Your Brain – Your Choice

Your Brain – Your Choice

We live in a time when the status quo, in terms of recommendations from the medical establishment, is to pretty much live your life however you choose, and then, when you develop some form of malady, there’s going to be a magical “medical fix” for you. To be totally clear, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease whatsoever. None. So what can a person do? This is an especially germane question for those of us who may be at an increased risk for this disease, now affecting some 5.4 million Americans by virtue of our inheritance.

As I described in a recent article I wrote for The Daily Beast, the online version of Newsweek:

The United States has now been granted the distinction of ranking first in terms of increased number of deaths from neurological diseases including dementia. In a recent report in the journal Public Health, Prof. Colin Pritchard and colleagues from Britain’s Bournemouth University evaluated causes of death in the 10 largest Western countries between 1979 and 2010. During that time period, deaths in America related to brain conditions rose an astounding 66% in men and 92% in women.

These compelling statistics are supported by what we’ve recently learned about monetary expenditures for caring for dementia-afflicted patients. In a recent RAND study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, costs for dementia care in 2010 were estimated to be as high as $200 billion, roughly twice that expended for heart disease and almost triple what was spent on treating cancer patients.

Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease. Genes play a role without a doubt, but they do not determine your destiny. Genetic expression is clearly modifiable based upon lifestyle choices – including diet. And this level of understanding is being published in our most well-respected journals, and no one is talking about it. Until now.

Empowering individuals with the knowledge that lifestyle choices can have a powerful impact in determining brain health destiny is the central thesis of my new book Grain Brain. And while there has been some push back from groups with self-interest, like the grain industry, the response to our new book has been outstanding. Grain Brain reached the New York Times Best Seller list the first week it was published and has remained on the list ever since, reaching the #1 ranking, twice. It quickly became the #1 ranked health-related book in Canada, and in 2014 Grain Brain will be published throughout Europe and South America.

Why the success? I am certain it is because Grain Brain, for the first time, has not only challenged the status quo in terms of the misguided recommendations for general health and brain health in particular, but in addition, it provides meaningful, science-based solutions in the form of actionable points that the Western world has been absolutely desperate for.

And it won’t stop here. We are working on the Grain Brain recipe book to be published in September. I will continue to update our social media platforms as the data supporting our recommendations continues to come in, and I will continue to travel the world lecturing to health care providers and general populations alike.

Get ready for 2014!

For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

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  • Ri

    your wife is beautiful! very lovely picture -the picture of health and happiness :) i hope that your book and others like it eventually impact the US and Canadian food guide recommendations and change the misinformation that doctors nurses and others in the health care field are giving when giving dietary recommendations to people. My mother is diabetic and i have told her to cut out the grains but she told me that her dietician has told her that she absolutely needs grains in her diet and she should switch to low fat everything -its just unbelievable it makes me angry and frustrated. People look to those in the health care field for answers and there steering them further down the path of sickness and disease. And then theres the obesity epidemic in children which continues to grow -their quality of life is hugely declined in so many ways and its just so sad. And on the other end of the spectrum the girls suffering from eating disorders because of their fear of food and weight gain. If people just learned about proper nutrition and what a healthy lifestyle really looks like and gave their body the proper nutrition it really needs nobody would be obsessed with food or in fear of food. Keep spreading the word Doc!

    • Kathy Mack

      Ri – sadly, until we stop letting heads of corporations set policy for this country, change will not come from the top down. But, as individuals, we can “be the change we want to see” and if we then get two people to change, and they get two people to change and so on, over time there will be enough citizens demanding that our Government work for us – not corporate interests. The best way to approach something like this is through grassroots effort.

      • ri

        your right Kathy but its all about the bottom line and cashing in our Goverment’s they don’t seem to care about public health and wellness but they pretend they do when they set up health and wellness programs that aim to get people moving and eating right but then they turn around and like you said build on corporate interests so really it all goes in circles-people get fat and sick-health and wellness programs are set up-goverments are sponsoring and supporting food companies and recommending their food products as a ‘guideline’ to healthy eating and taking people right back to square one

    • David Perlmutter

      That’s exactly what I hope to do with Grain Brain: start a conversation around these many topics that leads to changed minds and actions.

      Oh, and thanks for your kind words about my wife, I’ll let her know you said that!

