According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and roughly 1 in 3 seniors will die of it. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease for which there is currently no known cure.
However, we know that lifestyle choices such as diet, sleep and exercise can have a massive impact on one’s Alzheimer’s risk. In fact, Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found lifestyle changes to be more effective than any medicine at reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Of all the lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, few have as much of an impact as reducing your sugar intake.
Research has shown time and time again that high blood sugar can boost one’s risk of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Mercola refers to it as “a disease fed by sugar,” saying that the combination of processed foods and high sugar could be behind the skyrocketing prevalence of Alzheimer’s.
A toxic protein called ADDL could be to blame here.
ADDL removes insulin receptors from nerves and as they accumulate, the memory gradually begins to deteriorate. This could also explain why those with diabetes are at such a higher risk of Alzheimer’s than the rest of the population.
We still don’t yet fully understand the connection between the two but Mayo Clinic reports that those with type 2 diabetes are at a much higher risk for vascular dementia, which occurs as a result of blocked blood flow to the brain.
Sugar Raises Your Heart Disease Risk
Sugar-induced insulin resistance has also been shown to increase one’s risk for heart disease.
And as the Alzheimer’s Association states, risks associated with heart disease turn into risks for Alzheimer’s. So excess sugar is, in many ways, a bag of worms that puts you at risk for both incredibly troubling and prevalent diseases.
What Is Excess Sugar, Anyway?
It’s probably a lot less than you think. A study found in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that a slight elevation in blood sugar level – around 105 or 110 – leads to an associated risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Dr. Perlmutter states that a blood sugar level of 92 or above is too high. The ideal blood sugar level is between 70 and 85.
Key Dietary Points to Remember for Alzheimer’s Prevention
• Eat real, organic food. Avoid processed foods as much as you can, as these are harmful for your brain.
• Replace refined carbohydrates with healthy fats because that’s what your brain needs. Avoid all trans fats.
• Stay away from gluten and casein as they negatively affect your blood-brain barrier, which plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.