Possibly the most important section of the blog- in this Food section you will find information on how to properly fuel the brain. There is no denying the correlation between proper diet and dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, proper prenatal care, and improving overall brain health.
With all the nuances of dietary recommendations from keto to paleo to vegan to who knows what else, one thing is clear: there is absolutely no need for added fructose, or any sugars for that matter, in the human diet. And there is an ever-expanding body of research that clearly points out the incredible threat that fructose poses to human metabolic health. Fortunately, many people are getting this message and doing what they can to almost eliminate, or at least substantially reduce the amount of fructose that they consume.
Among the highest sources of fructose in the human diet are sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit juices. Statistics are clearly demonstrating that consumption of these beverages, at least here in America, is declining, no doubt because of the increasing recognition of the health threat posed by fructose. Continue reading
While we accept the notion of the important influences of lifestyle choices as they relate, for example, to the heart, the immune system, lung function, longevity, and even cancer risk, the notion that what we choose to eat and the amount of exercise we get, in terms of influencing the brain, until recently, has been kept off the table. Fortunately, there are dedicated researchers around the country who are part of a vanguard team, making it very clear that we are, in fact, the architects of our brain’s future. Our choices, day in and day out, are exceedingly influential in terms of how our brains will change over time, for better or worse.
Certainly, this has been a central theme in the books I have been writing over the years, as well as other elements of my social outreach. But importantly, and gratefully, I am not alone in this endeavor.
As you may recall, the last time we had the opportunity to interview Dr. Robert Lustig was when he published The Hacking of the American Mind, elucidating how the processed food industry has hacked our bodies and minds to pursue pleasure over happiness, fueling widespread addiction and depression. I’m excited to let everyone know that we again have the opportunity to feature Dr. Robert Lustig on the podcast talking about his new book, METABOLICAL. This new work addresses nutrition, food science, and global health, and explains how by focusing on real food we can reverse chronic disease and promote longevity. For the first time, all strands of this pandemic—the medical, the economic, and the environmental—are pulled together into one clear narrative. And to be sure, the pandemic we are referring to is the pandemic of chronic, noninfectious, preventable diseases, not COVID-19.
Describing the eight pathologies within the cell that belie all chronic disease, Dr. Lustig illustrates how they are not “druggable” but rather “foodable” (i.e. medication can’t cure what nutrition can) by following two basic principles: protect the liver, and feed the gut. He uses this science to chronicle the breakdown in our current healthcare paradigm, which has succumbed to influence from Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Government. In the special chapter “Food in the Time of Corona,” Dr. Lustig addresses the way “pre-existing conditions” (i.e. diet-induced chronic diseases) make us vulnerable to succumbing to acute infectious diseases like COVID-19. He also argues that the nutrition facts label hides information from the consumer by omitting what’s been done to the food, which is more important than what’s in the food. Continue reading
The United States government recently issued its Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This happens every five years so we are now going to have these guidelines in place until 2025.
Unfortunately, as you will see, these guidelines are profoundly insufficient as they relate to nutrition. They are administered to all Americans and become the backbone of nutrition for schools and the military and the general population of our country. In fact, the diet that is recommended is designed only for healthy people, and ultimately that represents only about 12% of our population. This is a one-size-fits-all diet that does not reflect the diversity of our country in terms of race, culture, and importantly, variations in metabolic health. Continue reading
Is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) really as much of a problem as people would like us to believe? And in fact, what about fructose in general? After all, the actual biochemistry of fructose metabolism does not activate insulin, and therefore it might not be as big of an issue in terms of representing a health threat compared to other sugars, like glucose or dextrose. Right?
Well, let’s dig into the science a little bit and see what we can learn. In a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology, researchers wanted to explore how fructose, sucrose (common table sugar, which is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose), or glucose affected the body in terms of some fairly important parameters like the generation of fat in the liver.
The study evaluated the effects of these sugars in 94 healthy young men over a seven-week period. The subjects consumed, on a daily basis, drinks containing fructose, sucrose, or glucose, 80g per day, or a drink that did not contain sugar. Continue reading
Over the past several years a mechanistic concept has arisen that seeks to explain the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. This has been called the bioenergetic theory. Basically, it describes a situation in which the highly energy demanding cells of the brain are somehow compromised in their ability to use fuel. Make no mistake about it, brain cells require an incredible amount of energy to perform their function. In the resting state, the brain, which typically represents only 2 to 5% of total body weight, consumes up to 25% of calories burned.
The brain’s primary fuel is glucose. And one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive failure of the brain’s ability to use this source of fuel, basically a situation in which brain cells are not able to utilize glucose for energy. In fact, specialized PET scanning of the brain can visualize signature areas of the brain that are less functional in terms of glucose utilization that correlate with Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading
Food allergies are an ever increasing problem in our world. And the problem can be life-threatening, and certainly life-changing for as many as 11% of our population. This is why I wanted to bring on the program a world leader on the topic of food allergy who could explain to us exactly what food allergies are all about in terms of their causation, their increasing prevalence, how to handle them on a day-to-day basis, and what the future looks like in terms of developing therapies.
I like onions. It’s true. Anyone who knows me knows that I will welcome onions to almost any recipe. And while this love affair has been going on a long time, it’s great to know now that a particular food that I’m passionate about is actually a really healthful choice.
Onions contain a lot of vitamin C as well as B vitamins and potassium. We know that quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that also serves to reduce inflammation, is found in rich supply in onions. In fact, research has shown a beneficial effect of quercetin in lowering blood pressure, at least in overweight people. Continue reading
By the Dr. Perlmutter Team
The ketogenic diet appears often in content I share as it offers a host of health benefits for conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and more. That list may now include mental disorders. As I recently discussed with Dr. Uma Naidoo, nutritional psychiatry is centered on how food affects mental health. While dietary interventions are known to serve multiple preventive and therapeutic roles in human health, it is exciting that there is a burgeoning field focusing specifically on how nutrition impacts mental disorders, especially in these challenging times.
By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
In conventional medical practice, the connection between diet and mood seems barely, if ever, mentioned. Depression is deemed a disease of the mind, or of the brain, treatable with psychotherapy or potent pharmaceuticals. In the latter, the focus seems primarily on modulating neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Yet in the last several decades, there’s also been a push to revitalize dietary interventions for mood, especially for depression. Some have advocated strongly that food-based therapy is the solution to most health issues including mood disorders. But what does the current research in this field actually say, and are we interpreting it correctly? Continue reading