  • Jackie

    All just makes perfect sense to me. I’ve lived a life of fear in everything I eat, never knowing the right or the wrong thing. I have never been convinced deep down that by eating what has been recommended by the medical professional etc to be good, it never felt right to eat, but it tasted nice. Well, now having changed my way of eating to almost the same way that I was fed as a child by my grandmother and mother I feel satified and in some way free to enjoy the food I’ve craved for most of my life. In doing this I have notice a marked difference in my weight and the relief from IBS and acid relfux. I hope that my children will benefit from a future of eating natural and home cooked fresh food. Christmas was my first testing time for me, I ate and drank things that I had not for some three months and I was ill and felt bad after for two days. some times it needs to be done to help me justify that exactly the way I eat now is something that has always been a gut feeling :) . I hope the message gets eventually to the right people that need to help change the way in which the nation are fed. :)

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks Jackie. Glad to have you here as a part of this community. Wishing you good health and a happy, healthy New Year.

  • CallMeAnn

    I have trouble adhering to a low carb diet but I believe the science behind it completely. My mother already has Alzheimer’s and since she lives with me, I am in charge of her diet. I was already on a gf regimen and have essentially forced it on her, with good results. She has precious little enjoyment in life and while I know she shouldn’t be eating sugar, it’s very hard to completely eliminate it. It’s the only thing she lights up for. It’s totally different when you choose an elimination diet for yourself, but to have someone else tell you what you can and can’t eat is very hard to tolerate. She doesn’t understand why tiny amounts of wheat are forbidden. She’s 86 and has lived her life under the moderation model. Many older people crave sweets. I have sharply limited her sugar intake but she still gets far too much. She also craves breakfast cereal, although we use gf varieties, I still don’t like to give it to her. So many problems with managing someone else’s diet.

    • David Perlmutter

      You’re very right Ann, it can be so tough to manage meals not only for yourself, but someone else as well. Wishing you and your mother good health.

  • Julie Shafer

    Dr Perlmutter,thank you for your blog. Your postings are always timely for me, giving me the encouragement I sometimes need to get through the day as it relates to my dietary choices. I was watching Fox News Sunday, the Health segment, “Housecall” this weekend, and they were discussing Alzheimer’s and cholesterol. Dr Siegel mentioned his favor to cholesterol reducing drugs, he sounded like a pharmaceutical salesman. I think we have miles to go before the mainstream medical community goes through a paradigm shift on this topic. I wish you well in 2014 …… and I will continue to carry the torch to healthy brains!!

    • David Perlmutter

      Wishing you well also Julie. Happy and healthy 2014 for you and your family.

      • Susan Mccullough Kershaw

        Hi Dr Permutter,your wife i lovely ,i also have huge chances on my life ,its a great book,Will help me on my new journey and also with my Parents ,who live in Queendsland . thank so much

  • Annik

    Thank you Dr. Perlmutter for this blog. I’ve read Grain Brain in October and have changed my diet after reading it. I have lost 10lbs in the process of eating more fat! I’ve also spread the words and gave copies of your book as Christmas gifts this year. :-) I too do hope that the medical community will catch on quickly as it is confusing to go against what the doctors and nutritionist recommend. My dad had colon cancer (he survived it) and high blood pressure/cholesterol. My doctor is pushing for me to eat more fiber: he is definitely not advocating a low-carb/high fat diet and says I’m putting myself at risk because of my genetic by eating low carb/high fat. It’s frustrating! But I’m 40 and healthy so I’m siding with science on this one!
    Looking forward to your recipe book in 2014. Happy New Year!
    Annik

    • David Perlmutter

      So wonderful to hear of your success Annik. If you like, email me your story so I may share it here on the website! Send to Success@DrPerlmutter.com

  • Pamela

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter:
    How much pork (if any) would you recommend a person could eat on your Grain Brain diet. You’ve mentioned to eat “grass-fed” meats but pork is traditionally grain fed, even on small hobby farms. Our pork are raised on organic grain in a pasture. They don’t graze on grasses as cows or sheep would. They root in the soil which is like tilling (turning the soil over). My understanding is that the heritage breeds of swine do graze. So would your recommendation be to not eat pork unless it is a heritage breed? Thank you Dr. Perlmutter for your feedback.

    • Mark Turvey

      Hi Pamela, I think it is more about the animals natural diet, what they have evolved to consume and thrive on. I am no expert but I would suggest that a pig’s digestive system is very different to that of a cow.

