Low-carb foods make you more tolerant
A low-carb diet might make you a more tolerant person, researchers have discovered.
People who cut out carb-rich foods such as bread and pasta tend to replace them with protein-rich meat and dairy.
Protein boosts dopamine in the blood and one of its pathways as a neuro-transmitter affects decision-making.
Professor So Young Park, of the University of Lübeck in Germany, wondered whether a low-carb diet might change people’s behaviour.
To find out, her team split volunteers into pairs. One partner was given some money and left to decide how much to share with the other. If you accept the offer, both of you get the cash, but if you reject it, no one gets anything.
In theory, people should always accept, but in practice, people often reject low offers.
We seem to want to punish those who split the money unfairly, even is we suffer a small loss, Professor Park says.
Participants who had eaten a low-carb meal were more likely to accept unfair offers than those on high carbs.
In one experiment, 76 per cent of low-carbers accepted an unfair offer compared with 47 per cent in a high-carb group.
Blood tests revealed that low-carb meals raised a chemical precursor to dopamine, which correlated with more tolerant behaviour in the game.