Having Trouble Finishing Your Spec? Maybe It’s Your Diet

Old School Truism: Nothing keeps a real writer from writing.

New School Fact: Millennials will always find a way.

(To keep from writing? Or to make sure we write. Waitaminnit! Hey–!)

How the Food You Eat Makes You More (or Less) Productive – by Leo Widrich

Every seven years, the body will change completely. This means that each and every one of your cells will have been renewed and exchanged for another one that your body has produced. I am always amazed by this. 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 seven years. Day-to-day changes in 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

How food interacts with your brain

One of the most fascinating things about eating is how various ingredients enter the brain through your blood stream. The elements that 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, while others do so more slowly, yet sustainably. 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.”

The way you can get those 25 grams of glucose into your blood stream is pretty easy. You can eat a donut. 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 us 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, release their sugar as glucose much slower. This means we will have a steady glucose level, better focus, and higher 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, while oats will, well, you are right.

Read it all

There’s something important here, but you’ll have to tell us what it is. Our eyes glazed over at “One of the most fascinating things about eating is how various ingredients enter the brain through your blood stream.” Probably because we’re the kind of loser that gets all caught up in the ickiness of the, you know, how it leaves.

C’mon, Lifehacker, how about some articles on, oh, hacking?

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