Well, for your better performance Dear pilots, sugar or not in your diet and why?
I know, I know a few days ago we celebrated Easter, so we all ate big doses of sugar in our meals! From a tasty cake to an unbelievable brioche, sugar sure entered our brain and gave us satisfaction! Your guts were singing ”Oh sugar-sugar, we want sugar”!
Sugar might be a pleasure and giving the sense of a cognitive boost, but after this post, you might change your mind. Maybe you have to reconsider eating it.
Why? Because sugar increases your blood sugar levels.
OK, let me just explain t a little bit.
Your focus must be given in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are highly connected with our brain’s performance and it can alter it for better or for worse. Please notice, sugar is not the only food affecting blood sugar level. We just referred to sugar because we all know about it.
>What you want is a steady level of blood sugar. What you do by eating foods (sugar and more) are ups and downs in your energy. How can you measure it? The glycemic index (GI) is an indicator of how foods affect blood glucose levels. GI up to 55 is considered as low GI. For a GI more than 70, problems are on their way and let me explain further why. (See a list here of some basic foods with high and low GI).
Here’s roughly how the brain-blood sugar connection works.
The cells in our brain require energy to ‘work’. And carbohydrates tend to be a good source of energy for brain’s cells. That’s the reason when you’re feeling tired and out of mood, you seek for something sweet maybe a chocolate, coffee with sugar etc. That high-glucose food gives you an immediate rush. It is the magic pill. And we always seek for magic pills. For a short term solution, in a long term problem. For a while, your brain has the energy that so desperately needs, and you feel clear, focused, and motivated.
So far so ‘good’.
It seems that our brain needs energy boosts while we’re concentrating or working/flying and carbs provide that boost to body and brain alike, but which carbs is the key question: high GI or low? One study showed that older adults fed a breakfast of mashed potatoes and juice performed 25 percent better in memory tests 20 minutes later than adults who were fed only water.
“But while these high-GI foods might help your memory in the short-term (and are certainly better than having no food at all), over time they can contribute to insulin resistance. Any too intense infusion of carbs can spike blood glucose levels, which in turn activates adrenaline. This can cause hyperactivity in children—and in adults, too!—but there are even more serious consequences as well, as we’ve seen from the alarming link between high blood-sugar levels and decreased brain function” writes Dr. Mike Dow in his book The Brain Fog Fix.
Yet another study had shown that even people without diabetes who had high blood sugar performed worse on memory tests. And there is more. The same study found that people with higher blood-sugar levels had a shrunken hippocampus, which is the part of the brain involved in learning. Not good for you as a pilot.
Some of you may deal with many duty hours per day, and sure some of these days you feel exhausted. It is normal up to one level but remember here that what you ate the previous and the present day boost this feeling of exhaustion. If you belong to the people who want to change their performance, get our free ebook here and start today by cleaning your ‘engine’.