Diet and Alzheimer’s: Diet Soda

Grade: Bad

Sugar is bad so how about artificial sweeteners?  When it comes to dementia you should dump that diet soda down the drain.

April 2017 – Stroke (a journal published by the American Heart Association) ran a prospective cohort study using data from the Framingham Heart Study.  The researchers studied nearly 3,000 participants over the age of 45 and found that those who consumed artificially sweetened beverages were at significantly increased risk of both stroke and dementia.

The two graphs below show A. Risk of all stroke types and B. Risk of all-cause dementia.  Green = zero diet sodas  /  Red = 1 to 6 per week  /  Blue = 1 or more per day

The study concludes that the risk of stroke and dementia increases in each of the 10 years (left to right in the graph) for each group (Green, Red, and Blue).

The graph clearly shows that the more diet sodas you consume and the longer you continue to drink them, the greater your risk of stroke and/or dementia.

Diet soda graph

image source Stroke a journal of the […]

Diet and Alzheimer’s: Olive Oil and Other Oils

The oil you drizzle on your salad or use to cook foods can have a profound effect on inflammation and in some cases specifically on brain inflammation.

 

Trans fats:  Also called trans fatty-acids.  Strongly correlated with systemic inflammation.  Years of research has led to policy changes that have banned and/or phased out trans fats in an increasing number of markets.

 

Olive Oil:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).  Use this at every opportunity.  This is probably a large reason the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s.

Temple University in the U.S. found the following about EVOO:

  • EVOO reduced inflammation in the brain
  • EVOO improved Alzheimer’s related behavioral deficits
  • EVOO increased levels of synaptophysin, a protein found in healthy synpases
  • EVOO reduced the levels and deposition of insoluble Aβ peptide
  • EVOO lowered the amounts of phosphorylated tau protein
  • EVOO activated cell autophagy

EVOO also contains omega-3 fatty acids shown to be neuroprotective:

 

Canola Oil:  May contribute to Alzheimer’s.

  • The mouseheimer’s study comparing memory […]

Diet and Alzheimer’s: Dairy

Grade: Very mixed

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are either bad neutral or beneficial depending on who you ask, what study they believe, and what fat content is being considered.  I’ve read more than I care to remember and the answer still isn’t clear.  This blogger had the same conclusion in 2012 and goes into much more detail.

I love nearly all dairy, so with great personal bias I will go out on a limb and say that it’s probably ok to have moderate amounts of each so long as you opt for the fattest grass-fed version you can find.  Also, it’s probably best to avoid skim and low fat dairy which have been linked in at least one study to Parkinson’s.

 

Diet and Alzheimer’s: Vegetables

Grade: mostly good

As expected vegetables are good for you.  Most colorful vegetables are low in carbohydrates (corn is an exception), while starchy vegetables can actually be a rich source of carbs.  Because the body can readily convert the starches in potatoes and corn into glucose and cause a spike in glucose levels, they should be eaten sparingly.

For more information on why a glucose spike should be avoided click here.

The Glycemic Index was created to rate foods for their effect on glucose levels.

 

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