I have to credit Dr. Mercola for this blog post, he had a recent post on this subject and I thought it interesting enough to write a shorter post on it here. A new study provided further evidence showing there is a strong association between sugar and Alzheimer’s disease. What I find most fascinating is that this recent study confirms findings in previous studies, this is something researchers have noticed before. The question worth asking then is Alzheimer’s disease something we are giving to ourselves and not just due to “bad genes.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing concern in America today, approximately 5.4 million Americans suffer from this disease and the number is expected to triple by 2050. It is also presently accounts for about 500,000 deaths per year in America making it the third leading cause of death. I don’t think this is something due to bad genes because if that was the sole reason we should have been seeing this disease throughout all of time. Instead this disease, as others, have a genetic component which requires a environmental trigger. You can look into this further by looking at the topic of epigenetics but perhaps a high carbohydrate diet is the trigger for Alzheimer’s.
So the recent study is really technical but the authors studied HbA1c levels in 5189 people between 2004 to 2017. HbA1c is a form of hemoglobin that is measured to determine blood glucose levels. HbA1c level is what is measured to diagnose diabetes and higher levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease, kidney dysfunction, and retinopathy. The authors of this study observed an association between high levels of HbA1c levels and cognitive decline, the kind of decline seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This study builds upon a previous study which examined what foods study participants ate and their cognitive status. In this study the authors observed that participants who had a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein had high rates of cognitive impairment or dementia.
I think we can all agree that we have a problem in this country in the way we eat. What specifically is the problem has been and will continue to be debated but I think the problem in our diet isn’t just processed foods but it is our prevalence for a low fat and high carbohydrate diet. We have been told that fat is a problem in our diet and to avoid that so what happened then was the loss of calories from fat was made up by foods high in carbohydrates. I think that the cause of many of our health problems today are a direct result of our poor nutritional choices like eating a low fat and high carbohydrate diet. These studies show that this diet, if not the cause, is at least contributing to cognitive decline and dementia.
The good news here is if diet is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution. Change our diet away from low fat and high carbohydrate to no or low carbohydrates and include healthy fats. A relatively easy diet to follow is the Paleo diet which does just this, limits carbs and includes healthy proteins and fats.