A high-sugar and meat diet may increase alzheimer risk
A diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats causes changes
in the brain that are seen in Alzheimer’s disease (JAMA Neurology,
published online June 17, 2013). This same diet caused changes seen in
*high blood sugar levels,
*high blood insulin,
*low cerebrospinal fluid (brain) insulin seen in diabetes and
Alzheimer’s disease, and
*very high levels of cerebrospinal fluid unbound beta amyloid that
forms the amyloid plaques found in the brains of people with
Alzheimer's disease. A low saturated fat and sugar diet decreased
unbound beta amyloid.
The brain damage of Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by a buildup
of beta amyloid in the brain. This study shows that a high sugar and
meat diet may increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the
body from clearing beta amyloid from the brain. Your body clears beta
amyloid by binding it to a protein called apolipoprotein E (ApoE). The
meat and high-sugar diet used in this study prevented unbound beta
amyloid from being cleared from the body. The study diet had a very
high glycemic index (greater than 70). Forty-five percent of its energy
came from fat, 25 percent from saturated fat, 35-40 percent from
carbohydrates and 15-20 percent from protein. It was loaded with
cheeseburgers, soda drinks, and French fries. The comparison group ate
a very low-fat diet with a low glycemic index (less than 55). It
consisted of 25 percent of energy from fat, less than seven percent
from saturated fat, 55-60 percent from carbohydrates, and 15-20 percent
from protein. The foods included poached fish, brown rice, and steamed
vegetables. Adherence to both diets were excellent.
Lack of Brain Insulin Causes Alzheimer’s Disease
The study shows that lowering brain insulin levels raises Alzheimer
disease molecules. The normal brain requires insulin for memory. In
diabetes (insulin resistance), high levels of insulin in the blood
lower insulin in the brain to reduce the transport molecules that
remove beta amyloid, causing beta amyloid to accumulate in the brain
which may be the cause Alzheimer’s disease. A diet that leads to
diabetes also causes the same changes that are seen in the brains of
people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease the Same Way You Prevent Diabetes
The study suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is really a diabetes of
the brain and could be prevented with the same lifestyle changes that
are recommended to prevent diabetes:
* Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts.
* Avoid red meat, fried foods, all sugared drinks including fruit
juices, and sugar-added foods.
* Try to exercise at least an hour every day, particularly before and
after you eat.
* Get blood levels of hydroxy Vitamin D above 75 nmol/L.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine