Did you know that something as simple as avoiding sugar and carbs can protect your brain health and prevent dementia?
Higher Blood Sugar Levels Are Bad for Your Brain
Recent research shows that chronically higher blood sugar levels negatively affect cognition, which researchers assume is “possibly mediated by structural changes in learning-relevant brain areas.”
The most important aspect of this particular study are the negative effects in diabetics, suggesting that even if you are healthy, keeping the blood sugar levels lower than “normal” is probably still best for your brain health. As noted by the researchers,
“…strategies aimed at lowering glucose levels even in the normal range may beneficially influence cognition in the older population.”
Another research has discovered that impaired insulin resistance was linked to a 30% higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and overall dementia.
High-Carb Diet May Increase Your Dementia Risk by 89 Percent
The most striking study on carbs and their effects on brain shows that those consuming higher amounts of carbs are at 89% higher risk of dementia. Those whose diets are highest in fat are at 44% lower risk. According to Dr. Perlmutter,
“We live with this notion that a calorie is a calorie, but at least in terms of brain health, and I believe for the rest of the body as well, there are very big differences between our sources of calories in terms of the impact on our health.
Carbohydrate calories, which elevate blood glucose, are dramatically more detrimental to human physiology, and specifically to human health, than are calories derived from healthful sources of fat.
The diet that I recommend—high in fat and low in carbohydrates—has simply been what we have eaten for a million years, so it has a bit of a track record. The notion that this is a revolutionary new diet has to be put into context. In reality, the diet that people are now consuming.
This is dreadfully high in carbohydrates and low in fat, as our governmental institutions are recommending, is the biggest challenge to human physiology that we have ever experienced, and this is very, very worrisome.”
One of the things that makes a high-carbohydrate diet damaging is its fructose content. At this point, there is no doubt that consuming too much fructose wreaks havoc on the body and its ability to regulate insulin levels.
Gluten Sensitivity May Also Harm Your Brain
According to Dr. Perlmutter, gluten sensitivity is associated with the development of many chronic diseases, including those affecting the brain due to its effect on the immune system.
Celiac disease, a form of immune-mediated gluten sensitivity affects about 1.8% of the people in Western Cultures. On the other hand, non-celiac gluten sensitivity affects up to 30% of all people. In fact, it is believed that virtually everyone is affected to some degree.
Much of the disease burden comes from the fact that our immune systems are contaminated with proteins that the human immune system hasn’t been previously exposed to.
In terms of gluten consumption, we have come a long way from our understanding that celiac disease exists, and we now recognize that, according to top researchers, non-celiac gluten sensitivity also exists, which may affect 30% of humanity. Marios Hadjivassiliou [MD, department of neurology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, United Kingdom] has said, so poetically, that gluten sensitivity may at times be a pure neurologic disease that is basically extraintestinal, and that we do not need to have intestinal issues to define gluten sensitivity. In fact, we are now seeing literature that points the finger clearly at gluten sensitivity as a culprit in a variety of neurologic problems, including depression, cognitive dysfunction, seizures, and even headaches,” Dr. Perlmutter explains the role of gluten in brain health.
Your Brain Needs Healthful Fats
The brain needs health-promoting fats for optimal function. Good examples include organic butter from raw milk, coconut oil, olive oil, olives, nuts like macadamia and pecans, free-range eggs, avocado, wild Alaskan salmon and more. A diet in moderate protein and high fat is a good replacement for the carbs.
The key is to eat high-quality natural fats, and a lot of them… “…the quality of the fat that we consume is absolutely fundamental. When we’re saying high-fat diet, we’re not talking about prepared foods on the Twinkie aisle at the grocery store that contain modified trans fats; hydrogenated fats that are clearly coffin nails. They’re a great risk for brain disorders, heart disorders, diabetes, etc. We’re talking about these beautiful, natural fats that we have been consuming for more than two million years.”