BRAIN HEALTH: High carb diet linked to Alzheimer’s

Maybe going gluten-free isn’t just a fad after all. Studies show that high-carb and gluten-rich diets may cause Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression and ADHD

One person is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes in the UK. Dementia Awareness Week has been renamed as Dementia Action Week. It’s time for us to act on making changes as well as raising awareness and helping to raise funds for people living with dementia.

According to Dr David Perlmutter, neurologist and author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers the rise in blood sugar caused by eating carbs can be detrimental to brain health.

He recommends eating a low-carb, high-fat, gluten-free diet to prevent these degenerative diseases. The reason, he says? Our modern grain-rich diet cannot be supported by our genetic make-up.

Wheat ears in the hands.Harvest concept

‘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,’ he says to Alternative and Complementary Therapies.

He says that from the beginning of human existence on the planet, we did not eat many grains and instead ate a high-fat, low-carb diet, on which our bodies thrived.

Alessio Fasano, MD and chief of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, found that gluten stimulates the production of zonulin, which in turn allows gluten access to the blood stream. He also found that zonulin increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, causing our brain to not function properly.

Studies have shown that diseases such as Alzheimer’s and ADHD may be preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle, even beginning at young ages. A recent article in Neurology reported that high levels of blood glucose (a result of a diet high in carbs) could translate into memory compromise and shrinkage of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with information retention.

Dr Perlmutter says that between scientific literature and clinical observation, removing gluten and carbs and adding healthy fats can decrease ADHD, depression and dementia. He also says that 30 percent of non-ceoliac people can be sensitive to gluten.

Read one of our own Healthista’s journey as she gives up gluten for SIX weeks

Perlmutter recommends a paleo or caveman diet approach to reduce risks of brain diseases he links to gluten and grain consumption – read our editor’s personal account of going paleo.

grain brain bookGrain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers By Dr David Perlmutter, £9.99 from amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Healthista content:

6 proven ways to prevent dementia

13 ways to prevent dementia – the neuroscientist’s guide

10 proven ways to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s

25 surprising ways to improve your brain health

 

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