As you may have heard, University of Southern California researchers recently published a report in the journal Cell Metabolism in which they related consumption of higher levels of protein from animal sources to increased mortality risk, as well as increased risk for the development of cancer. Interestingly, the same report also revealed that lower levels of protein consumption in elderly people might actually be worse in terms of risk for various health issues. The authors concluded:
These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.
The study followed 6,381 adults over an 18 year period and collected data revealing what foods were consumed as well as any specific health issues that developed.
Overall, I think the study does provide some very valuable information. If we are to interpret the results with the hope of gaining ideas about our food choices it’s important to recognize that the study clearly points a finger at the consumption of meat and dairy products in America, and that’s where we need to focus our attention.
Over the past several years I have been calling attention to the profound relationship that exists between elevation of blood sugar and risk for developing dementia. This evolving body of knowledge stems from the incontrovertible evidence linking risk for dementia with having diabetes.
More compelling is the evidence that demonstrates that this relationship becomes even more dramatic based on the length of time a person has suffered from diabetes. To be sure, I’m talking about type 2 diabetes which now affects about 28.6 million Americans. This is the type of diabetes that, in most people, is directly reflective of dietary and other lifestyle choices like exercise, stress reduction and getting enough sleep.
In this report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Rosebud Roberts, of the Mayo Clinic, whose work I have cited before, demonstrated a profoundly increased risk for developing dementia in elderly individuals who became diabetic before the age of 65, as well as in those who had been diabetic for 10 years or longer.
Here’s the take home message: you can absolutely and dramatically reduce your risk for becoming a diabetic today by changing your diet to one that includes much fewer carbs and sugars and reintroduces healthful fats back to the table. In addition, regular aerobic exercise will help to reduce diabetes risk, and, as such, go a long way to helping you avert dementia.
For more information, order your copy of Grain Brain today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.
The path that brought J to a gluten-free, LCHF diet is interesting to learn about. The fact that he is a fellow medical practitioner makes it even more so. – Dr. Perlmutter.
I am a physician who has had intermittent diarrhea my entire life as did most of the members of my family. I simply lived with it. However, in my mid-forties, I started developing other symptoms, including inflammatory arthritis of my PIP joints of the hand (negative rheumatologic workup), odd fatigue, and three year’s worth of microscopic hematuria (negative urological workup). I was serum negative for the standard gluten markers and endoscopy biopsies were negative.
But within 4 weeks of stopping gluten on a dare from my sister, my blood in the urine stopped and has never returned (I presume kidney inflammation was present), my joint pains slowly subsided, the fatigue lifted, and the lifetime diarrhea has vanished. Man was I a happy guy!
Frank makes reference to Why We Get Fat, by my colleague, friend and fellow author Dr. Gary Taubes. I suggest you learn more about his book, as it’s a great read too. – Dr. Perlmutter
I am a retired police sergeant, 66 and originally became interested in low-carb dieting after reading Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat. Since I was diagnosed several years ago with pre-diabetes I realized I had to do something to avoid going into full diabetes. Taubes made a convincing case to put good fats back in the diet and cut all processed carbohydrates out.
I have been following your message since you first appeared on the Dr. Oz show. You not only document the basis behind your recommendations with peer-reviewed studies, but with the success of the patients you have counseled. In addition, I have never heard an expert in the area present the information in such a convincing way. I realize every time I hear you talk on a show that you honestly care about making a difference in getting the message out that could potentially save millions of lives. After hearing the story about your father I can understand where all of that passion comes from.
I have been following the exact guidelines you have recommended including eliminating grains and it has turned around my health completely. No pre-diabetes. A loss of 30 pounds. A loss of body fat. Loss of BPH symptoms. I feel better than ever and do not even get a cold now. I also work out 6 days a week and feel my mind is sharper than ever.
In a recent edition of the journal Neurology, German researchers evaluated the size of the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus, using a specialized type of MRI scanner. In addition, they measured the blood glucose levels in the same individuals. When the data was analyzed, a direct relationship was found between the degree of atrophy or shrinkage of the hippocampus and blood sugar measurements. Even subtle elevations of blood sugar, far below the level where one would be labeled as being diabetic, were already associated with brain shrinkage.
What’s more, the researchers also performed cognitive testing on these individuals and showed a direct relationship between failing memory and blood sugar elevation.
