removed. Citrulline has the ability to double both arginine and ornithine (which the body reconverts into citrulline) levels in the body.

L-Arginine is not very bio-available, whereas citrulline is very bio-available as a supplement. Citrulline is converted into arginine in the body and is far more bio-available. Arginine helps remove ammonia AND is required to release NO.

Nitric Oxide Cycle – an increase in nitric oxide leads to a greater pump. This is the cycle in which arginine converts into citrulline, and this conversion process also produces some Nitric Oxide (NO). From there the citrulline gets converted back into arginine, and round and round she goes. NO increases blood flow by causing blood vessels to relax, giving you the good pump.

So increased citrulline improves the body’s ability for physical work output, improves endurance, and reduces fatigue. It also appears to increase the release of growth hormone after exercise and reduces delayed onset muscle soreness. Also improves ED. It looks like based on my research that citrulline malate is inferior to L-citrulline. Apparently it is a combination of L-Citrulline and L-malate, the second of which does pretty much nothing for you in terms of increasing NO. So only half of the amount per serving is actual citrulline.

Citrulline Malate- 8 grams, or 4 grams of L-Citrulline

Beta Alanine

3 sources of ATP; ATP-CP system (first 1-3 reps, first few seconds of sprint, 1 rep max – basically 3 seconds of max effort), then Anaerobic Glycolysis (which produces lactic acid and hinders glycolysis), then Aerobic. Beta alanine gets turned into Carnosine which acts as a lactic acid “buffer”. This allows you to use glycolysis longer. This will lead to one-2 more reps (8-15 reps), high intensity aerobic activity (rowing) when training between 60-240 seconds per. It clears lactic acid faster, and lactic acid slows the recharge of ATP-CP system.

OVER 200 POUNDS 5-6 grams over the day, taken with meals

Under 200 pounds 4 grams should be fine.


Creatine phosphate which is stored in your cells adds it’s phosphate molecule to the ATP which you use during the ATP-CP (explosive) phase of working out (the first 3 seconds basically). So reps 2-4 are still around 90% of your 1 rep max. Black dudes genetically store more creatine phosphate than white dudes. Once the creatine phosphate supply runs out the body switches to the anaerobic system. This system can’t produce as much energy.

5 grams creatine supplement per day has been shown to be 80-100% bio-available, which leads to a 15-20 % increase in creatine phosphate stored in the muscles. Increase in creatine phosphate stores means the body needs to store more water in the muscles to accommodate them. Also helps increase glycogen stores. Supplementation has been shown to reduce headaches in children with brain injuries.

If you take 20-25 grams per day for a week you will reach full muscle saturation levels. After loading, then 5 grams per day for maintenance phase. If you only take the 5 gram per day dose it may take up to a month to reach full saturation.

Studies suggest that it can be taken any time of day, not necessary to take pre-workout. There appears to be no need to cycle off; a 2003 study showed that there were no ill effects after 21 months of continuous use.


Taurine helps balance electrolytes in the cells, forms bio-salts, supports nervous system, can help decrease blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. May increase the muscle’s ability to contract, reduces metabolic waste in muscles allowing them to work longer without the “burning”, increases fat burning in humans during exercise. Aids in osmoregulation. Acts as an anti-oxidant.

500-1000 mg / day


Citrulline has the ability to double both arginine and ornithine. Important because ornithine converts into citrulline which converts into Arginine which removes ammonia and releases NO in the process

Beta alanine gets turned into Carnosine which acts as a lactic acid “buffer”. Lactic acid slows the recharge of ATP-CP system (explosive 1 rep max power), plus removing lactic acid allows you to use glycolysis longer.

Creatine phosphate adds it’s phosphate molecule to the ATP which you use during the ATP-CP (explosive) phase of working out.

So it looks like Beta Alanine works synergistically with Creatine.

The breakdown should be as follows:

Creatine: 20 grams/day for 1st week, 5 grams/day thereafter for maintenance – any time of day

Beta Alanine: 4 grams/day – taken with meals

L-Citrulline: 4 grams pre workout

NOS Blast Pre-workout

Citrulline Malate: 750mg/scoop – nowhere near enough

Beta Alanine: 1.6 g/scoop – close if taken 2x per day

Creatine: 2.55 g / scoop – good if taken 2x per day

L-Arginine: 1.5 g/scoop – Probably unnecessary

Taurine: 1g

Choline: 150 mg/scoop

Caffeine Anhydrous: 150 mg/scoop

Have a Great Day!