The idea that sugar could be one of the main culprits behind Alzheimer’s disease might sound a bit far-fetched at first. But the truth is scientists are beginning to uncover links between how much sugar we eat and this memory robbing disease.
In fact, the link appears to be so strong that some experts are even beginning to refer to Alzheimer’s disease as Type-3 diabetes .
When people list their fears, death and public speaking always seem to be at the top. But what many people fear even more than death is the loss of their mental capabilities.
Most people, for example, would choose death over forgetting loved ones, needing someone to tie their shoes and dress them, and especially over needing someone to help them to the bathroom.
While scientists are still puzzling over the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease, a few recent discoveries have uncovered the connection between the sugar we put in our mouths and the loss of memory later in life.
While the studies are not conclusive, think about what this connection might mean: We all have it in our hands to prevent this awful disease from happening to us.
The link between sugar and Alzheimer’s disease
Here’s what scientists have uncovered about the connections between Alzheimer’s and sugar.
Our brains produce insulin. This is an incredible breakthrough in our understanding of how we process sugar. Previously, scientists believed the pancreas was the only organ in our body that produced the sugar-regulating hormone.
Brain Insulin Plummets:
Researchers also have found that folks suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have a dramatic drop in the amount of insulin in their brains. The scientists are even discussing using the amount of insulin in the brain as a way to track the progression of the disease. In the early stages of Alzhiemer’s, brain insulin is high and then drops as the disease gets worse. This drop in brain insulin, by the way, mimics what happens in the rest of the body when someone gets diabetes.
Insulin is not alone:
Insulin does not travel alone in the body, it has “friends.” There are other factors in the brain called insulin-like growth factors and these factors drop when insulin decreases.
It’s the loss of these insulin-like growth factors that are thought to lead to brain cell death and the shrinking of the brain that’s seen in Alzheimer’s patients.
The connection between Alzheimer’s and diabetes
We’ve known for some time that there’s some sort of a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. If you have diabetes, you have a much greater risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists, though, caution that we still need to recognize that they are two distinct diseases: There are people with diabetes who don’t have Alzheimer’s disease and vice-versa. While the diseases are related, they’re not the same disease.
The big question that remains about sugars connection to Alzheimer’s disease is what causes insulin in the brain to drop in the first place. If the drop in brain insulin mimics the same drop in people with diabetes, then the amount of sugar we’re all eating is suspect.
Insulin regulates sugar throughout the body and our pancreas can get “burned out” by always trying to keep up with the large amount of sugar most of us eat. The same may be true of the brain.
Save your brain with a diet tweak
If the amount of sugar you eat is responsible for your brain deteriorating later in life, then you have the power to change what’s going to happen to you later in life. Think about how powerful that is: Changing your diet now can literally alter your whole life.
Quitting sugar and foods that act like sugar is no small task, but it’s well worth the effort. Foods high on the glycemic index act like sugar in your system and your body treats them essentially the same way as any other sugar.
Below is a partial list of high glycemic foods that act like sugar in your body
|Long grain rice|
|Breads (all breads)|
|Kaiser bread rolls|
|Whole Grain bread|
|Breakfast Cereals (almost all)|
|Instant Cream of Wheat|
|Crackers and Chips (almost all)|
|Puffed rice cakes|
|Other Breakfast Foods|
Your body doesn’t care if you eat a tablespoon of sugar or take a bite of a baguette the results are pretty much the same. Your blood sugar skyrockets.If you want to maintain good blood sugar control, and possibly protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease I always recommend eating low or below the glycemic index.
Dr. Scott Olson
Dr. Scott Olson is a naturopathic doctor, an expert in natural medicine and the author of the book Sugarettes.
You can read his blog at http://olsonnd.com/