1

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Paleo and Mental Acuity in Maths

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 22, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Hello everyone, I hope that I haven't repeated this question but I am intrigued at the mental benefits of Paleo diet and am already beginning to see some of the fog disappear. It hasn't completely cleared so bare with me here if my writing is not clear, lol.

I know many report that their concentration and focus have improved but has anyone's ability to learn higher level maths increased since going Paleo? (I know that it also involves having a good teacher, student readiness, and etc) I'm wondering if the ability to learn and do higher level maths is really an innate characteristic or if a SAD diet hinders some people's ability because of food intolerances. I understand that even though a person may have food intolerance, the symptoms may not manifest as brain fog and others have no probelms with cognition at all on a SAD diet.

Has anyone had the experience of not doing well in maths and now can understand it better since going Paleo?

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd

(1205)

on January 27, 2013
at 10:41 AM

No, not at all. I have always felt pretty good regardless of what my diet has been. The common denominator has always been organic whole foods prepared from scratch. I switched to Paleo because it made sense when I read the literature, not because I had any health issues that were pushing me that way. It is hard because when people find out I eat this way now, they want me to say I've had some major change in health or weight, but I feel pretty much the same. I can say that my sleep is better now, but that has ore to do with taking magnesium and having better sleep hygiene than my diet.

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 25, 2013
at 10:44 PM

I agree. I was a mathlete all through school and ate a seriously non-paleo diet growing up.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 24, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Yes - I was constantly taking antihistamines, always sleepy, and had very muddled thinking.

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:38 AM

Thank you, your answer was helpful :)

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Did you have severe brain fog as a vegetarian? I'm really asking those who have had it before the switch.

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:36 AM

Perhaps, but did you have severe brain fog prior to paleo/primal?

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Thank you, guys. All of your answers have been extremely helpful. I just know that my mind turns to mud when I eat gluten but i mow have much more focus to learn now that I'm gluten-free and math is now easier for me to grasp whereas in school it was not. Both my ability to learn and retain we're very impaired. I glutened myself lately and my cognitive functioning was very scarily messed up. So I'm happy to see that this works for me.

  • 76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

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6 Answers

3
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 22, 2013
at 11:00 PM

I have two math degrees, all earned while on the SAD. You either have it or you don't. I think you are stretching to make a correlation here.

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:36 AM

Perhaps, but did you have severe brain fog prior to paleo/primal?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on January 24, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Yes - I was constantly taking antihistamines, always sleepy, and had very muddled thinking.

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on January 25, 2013
at 10:44 PM

I agree. I was a mathlete all through school and ate a seriously non-paleo diet growing up.

1
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on January 23, 2013
at 01:30 AM

I find some things in Math/Physics easier to tackle and read through since introducing more seafood. Also first to mention the obvious here, fish, shellfish and seafood, o3s for that higher brain function.. I'm really surprised that nobody has mentioned that yet.

Japan has one of the highest fish consumption per capita in the world and one of the highest iqs. Correlation? Yes. Causation? No. Do I think it's causation? Yes.

1
Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd

on January 22, 2013
at 09:22 PM

Hmmm...I earned a Ph.D. in math as a total vegetarian, so I don't know about this. Now I am Primal, but am a professor who teaches math (as opposed to doing research in it), but have turned my attention to painting which I think of as much harder (at least painting the face/figure realistically.) I will say that I do feel more clear and alert since primal, and rarely make mistakes on the board ever.

I have been around mathematicians my whole life. I am the child of a math prof, so grew up in a math department, then went to college and grad school for math. The diet I observed most in this community eating reflected whatever was considered healthy/ethical at the time. As a kid in the seventies, it was "healthy" as defined by Adele Davis, with the hippy influence (West Coast in the seventies) of homemade granola, whole wheat bread, etc...The big evils where Wonder Bread, Hostess and any soda.

In grad school in the late eighties/early nineties (still West Coast) it was Moosewood Cookbook, Laurel's Kitchen and microbrews....everyone was vegetarian and into craft beer, as well as running and cycling millions of miles. Ironically, my boyfriend at the time who was considered the alpha mathematician genius, had a diet of 2 packs/day of cigarettes, a 6 pack of Coke and one burger piled with free condiments (we were on a stipend and that is how he chose to spend his).

Now I am a professor in a math dept in the Northeast and most of my colleagues eat SAD, like really SAD (except for the two who have Celiac's, who eat gluten-free, but not well). I don't know if that reflects the move to the East Coast (in my experience, people seem much more health-conscious on the West Coast), or is just random, but their diet is pretty bad.

I know this begs the question of whether or not they would all be better mathematicians if they switched to Paleo, but I thought I would relay my observation of their various diets.

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Did you have severe brain fog as a vegetarian? I'm really asking those who have had it before the switch.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd

(1205)

on January 27, 2013
at 10:41 AM

No, not at all. I have always felt pretty good regardless of what my diet has been. The common denominator has always been organic whole foods prepared from scratch. I switched to Paleo because it made sense when I read the literature, not because I had any health issues that were pushing me that way. It is hard because when people find out I eat this way now, they want me to say I've had some major change in health or weight, but I feel pretty much the same. I can say that my sleep is better now, but that has ore to do with taking magnesium and having better sleep hygiene than my diet.

0
0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 23, 2013
at 12:13 PM

If there is a correlation between improved cognitive performance and paleo, I would think it's less to do with eliminating gluten (though that could also affect it) and more to do with consuming high quality animal proteins, especially fish/shellfish which contain fatty acids that create specialized cells in the brain.

Anecdotally, since switching from a "paleo" version of veganism to a paleo-pescetarian diet, I've had improved mental clarity and concentration. I don't do maths, though.

0
5236a3d5d4daf6304da5e50d19a96e56

on January 23, 2013
at 12:56 AM

Here's my anecdotal personal experience...

I always had a sort of 'brain-fog' which impaired my focus pre-paleo, and I do think going paleo improved my ability with mathematics. I think gluten is the cause of the brain fog, as it comes back quickly after eating any wheat.

I was able to earn a BS in physics eating SAD, but I do think my abilities are better now- primarily because my increased focus lets me work longer on a specific problem. I can also skip meals as long as necessary while working on a hard problem, which would have caused hypoglycemia before.

Also, learning about paleo gave me a passion to apply my math abilities to human health as a bioengineer. Paleo/evolutionary medicine thinking gave me a practical purpose/problem for my math abilities, which is probably the #1 way paleo helped.

76d3c543f8cbedb5a6f2ad1b49c3c733

(71)

on January 24, 2013
at 01:38 AM

Thank you, your answer was helpful :)

-1
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on January 22, 2013
at 09:22 PM

i've done better in englishes since adopting the paleo diet

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