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.
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 brains 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
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
Time-restricted eating is likely a familiar concept to those of you who participated in our Summer Fasting Challenge. Time-restricted eating, often termed time-restricted feeding (TRF) in scientific literature, is a form of intermittent fasting that restricts consumption of foods and beverages—“energy intake”—to a specific window of time. For example, as we did together in the Summer Fasting Challenge, 18:6 TRF signifies a 6-hour eating window and 18 hours of fasting.
As we discussed during the Summer Fasting Challenge, and as I have written about in recent blogs, it’s clear that there are health benefits to time-restricting our food consumption. In the realm of scientific literature that supports this notion, a study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews is no exception. This study offered a summary of evidence on the effects of time-restricted feeding on both body weight and markers of metabolic disease risk. The authors of this review looked at 11 human studies and 12 animal studies. Both categories of studies included various TRF eating window durations, ranging from 3-4 hours to 12 hours. Continue reading
Over the past several decades efforts have been made to try to convince us that, as it pertains to sugar, fructose is our best choice. One of the reasons often cited for this messaging was the misguided notion that somehow choosing fructose would help reduce risk for diabetes because “fructose doesn’t elevate insulin.” More on that idea later, so for now let’s focus on the relationship between fructose consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes. Continue reading
Lately, in an apparent attempt to push back from the negativity surrounding high fructose corn syrup, there seems to be an increase in the number of articles published touting the advantages of fructose as a “safer sugar.” The main point that is so often emphasized is that unlike glucose, fructose does not seem to increase insulin. Increasing insulin, which is how our bodies cope with increased glucose levels, may, when it’s constantly challenged, lead to a state in which we tend to lose our sensitivity to insulin. This means that with time, on a diet that constantly raises our glucose levels, insulin becomes less effective. Losing insulin sensitivity or becoming “insulin resistant” is not only associated with elevated blood sugar and subsequent diabetes, but also a fairly extensive list of chronic degenerative conditions that we want to do our best to avoid like coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s. Continue reading
What an exciting and important presentation we have for you today. For many years we have been providing information focused on the pivotal role of nutritional choices as they relate to the brain, mostly in the context of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Today, we’re going to explore how our nutritional choices actually impact us from a mood perspective with our very special guest, Dr. Uma Naidoo. Let me tell you a bit more about her.
Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space: She is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef who graduated with her culinary schools’ most coveted award, and a nutrition specialist. Her niche work is in Nutritional Psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field.
In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
I have to shake my head when I still see “egg white omelet” on the breakfast menu at restaurants. Gone are the days when I would ask the waiter or manager why this was offered. Over time I realized that it wasn’t their fault. They were simply parroting the standard dogma that eggs were bad for your heart – especially the yolks with their high levels of “artery-clogging cholesterol” and all.
For decades, we were instructed that dietary fat was virtually kryptonite. And of all the dietary fats we might consume, cholesterol was by far the biggest threat. Continue reading