A friend recently recommended that I have a look at a book called Dine Out and Lose Weight. Apparently this was the 'Atkins' diet of its day (the late 1980s). It was written by a Frenchman called Michel Montignac, who developed 'The Montignac Method'. I got hold of a copy and had a flick through. It quickly became clear why my friend had suggested that I have a look at the book: there is a whole chapter on the evils of sugar!
Those of you that have read The Holy Grail of Exam Success will now understand how sugar negatively impacts various functions of the body. However, in his book, Montignac highlights another intriguing reason why we might do well to avoid sugar: consuming this and other refined carbohydrates may lead to a deficiency in B vitamins.
But why only may? I did not originally include this particular reasoning in the book as the relationship between sugar and B vitamins (B6, B12 etc.) is more complicated than this statement would have you believe. That being said, reading Montignac's advice piqued my interest in the topic, which is why I'm now keen to briefly revisit it.
B vitamins are required for the metabolism of carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) in the body. It follows that if you consume lots of carbohydrates, your body will require greater quantities of B vitamins to enable this metabolism. Your body does not readily store B vitamins, so it needs a constant supply from your diet. Therefore, diets high in carbohydrates can increase the demand for B vitamins in your body and, if you eat the wrong kinds of carbohydrates (e.g. refined carbohydrates such as sugar), which contain no B vitamins to replenish your body's supply, then the result might be a deficiency in B vitamins in your body. Additionally, diets that are high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates can provoke the body's inflammatory response, which equally may place demands on the body for certain B vitamins.
The possible consequences of B vitamin deficiency are as follow: loss of concentration, memory and perception, nervous exhaustion, fatigue and depression.
So, if ever there were a catalogue of problematic side-effects that you would seek to avoid when approaching studying and exams, then surely this would be it? Of course the answer is yes, but with a caveat: if somebody tells you that eating sugar will lead to a deficiency in B vitamins in the body, this, as I have tried to clarify above, is not entirely true, since the link between the two is indirect.
Nevertheless, avoiding a diet high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates is precisely what I suggest you do in The Holy Grail of Exam Success, so, by eliminating these foods from your exam diet, you may be able to help yourself to avoid any potential for a deficiency in B vitamins, thereby giving your body and brain a yet greater chance to function optimally.