Eating processed comfort foods can briefly make you feel better about yourself. The sugar fat and salt they contain can affect the brain's mesolymbic reward system, giving you a nice sensation. But the mood improvement is only brief because your body will quickly release insulin, which takes sugar out of your bloodstream, and causes a … [Read more...] about Why comfort eating doesn’t make you happy
I was invited to give a public lecture at The Storey in Lancaster as part of Lancaster University's Science and Technology Lecture Series. My talk was about the effects of different dietary choices on our health, and the New Year’s Resolutions we can make to start off 2020 as a healthy year for body and brain. … [Read more...] about Public Lecture: NEWtritional Year’s Resolutions
Down to London to the ISNPR 2019 conference on Nutrition for Mental and Brain Health, organised by the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. I presented my paper as part of the Symposium on Dietary Influences on Neurocognition Across the Lifespan, organized by Andrew Scholey, with participants Lauren Owen, Alison … [Read more...] about Dietary Influences on Neurocognition (ISNPR 2019)
I was interviewed by Mathew LaPlante for the UnDisciplined Show on Utah Public Radio, about our recent meta-analysis. Each week, UnDisciplined introduces its audience to two scientists, working in different fields – and then introduces them to each other, to discuss points of overlap – making for a lively and unpredictable … [Read more...] about UnDisciplined: my Interview alongside a Political Scientist
The effect of carbohydrate (CHO) consumption on mood is at the center of a long-standing debate, with researchers reporting both mood improvements and decrements following CHO ingestion. As global consumption of sugar-sweetened products has sharply increased in recent years, examining the validity of claims of an association between CHOs … [Read more...] about Sugar rush or sugar crash?: A meta-analysis of carbohydrate effects on mood
Following our meta analysis paper "Sugar rush or sugar crash? on the effects of carbohydrate on mood, led by Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis at Humboldt University of Berlin, with Dr Friederike Schlaghecken and Professor Elizabeth Maylor, I was interviewed for Poland's Polska Swiat TV News 24 about the effects of sugar on health and the human … [Read more...] about Effects of sugar on health: Interview on Poland’s TVN24
Sugar does not improve any aspect of mood and it can even worsen it, according to data gathered from 31 studies. Instead, sugar increases tiredness and lowers alertness within an hour after its consumption. Led by Dr Konstantinos Mantantzis at Humboldt University of Berlin, Dr Sandra Sünram- Lea at Lancaster University, Dr Friederike … [Read more...] about No such thing as a ‘sugar rush’ – Our meta analysis findings
Here's a short article I wrote for The Conversation in response to a story in the Daily Mirror which claims that eating just two teaspoons of nuts a day “boosts brain function by 60%”. If the claim is true, we should all be rushing out to buy a bag of nuts, but is this what the study actually says? The story is based on a recent … [Read more...] about Does eating nuts really boost your brain function by 60%?
For International Women's Day I gave a talk to pre-schoolers at Lancaster University Pre-school Centre entitled "Going On A Brain Adventure". The children spent the afternoon learning all about their brain. Going on a brain adventure with Dr Sandra-Ilona Sunram-Lea. The children had a great afternoon learning all about how their brains … [Read more...] about The Brain Adventure: Talk for International Women’s Day
Research investigating commercial mobile applications for depression have shown a range of concerns from limited research evidence, poor treatment fidelity, and issues with privacy and data security. This study advances this work through a content analysis and ethical review of app store listings of apps for depression. Whilst past … [Read more...] about A content analysis and ethical review of mobile applications for depression: exploring the app marketplace
I am delighted to share some photographs from the Dean's Awards celebratory dinner which was held last week. The Award winners in nine categories were announced last December to coincide with the Christmas Conference, and I was surprised and thrilled to be among them. Last week we were invited to celebrate our success at an evening dinner … [Read more...] about Dean’s Award: Teacher of the Year
I spoke to @BBC_Cumbria's Mike Zeller about why we eat comfort food in winter - and why we should eat porridge with a mackerel on top (even if I never have). Listen to the audio transcript (5 mins). https://twitter.com/LancasterPress/status/1065919135429914624 Listen to the interview (5 … [Read more...] about Why Do We Eat Comfort Food in Winter?
I was an invited participant at the 91st Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop: Nurturing a Healthy Generation of Children, held in Manilla, Republic of Philippines, on March 19-21 2018. I talked about Breakfast Glycaemic Index and Cognitive Function in School Children. Brief interview https://vimeo.com/265711832 Full talk Breakfast … [Read more...] about Nestle Nutrition Workshop: Nurturing a Healthy Generation of Children
The brain has a high metabolic rate and its metabolism is almost entirely restricted to oxidative utilisation of glucose. These factors emphasise the extreme dependence of neural tissue on a stable and adequate supply of glucose. Whereas initially it was thought that only glucose deprivation (i.e. under hypoglycaemic conditions) can … [Read more...] about The impact of diet-based glycaemic response and glucose regulation on cognition: evidence across the lifespan
It has been argued that cognitive abilities that developed last ontogenetically are likely the first to become impaired when cognitive and/or physiological resources are compromised. In phylogeny as in ontogeny, the prefrontal cortex is a late developing region of the cortex. Late maturing areas of the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex are … [Read more...] about Last in, first out: brain economy in times of limited resources
Self-control is important for everyday life and involves behavioral regulation. Self-control requires effort, and when completing two successive self-control tasks, there is typically a temporary drop in performance in the second task. High self-reported motivation and being made self-aware somewhat counteract this effect-with the result … [Read more...] about A temporary deficiency in self-control: can heightened motivation overcome this effect?
I attended the Nutrition Society Winter Conference held at the Royal Society of Medicine to discuss the interaction between nutrition and mental health. I presented a paper entitled "The impact of diet-based glycaemic response and glucose regulation on cognition: Evidence across the lifespan" and took part in a Q and A discussion panel on … [Read more...] about The Interaction between nutrition and mental health