The take home message here is straightforward. Even mild elevations of blood sugar correlate perfectly with both brain degeneration as well as compromised function. And because your blood sugar directly reflects your sugar and carbohydrate consumption, you can choose to directly influence the size, and more importantly the preservation of function of your brain. As the authors of this report stated:
Moreover, our results indicate that lifestyle strategies aimed at long-term improvement of glucose control may be a promising strategy to prevent cognitive decline in aging.
There are studies available on this site that reinforce the scientific basis for many of the improvements Virginia saw. – Dr. Perlmutter
I am a 54 year-old Type 1 diabetic that was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago. Additionally, I have suffered from back pain that had been peviously diagnosed as a pinched nerve, I had a skin rash that was diagnosed as eczema, and I had years of sinus problems, which included one surgical procedure to remove polyps. I presented this history to an endocrinologist and she immediately referred me to her brother who was a gastroenterologist.
After following a gluten-free diet for several weeks, I realized that my back pain had disappeared, my skin rash was gone and my sinus problems also went away. After going thru so many years of steroid shots, creams, and a multitude of other treatments, I was thrilled to see the differences. I wish everyone about to undergo back or sinus surgery would be tested for Celiac first. Today, I am taking steps to pay closer attention to my blood sugar.
It’s unfortunate to hear that someone like Diana had to suffer for so many years before finding answers, but the impact that going gluten-free has had on her health is wonderful to hear. – Dr. Perlmutter
My entire life, I’ve coped with hydrocephalus – 52 years now. I was diagnosed at three months (November 1961) and spent the majority of the next eighteen months in hospitals. I had a couple of unsuccessful shunts, spinal meningitis and then a successful shunt that went unrevised for 13 years. At fifteen, my neurosurgeon felt that I needed a revision. Six years later, I found out that this wasn’t the case, and that it was totally unnecessary. In 1983, I had a staph infection in the tubing and had it removed (I’ve been “shuntless” for over thirty years now). The surgery was performed under a local anesthetic, which I was happy about as it meant I didn’t need to wait a day or two for the general anesthesia to work its way out of my system. I was back to ‘normal’ within less than half an hour.
If you haven’t visited the Science section of my website recently, you may not have noticed that I recently added a link to Neurology, one of the most authoritative, and widely read, journals on the subject of neurology. The selection of studies that I’ve linked to document the relationship between glucose and dementia, and provide further support for the claims I have made in Grain Brain. I encourage you to browse through this area to see the great research that is being done in this field. Allow me to point out a few studies in particular that I find worthy of note:
Tom’s story has some quantifiable results that are indisputable proof he made positive changes to his diet and lifestyle. I’m honored to know Grain Brain may have played a role in that. – Dr. Perlmutter
I saw your segment on Dr. Oz in October of 2013 and ordered the book October 2. I am 70 years old and was taking Lisinopril, Simvastatin and 2500 mg of Metformin a day at the time, and I weighed 198 lbs. I began a low-carb diet immediately after reading the book, which I finished in one day.
Previously, I had my last blood work done on September 9. The numbers I saw when I had my blood work done after starting Grain Brain astounded even me: triglycerides = 114, cholesterol ratio 4.8, fasting blood sugar down from 165 to 86, Hemoglobin A1C down from 7.3 to 5.8, and liver enzymes ALT (32 to 23) and AST (28 to 24)! As a result, my doctor will be reducing my Metformin shortly (I’ve been taking 4 x 500mg for the last month). Most noticeably, my weight is down to 173 lbs and I feel great! I walk at a senior center and am an avid golfer.
I have an identical twin brother who is also a Type 2 diabetic who recently relaxed his eating habits. I mailed him your book today. Here’s to hoping it can help him as much as it has helped me.
-Tom M. from New York
Lynn’s journey to take back control of her health started with the release of Grain Brain, and it’s incredible to read about the results she has been able to achieve thus far. – Dr. Perlmutter
Although I was an active, recreational runner, I started gaining weight with each pregnancy. The teaching for healthy eating during this phase of my life included lots of whole grains, low-fat, and low-cholesterol foods, along with antioxidant nutritional supplements. I developed gestational diabetes with my third pregnancy at age 40, which I controlled by a rather intensive walking program. At that time, I was supplied with a glucose monitoring machine and supplies. In recent years my fasting blood sugar began to rise to the 115 to 125 range, which is a very unhealthy trend, but the gestational diabetes was a harbinger of it, so I was on the lookout.