      • Pamela

        Thanks Mark. I appreciate your input. I was hoping Dr. Perlmutter would have answered my question because I’m sure I’m not the only one that eats pork, but maybe it doesn’t make any difference.. Since swine eat grain, I wondered if we should even be eating pork because of the swine consuming grain themselves, not knowing the science behind it all (lol…). But thank you.

  • susanne

    You categorized Quinoa and Amaranth as gluten-free grains in your ‘EAT’ section and advised people to eat these in moderation. They are actually pseudocereals and are not true grains since they are not members of the true grass family. Quinoa is closely related to spinach, beetroots and tumbleweeds species.

    Hope you could clarify on this important issue.

    • ri

      Hi Susanne I wondered about this too I think were ok to eat those but we have to bear in mind there carb content even though gluten free as this could have a bearing on blood sugar levels like oatmeal and this lifestyle is about controlling blood sugar levels and insulin spikes so all naturally gluten free carbs should be consumed in moderation anything like that with a chewy nutty texture like amaranth quinoa or oatmeal I still eat but I do watch the portion size

  • Helen MCcullough Harris

    Hi Dr Perlmutter,

    I agree lovely photo of you and your wife.

    I am currently waiting on my book to arrive.. In the mean time I am slowly making changes to my home and that of my parents…

    So yesterday I have bought coconut oil, sugar, butter and flour… starting clearing out my pantry of food that is bad and replacing with gf products… my dad is suffering with and dementia and Alzheimer’s..

    So I am hopeful that these changes will be noticeable with him soon!

    I am so excited at the prospect of better health for myself and family…

    I would also like to talk about another video I have been asked to watch .. Food matters… Interviews with Drs , naturopaths, health experts,. What was most exciting for me was the facts that the pharmaceutal companies don’t want us to get well they are not going to the cause of the illness just masking it…
    That we truly are what we eat .. Food to repair and replenish our bodies….
    I am now armed with a sense of knowledge that I can be a much healthier me… That my family I hope will take this journey with me….
    Thank you
    wish the book would hurry up and arrive!
    Helen Harris
    Redland bay
    Queensland
    Australia

    • ri

      “So yesterday I have bought coconut oil, sugar, butter and flour”
      you might want to toss the sugar and flour though-those are not on Dr Perlmutter’s recommended list of foods to eat in fact you want to steer clear of sugar and flour!hope you get the book soon. By the way big food corporations work together with pharmaceutical companies and health care providers im sure they all aim to make people eat more crap and get fatter and sicker-its terrible!

      • Helen MCcullough Harris

        Hi so even if the sugar and flour is only organic coconut… There is nothing else added?

        • ri

          well the coconut flour is ok as ive seen it being used in recipes that are low carb and I guess the coconut sugar is better than white sugar but the point is to cut back on sugar its really all the same as it elevates blood sugar levels and spikes insulin which we need to avoid doing I think the basis of the lifestyle is to go back to eating whole foods and eat the way our ancestors did-we now have available to us recipes and ingredients to get creative and make wonderful low carb dishes but its easier when you just stick to whole foods (one ingredient) and don’t start adding this and that-hope that helps :)

          • Helen MCcullough Harris

            Thankyou for explaining it to me..
            I will do what you have advised…
            My book is not due till February so i am looking forward to the read… Changing my diet and my families !
            Cheers

  • Tresa

    I’m vegan. Do you offer alternatives in your diet plan? I find myself eating more gluten free grains for substance?

    • David Perlmutter

      Yes Tresa! The key to being a vegan and following this diet plan is to just make sure you have enough sources of vitamins B12 and D, as well as zinc, copper, magnesium and DHA.

      • Patrick917

        I thought copper was something to avoid if you are trying to dodge Alzheimer’s.

  • Laura

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter,
    This discussion is particularly fascinating to me as both my mother and her sister developed Alzheimer’s .I am 54, have been gluten free for almost 4 years and have adhered to Paleo food choices 90% of the time for the past year (Rice has proven the most difficult grain to remove from my diet as rice flour is frequently used in GF products.) Within 48 hrs. of removing gluten from my diet, my brain fog improved dramatically, and my head “cleared.” I didn’t expect this benefit, but instinctively knew it was related to my new food choices. I am anxious to read Grain Brain – exploring the gut/brain connection is empowering to me, and I love helping others make the connection to protect their future health.

    • David Perlmutter

      Anxious FOR you to read it Laura! So glad to hear your health has turned around.

