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Mayo Clinic Study Finds Low Carb Diet May Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Published on October 22, 2012,

A new study suggests that for people over 70, a low carb high fat diet means significantly lower risks of cognitive impairment than a high carb or high sugar diet. This is from the Mayo Clinic…

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROCHESTER, Minn. — People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found. The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The research highlights the importance of a well-rounded diet, says lead author Rosebud Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist.

“We think it’s important that you eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, because each of these nutrients has an important role in the body,” Dr. Roberts says.

Researchers tracked 1,230 people ages 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year. At that time, their cognitive function was evaluated by an expert panel of physicians, nurses and neuropsychologists. Of those participants, only the roughly 940 who showed no signs of cognitive impairment were asked to return for follow-up evaluations of their cognitive function. About four years into the study, 200 of those 940 were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

Those who reported the highest carbohydrate intake at the beginning of the study were 1.9 times likelier to develop mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest intake of carbohydrates. Participants with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times likelier to experience mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest levels.

But those whose diets were highest in fat — compared to the lowest — were 42 percent less likely to face cognitive impairment, and those who had the highest intake of protein had a reduced risk of 21 percent.

When total fat and protein intake were taken into account, people with the highest carbohydrate intake were 3.6 times likelier to develop mild cognitive impairment.

“A high carbohydrate intake could be bad for you because carbohydrates impact your glucose and insulin metabolism,” Dr. Roberts says. “Sugar fuels the brain — so moderate intake is good. However, high levels of sugar may actually prevent the brain from using the sugar — similar to what we see with type 2 diabetes.”

More at:  Eating Lots of Carbs, Sugar May Raise Risk of Cognitive Impairment, Mayo Clinic Study Finds

Too Many Carbs Bad for the Brain?

Published on August 1, 2012,

Daily RX reports on a study published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease which suggests dementia risk was increased for elderly people who got most of their calories from carbs.

A balanced diet has many benefits, but replacing fats with carbs may increase risk of dementia.

A recent study looked at the types of calories elderly people were eating – fats, carbs and proteins – then tracked the people to see how diet related to risk of dementia.

They found that people with high carb diets were almost twice as likely to develop cognitive problems.

Previous research has shown that high calorie diets increase risk of dementia. To look at this idea in more detail, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, led by epidemiologist, Rosebud Roberts, MB, ChB, looked for the possible influence of macronutrients on the risk of developing dementia.

Macronutrients are parts of food that provide most of the calories found in foods. They are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The researchers enrolled 937 elderly people who did not have any signs of mild cognitive impairment or dementia. They were given neuropsychological assessments, tests of cognition, memory and thinking, at the beginning of the study and every 15 months for up to four years.

At the start of the study, patients completed a questionnaire about their typical food intake including the types of food they eat and typical quantities.

The researchers calculated the percentage of calories that people got from carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

During the study, 200 people developed mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The risk of dementia was almost double for people who got the highest percentage of their calories from carbohydrates.

People who got the highest percentage of their calories from fats and proteins showed a reduced risk of developing dementia.

In their abstract, the authors concluded that, “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.”

More at: Too Many Carbs Bad for the Brain

 

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