A leading principle of our evidence-based Memory Preservation Nutrition® program is that excess sugar and refined carbs and starches that challenge our brain’s delicate insulin balance are harmful for the brain.

A new study by the Mayo Clinic published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease forthcoming October 2012 edition, presents more evidence to that effect.  This research study examined the amount of macro nutrients consumed by older adults in their study and found that those with the highest levels of carbohydrate consumption at baseline were of the greatest risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and dementia when tested 3 years later.

Here are links to laymen’s summary of the article.  Mayo Clinic Study finds high carb consumption gives 4 times higher risk of cognitive problems.  and  Could your love of carbs and sugar  lead to dementia?   

Relatively higher consumption of fats and proteins (compared to carbs) appear to PROTECT the brain.  Both proteins and fats, along with a variety of brain healthy foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, spices and whole grains, help slow down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates eaten, and thus prevent overload to our brain’s delicate insulin system, keeping blood sugar in balance in brain and body.

Go to Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease website for the study abstract (Vol. 32, No. 2).

A link to an earlier newsletter articles we published some time ago, on the newsletter section of this website:  July 2010 article on why sugar harms the brain  and April 2010 for description of  brain and diabetes safe  Non Sugar Natural Sweeteners and more recent issues describing how to serve brain healthy holiday meals and treats. 10 Tips for Brain Healthy Foods for the Holidays

We feel a sense of urgency in helping Americans…and people everywhere, to reduce carb consumption, but especially refined sugars and white flours and rice.  Developing recipes for brain healthy desserts is part of our contribution. Look later this week for a guilt-less brain healthy apple crisp!

For those interested in their particular area of nutrition and brain health, consider ordering our  published book chapter giving an overview of the complex process of how nutrition affects our brain health and risk of developing cognitive problems including Alzheimer’s disease. ( Visit our store and click on publications).  You may also want to download our overview article on Lifestyle and Alzheimer’s published Feb. 2012 in Sage’s Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine and Health.

Check back later this week for a blog we’re writing on brain healthy options to offer trick ‘n treaters this Halloween.


JAD Abstract for Mayo Clinic Study

Rosebud O. Roberts, Lewis A. Roberts, Yonas E. Geda, Ruth H. Cha, V. Shane Pankratz, Helen M. O’Connor, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen (Handling Associate Editor: Francesco Panza)
Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia
Abstract: High caloric intake has been associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment. Total caloric intake is determined by the calories derived from macronutrients. The objective of the study was to investigate the association between percent of daily energy (calories) from macronutrients and incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Participants were a population-based prospective cohort of elderly persons who were followed over a median 3.7 years (interquartile range, 2.5-3.9) of follow-up. At baseline and every 15 months, participants (median age, 79.5 years) were evaluated using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, a neurological evaluation, and neuropsychological testing for a diagnosis of MCI, normal cognition, or dementia. Participants also completed a 128-item food-frequency questionnaire at baseline; total daily caloric and macronutrient intakes were calculated using an established database. The percent of total daily energy from protein (% protein), carbohydrate (% carbohydrate), and total fat (% fat) was computed. Among 937 subjects who were cognitively normal at baseline, 200 developed incident MCI or dementia. The risk of MCI or dementia (hazard ratio, [95% confidence interval]) was elevated in subjects with high % carbohydrate (upper quartile: 1.89 [1.17-3.06]; p for trend=0.004), but was reduced in subjects with high % fat (upper quartile: 0.56 [0.34-0.91]; p for trend=0.03), and high % protein (upper quartile 0.79 [0.52 – 1.20]; p for trend=0.03) in the fully adjusted models. A dietary pattern with relatively high caloric intake from carbohydrates and low caloric intake from fat and proteins may increase the risk of MCI or dementia in elderly persons.

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