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colette_heimowitz's Blog
Lower Your Carbs and Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging from the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease has found that people 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar. The study found that people who consume more protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired.

This is consistent with what I’ve written about in past blogs, and it has been shown in past-published research on how a lower carbohydrate diet can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. This is further evidence that a lower-carbohydrate, lower sugar diet with higher proteins and higher fats is a healthy eating approach and will help reduce the risk for cognitive impairment.

The researchers tracked 1,230 people ages 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year. Their cognitive function was evaluated by an expert panel of physicians, nurses and neuropsychologists. Of participants, 940 had no signs of cognitive impairment and were asked to return for follow-up evaluations of their cognitive function.  Four years into the study, 200 of the 940 were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

Study participants who reported the highest carbohydrate intake were 1.9 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest intake of carbohydrates. Participants with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times more likely to experience mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest intake of sugar.   Participants whose diets were highest in fat — compared to the lowest fat intake— were 42 percent less likely to face cognitive impairment, and those who had the highest intake of protein had a reduced risk of 21 percent.   When total fat and protein intake were taken into account, people with the highest carbohydrate intake were 3.6 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

“A high carbohydrate intake could be bad for you because carbohydrates impact your glucose and insulin metabolism,” Dr. Roberts, lead author and a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist, explains. “Sugar fuels the brain — so moderate intake is good. However, high levels of sugar may actually prevent the brain from using the sugar — similar to what we see with type 2 diabetes.” ( I disagree; moderate intake is not good for you. The brain works just as well on ketones and it is the preferred fuel for individuals with insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance.)

What does this mean to you? A low-carb diet like Atkins may be beneficial to you especially if you are at risk for Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. What else do you have to lose other than inches and pounds while preserving your brainpower and improving your quality of life?

Published Monday, October 22, 2012 03:52 PM by colette_heimowitz
Filed Under: Carb Balance/Carb Intolerance, Nutrition
Comments
dartguy said:
Is there any follow up to this as far as if someone changes their diet after showing mild signs of Alzheimers, that it can be reversed or at least improved upon. My dad is a high carb eater and has shown signs of this, so trying to see if we changed his diet there would be any improvements possible. Thanks
October 31, 2012 05:42 PM EST
carol16214 said:
my mother is in the final stage of this diease and was early onset by diabetic and i am afraid that i will be at risk too i am also diabetic
November 03, 2012 08:31 AM EST
corvettelady said:
My Mother passed away this past August - 84 years old suffering from severe Alzheimer's (now being called type 3 diabetes) for around 15 years. I've done a lot of reading on health and nutrition for years and I firmly believe it was because of her SAD diet, overweight (large belly) as she was addicted to sugar - cookies, cakes, candy, etc. However, I age 56 have been doing the opposite, eating a high fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that has worked very well for me. Our brains need good fats - organic extra virgin coconut oil, grass-fed ghee/butter, bacon fat (no nitrates), olive oil, fish oil, nuts/seeds, grass-fed meats, raw milk/dairy/cheese and organic vegetables/leafy greens & berries. I've lost 27 lbs and have so much more energy - never felt better and this is how we're supposed to live! Following the low-carb diet reduces your chances of getting Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases.
November 14, 2012 09:50 PM EST
Redtribe-Cindi said:
I have read recently that they were considering calling Alzheimer's Diabetes 3, but I hadn't heard that they had actually done that! When did that happen?
January 03, 2013 07:33 PM EST
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