Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that causes people to lose their memories, their personality, and their ability to reason. Since it’s a disorder that usually affects older people, it’s something that many of us fear for our whole lives. As we still don’t know exactly what causes this horrific disease, it’s difficult to know how to avoid it.
However, research has been done into the potential effect that diet may have on the development of this dementia. The results are completely shocking. Scientists have proven that there’s a link between sugar and Alzheimer’s.
The Studies That Prove It
A longitudinal study was recently published in the Diabetologia journal. In it, the researchers involved followed 5,189 over a 10-year period and monitored their blood sugar and mental function. They found that the participants who had higher blood sugar had a faster cognitive decline.
“Dementia is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions strongly associated with poor quality of later life,” says Wuxiang Xie, lead author of the longitudinal study. “Currently, dementia is not curable, which makes it very important to study risk factors.”
A similar study was led by Rosebud Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic. She studied over 1,000 people and separated them into 4 groups. These groups were based on how much of the participants’ diets consisted of carbohydrates and sugar. Shockingly, the group that ate the most carbohydrates had an 80% higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment than those who ate less.
Diabetes and Alzheimer’s
Professor Melissa Schilling of New York University has also done her own research on the subject of sugar and cognitive decline. She wanted to find an answer as to why people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. As well as that, she also wanted to find out why diabetics who were treated with insulin were also more likely to develop the illness.
According to Schilling’s research, this happens because of the insulin-degrading enzyme. This enzyme is a product of insulin that breaks down both insulin and amyloid proteins in the brain. Interestingly, amyloid proteins can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, this doesn’t just affect people with diabetes. Schilling claims that people with prediabetes who have slightly higher blood sugar than normal are also at risk. Sadly, prediabetes affects approximately 86 million Americans.
Sugar Simply Does More Harm Than Good
According to Rebecca Gottesman, professor of neurology at John Hopkins, diet is everything when it comes to our cognitive function. She has theorized that diabetes can weaken people’s blood vessels which increases the chance of having ministrokes. This can later cause various forms of dementia.
Similarly, obesity is also a huge issue. Extra fat in the body releases inflammatory proteins that can contribute to cognitive deterioration.
However, even people who aren’t obese or have diabetes need to watch their sugar intake. “Just because you don’t have type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can eat whatever carbs you want, especially if you’re not active.” says Roberts “What we eat is a big factor in maintaining control of our destiny.” Even the decisions that we make when we’re young can greatly affect what happens to us in later life.
Research has shown time and time again that our diet can greatly affect our mental function. This is especially true when it comes to sugar. Therefore, it may be best if we all try to cut sugar out of our diets as much as possible. That chocolate cake may be tempting, but avoiding it is much better than possibly developing Alzheimer’s.
Do you know someone who eats a lot of sugar? If so, share this article with them. They may be damaging their health in ways that they didn’t even realize.