  • kathi

    Hi Dr. Perlmutter,
    I am a Hormone Specialist NP and have told my patients for years that wheat and virtually all fruit is harmful, esp my patients wanting to lose weight and balancing their hormones. I know in your list you say one glass of red wine is ok…what are your thoughts on those who drink more(we live in wine country!)…my approach to them? I know it is a fruit and a sugar…
    thank you

  • Amanda

    Hello Dr Perlmutter, I nurse my mother who has advanced Alzheimers, and my father also passed away from Alzheimers in 2000 – after 10 years of decline (he was 20 years older than my Mum). Your book and your recommendations are going to be part of this households way forward for the year 2014 (I have two small children who I do not wish the same fate for). Thank-you so much for sharing your knowledge. All the best for 2014!!

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to know I can play a part in your New Year’s resolutions! I am certainly honored.

  • Sharla

    Alzheimer’s runs in my family on my moms side. My Grandma just passed two weeks ago after laying in bed with her eyes closed for more than a year. She has not recognized any of us for probably 10 years. Horrible disease!! I bought the book after hearing your talk on the gluten free summit and have told my mom and sister to read it. I feel great on a grain free diet!!

  • ri

    I just finished watching this documentary called Globesity about the growing obesity epidemic in other parts of the world including Brazil India China and particularly Mexico-its scary and so very sad I teared up a few times watching some peoples stories-the fat and the sick feel so lost and helpless and depressed its heartbreaking. A lot of people in different parts of the world are so uneducated about nutrition they are getting fatter and sicker by the day especially the poor since junk foods and fast foods are cheaper and more readily available. It breaks my heart to see a pudgy kid I used to think they were cute but now I just think they are being set up for a very difficult life- being bullied for their weight and being at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Something needs to be done. Mexico is subsidizing stomach stapling surgery but a lot of people who have that end up gaining the weight back because they never did learn about proper nutrition and adopt good habits. It was surprising to hear that many of the adults in India who have type 2 diabetes don’t even know it! It seems like big food companies like Nestle and Coca Cola are becoming so powerful and are taking over in impoverished cities that now have their products as a staple in their diets-babies with coca cola in their bottles- its just not right. And of course what an expecting mother consumes while the baby is still in the womb will have a bearing on that child’s health and development as well as their marked risk factors for developing diseases like diabetes in their lifetime that’s why I believe that knowledge is power. To educate people about proper nutrition is key and to stop feeding school children slop for lunch at their schools needs to happen first. To do otherwise is to not give a child a chance in life and if their family members like mother and father are fat and sick that impacts them greatly as well-I think change starts with the mother as the matriarch of the family who usually prepares most meals to make the necessary changes and most importantly she needs to take care of herself first so she can be healthy enough to care for her family. I hope these changes will be on the rise in the years to come as more of us are educating ourselves thanks to doctors like you. There is nothing worse than poor health and no greater blessing than good health and without your health you have nothing. These companies are all about the bottom line and cashing in they don’t care about the impacts their having on people’s quality of life. And for anyone who says they cant afford healthy foods I wonder if they can afford to get an illness or disease and afford the steep bills from hospital and doctor visits and costly medications for the duration of their adult life. You are all about preventative measures Dr Perlmutter and that is commendable because it is unconventional and it just makes the most sense! unlike the doctors who write prescription after prescription day after day this is all about nipping it in the bud early on so that the only prescription people need later on in life is good ol’ vitamin D from sunshine.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGL3iT5MMdQ

  • HealthyHopes

    Dr. Pearlmutter:
    What do you think about the cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease link reported in the Los. Angeles times on Dec 30, 2013?
    Here’s the link: http://fw.to/kC2LTZW

    Thanks!
    reader in Atlanta

  • Laurie Larsh Moody

    This all makes so much sense to me. Both my parents ages 81 and 75, have Alzheimer’s and are declining rapidly. I wish I could affect some change in their diets, but I’m in Virginia and they are in Florida. Their main diet is carbs no matter what I have brought into the house in the way of protein, veggies, etc… The healthy items get forgotten and rot. If my parents-are taken to the store or people visit, they have a steady diet of cakes, ice cream, breads and pies. They are truly addicted to carbs, gaining weight and becoming lethargic. I am at my wits end as I can’t be there watching every move. I have to figure it out somehow.

    Reading this book and others like it have me looking at their eating patterns but also have caused me to really stand back and assess my own diet and the need to change. I started my set up to get this new way of life snd eating underway last week and plan to continue on this path so I can at least have a fighting chance to avoid the same fate as my parents which scares me to death. I am so glad I found this blog, every piece of support and information can only help. Thanks Dr. Perlmutter.

