Frequently Asked Questions
Throughout my work on Grain Brain and Brain Maker and my subsequent books, I’ve received a lot of questions on subjects like low-carb diets, gluten-free diets, and eating to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some of these questions have appeared countless times, so I’m pulling together the answers here in this FAQ section of my website. This should cover some basic questions on gluten, exercise, supplements, and more, and prove a useful tool for you to direct friends and family members to when they have questions of their own.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Carbs and Grains
This is a common question, and it’s one I get quite often, especially as going grain-free and gluten-free becomes a more popular lifestyle choice. My answer is straightforward: yes, you can enjoy grains prepared in this fashion. However, you must be absolutely sure the grains you are consuming are gluten-free and that you are keeping a close eye on total carb consumption in your diet, both of these grains and generally.
Remember, a Grain Brain lifestyle is not just about eliminating gluten from the diet, but reducing your carbohydrate load as much as is possible. In fact, this is critical for your health! If we remove gluten but overconsume carbs, we will be doing no favors to our health or our body!
So again, if you want to consume soaked grains, my answer is this: yes, go ahead and do so at your leisure. But monitor yourself! You must always make sure the grains are gluten-free, and that you’re tracking your total carbohydrate consumption. I would suggest keeping a journal of daily carb consumption, or engaging in some sort of practice that presets your carb consumption the day before (like meal planning), or limits carbohydrate consumption to certain scenarios.
Research published in the Journal 1 and elsewhere2 strongly suggests that persons with celiac disease can consume moderate amounts of uncontaminated oats. Nonetheless, celiac disease organizations in the United States continue to advise against the consumption of oats because of concern that commercial oat products may be contaminated with wheat, barley, or rye during harvesting, transporting, milling, and processing.2 However, little information is available on the contamination of oat products in the United States. Here I report an assessment of selected brands of oats for gluten contamination. Twelve containers of rolled or steel-cut oats, representing four different lots of each of three brands, were purchased in Massachusetts between October 2003 and March 2004. The three brands were Quaker (Chicago), selected because it is a popular brand of oatmeal in the United States; Country Choice (Eden Prairie, Minn.), because it is certified to be organic; and McCann’s (Odlum Group, Naas, Ireland), because it is processed in an oats-only facility. Containers were sent unopened to an independent laboratory (Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, Lincoln, Nebr.) for analysis. Samples of oats were homogenized and analyzed in duplicate, according to instructions from the manufacturer (R-Biopharm, Darmstadt, Germany). The Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), recently validated by the Working Group on Prolamin Analysis and Toxicity, was used for the analysis.3 This ELISA uses R5, a monoclonal antibody, that is equally sensitive to the prolamins of wheat, barley, and rye and that is insensitive to the prolamins of corn, rice, and oats.4 Internal controls for this assay include six gliadin standards of known concentration. The limit of gluten detection is 3 ppm. For this assessment, oat samples were considered gluten-free if they contained 20 ppm or less of gluten, in accordance with the current Codex limit for naturally gluten-free foods.5 The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1. On the basis of the mean gluten level in the two extractions, 3 of the 12 oat samples contained gluten levels of less than 20 ppm. The other nine samples had gluten levels that ranged from 23 to 1807 ppm. All three brands of oats had gluten levels above 20 ppm in at least two of the four samples tested. Ranges according to brand were as follows: McCann’s, below the limit of detection to 725 ppm; Country Choice, below the limit of detection to 210 ppm; and Quaker, 338 to 1807 ppm.
Dr. Perlmutter in the Media
Dr. Perlmutter has been featured on national television programs and news networks, including 20/20, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, Oprah, Dr. Oz, and CBS This Morning. He is regularly interviewed for podcasts and an array of publications.