T Nation

Dieting for Thinking

Hello. This post applies to a different type of training. Mental training. I’m in medical school and I am trying to figure out the diet that is going to be optimal to studying. I think you are the people to ask above doctors who tend to be fat asses who cram their faces with things to relieve an intense amount of stress. I’ve been on a relatively low carb diet except for post-workout nutrition, with a bowl of Oatmeal in the morning being my biggest source of carbs other than grow bars, and veggies. I am thinking about starting to drink powerade or gatorade or something, but from what I know this might actually lower the amount of sugar my brain gets. I’m someone of an extremely fast metabolism, but I tend to feel bloated on lots of carbs. Studying is priority number one though. Of course, besides working out. Hah!


Do not drink Gatorade or the like unless you want to crash later. Try Power Drive. Best “thinking” supplement on the market. And you should know that low carb diets and thinking don’t go too well together. Yours sounds pretty reasonable though. I wouldn’t drop below 100 grams a day.

cant vouch personally, but do a search here and on the net on piracetam

I tried powerdrive and I started acting quite mean… don’t know why. Normally I’m an extremely nice guy. I’m not even a belligerent drunk!

I would ditch the low carb diet. Your body needs carbs for several reasons including brain function, fat metabolism, energy and other functions. Don’t start with the gatorade or powerade as they are all high glycemic carbs with simple sugars. Stick with low glycemic carbs and lots of fresh green veggies for phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins. Keep the oatmeal and include yams and other low gly carbs to help maintain steady blood glucose levels. There are 2 main parts of the day where you want higher glycemic carbs, which are first thing in the morning and post workout to help replenish glycogen levels.

I can tell you a little about piracetam. I’ve used it off and on for the last few months, and I definitely think that it improves your memory. Piracetam in conjunction with a well thought out mnemonic system is incredible. It also helps me to concentrate. I usually combine piracetam with powerdrive for best effect. However, piracetam won’t help you think better at all. For example, I wouldn’t bother trying piracetam before an IQ test that doesn’t favor memory (unless, of course, I was having problems with my mind wandering).

  1. Power drive is great for all nighters. 2. Just remember that med school is a rite of passage (I speak from experience).

This doesn’t really pertain to diet, but I recommend “Your Memory” by Ken Higbee for making the most of your studying techniques. It helped a ton for some of my bio classes that required absurd amounts of information. \

Well from what I know about the brain I’d suggest regular carb intake and higher protein intake especially if you are under stress. Lots of lean protein sources like turkey and fish. All of the hormones your brain needs to function optimally come from amino acids. Get lots of B-vitamens and possibly tyrosine and DLPA. Cut out sugar… you want your glucose to come from slow complex sources. When coupled with optimal brain chemistry and low GI foods, protein will keep you feeling less bloated and quick on the draw. Maybe get some protein digestive enzymes if you aren’t really getting enough protein absorbtion.

I’d have to agree on the Powerdrive, and I speak from experience. Also, low carb may not be the best thing for you at this time. I know it makes my head kinda fuzzy at times.

I am a general and trauma surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. I finished medical school in 1995 and my surgical residency this year. I’ve been bodybuilding since my 4th year of medical school and throughout my entire residency. I just won the middleweight class at the 2002 national qualifying NPC Central States Championships and was 2nd in the overall. My next comp is the 2003 Jr. Nationals. I say all this to emphasize that many docs are well-versed in nutrition and training. To answer your question, you do need good amount of carbs to maintain “brain power” during med school and residency. During school and residency, i maintained a macronutrient profile of about 55% carb, 35% protein, and 10% fat. If you want, you can drop the carb amount a bit and increase the fat, but i would not drop carbs below 50% of your daily calories. Also, realize that it will be difficult to make tremendous muscular gains while in school and residency, though it’s not impossible to make modest gains (assuming you’re natural). Use low to moderate glycemic, and for foods where data are available, low insulin index carbs for all meals except in the immediate post training period.