    • David Perlmutter

      I’m so glad to hear you find the information we share here helpful Laurie. Wishing you and your family the best of health in 2014.

  • Annette Ford Harper

    I am so thankful I discovered your website and have since read The Grain Brain.

    • David Perlmutter

      And Annette, I am thankful you did as well. Happy to have you join us here.

  • Beth K

    My mother (73) was just diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment / early dementia. This diagnosis was based on verbal tests with both her primary and then with a neurologist (primary doc recommended). She did okay with parts of the test, but where she had a great deal of trouble was remembering words they gave her 5 minutes prior and having to recall the words…she could not do it! She had a catscan to rule out other issues in the brain. The neurologist did not want to go as far as getting a brain tissue sample to make a positive determination of alzheimers simply because it is invasive. She is starting a low dose of Aricept. (As a sidenote: My husband and I read wheat belly over a year and a half ago and have been gluten free ever since. 4 years ago he had a heart attack and 4 stents. Wheat free was the only lifestyle change that seemed to work. In fact, he recently learned that he has NO New Plaque. The cardiologist was floored.) We are constantly talking about our lifestyle change but friends and family have such a hard time understanding the concept. Or better yet, they can’t wrap there arms around giving up wheat, especially when they hear the constant push of healthy whole grains and other recommendations by our government. Now, however, with my mother’s issues, my sister and brother are on board with trying this diet for my mother (mom is also on board). Another issue: My mother is only 92 pounds!!! I’ve been talking with her about getting proper nutrition and she tells me she eats well but her idea of eating well and my idea are two different planets. Her blood test show high glucose levels. While researching I came across your site and saw that is big big sign of brain disease. I am going to my moms today and we are putting together a nutritional action plan. I will be cooking for her and with her. If need be, I will become her personal chef. Now that you have a little background, my question is, at her current stage what improvement (if any) can we expect? I understand you say there is no cure, but can this plan slow down or halt the dementia? A significant focus of your information talks about prevention…..I am asking about how this works as a treatment?

  • Mylène

    Beautiful lady !!!!

  • Katie

    It would be great to include in your upcoming recipe book a section for school lunches. Obviously the standard lunchbox sandwich has no place in this diet and I’d love to have some other suggestions to offer my children. There is also the no-nut policy which more and more schools are adopting now. I find it relatively easy to make a salad for myself for lunch, however children can be fussy eaters, whose palates often take time to mature before they can enjoy certain foods. My children for example only started really enjoying a variety of veggies when they hit about the 12-13 yr old mark. Before that, everything tasted “Yuck!”

  • sheila

    I love your book. I have also found the book by Dr Mary Newport on the use of coconut/mct oil for treating Alzheimers (her husband’s and others) very fascinating) I use it for my rare genetic disease (APBD)…

  • maria

    Even though I have been on a Paleo diet for several years, I am finding cutting back on sweet potatoes and fruit (and thus lowering my blood sugar in order to stave off Alzheimer’s) quite a challenge. Any strategies for motivating one’s self? This blog is a help.

    When I began Paleo, the improvements in my health were so dramatic that I found it possible to stick to the diet. But in tightening my Paleo Diet to conform with the GRAINBRAIN diet, I am eating in a new way to prevent something that has not yet happened to me. Though it did happen to my mother and to 2 friends of mine.

  • lanie

    I am really disappointed that you are into providing supplements. It makes
    you look like a money gruber. There are good supplements out there and
    the latest news that most of that stuff isn’t even good for you.

  • Duke’s mom

    Dr.P: Nice to see you and your wife! My hubby and I have tried to stay on your recommended diet since before TG–though slid off a couple of times in the holidays. Seems to be helping both my energy level and my memory. He is still having issues with nerve pain in his face, but he dropped the statins when we got to that chapter…. My aunt and her caregiver (aunt fighting dementia, both have diabetes) have been working hard to get more exercise and adopt the gluten free diet since Christmas, with low carbs since before that. The caregiver reported that my aunt’s doctor was “delighted” at my aunt’s condition such that she is off blood pressure meds and dropped her diabetes med down to one. In a month she will evaluate her balance issues (which the doc thought caused by some of the drugs). The caregiver reported that her chloresterol was “a bit high”, but she resisted any statins, so the doc told her just to take a baby asprin each day.

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  • Jason

    when you cut out the carbs, try straight bacon in the morning. This will sharpen you brain like nothing on earth.