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The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD, and Prof. Tim Noakes

Prof. Tim Noakes is one of my all-time heroes. As many of you may know, Prof. Noakes, a South African physician, was brought before a professional council for his advocacy of a lower carbohydrate diet. Ultimately he was fully exonerated, defending his position with reference to recommending higher fat consumption while reducing carbohydrates, as documented in the movie The Magic Pill, which focuses not only on the importance of reducing refined carbohydrates for weight loss, but also how diets higher in these carbohydrates are threatening to our health and pave the way for disease.

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Simple Carbs Threaten the Brain

Today’s video takes a look at a subject that’s at the forefront of our discussion on this blog: how lifestyle choices can impact the fate of your brain. Specifically, we’re looking at how the lifestyle choices that can lead to the development of diabetes may also play a role in raising your risk for Alzheimer’s disease (remember, a disease for which there is no cure).

A new study, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, explores changes we see in brain energetics, or the brain’s ability to utilize fuel. Traditionally this is looked at considering glucose, or sugar, as a fuel source. Continue reading

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New to a Low-Carb Keto Diet? Avoid These Common Mistakes

By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team

The ketogenic diet is one of the most talked about and debated diet trends today. You’ve probably heard celebrities, athletes, and neighbors raving about the benefits of this dietary approach. Interestingly, the science backs up its rapid growth in popularity, as a ketogenic diet has been shown to have numerous health benefits for its adherents. The diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve glycemic control in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, help individuals struggling with obesity lower their BMI, and even improve or control symptoms of debilitating neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and epilepsy. There is even some evidence to suggest that a ketogenic diet can play a role in the treatment of cancer! If it is implemented properly, adopting a ketogenic diet can be a very powerful tool in the fight against a variety of chronic diseases.

If you’ve recently made the decision to transition to a ketogenic diet or are exploring the possibility of a change, chances are you might currently find yourself in a world of confusion. What is ketosis? What are ketones? Can I really eat all the fatty foods I want? How can this possibly be good for me?

Allow me to address some of these questions. Continue reading

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Ketosis and Memory in Cognitively-Impaired Adults

There is certainly a lot of discussion these days about the ketogenic diet, especially as it relates to brain function. I thought it would be instructive to review one of the most important, and early, research studies in this area, as it reveals several very important findings that are worthy of attention.

The study, Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults, dates back to 2003. Why this is relevant with respect to the ketogenic diet is because beta-hydroxybutyrate is one of the ketones produced when somebody is in ketosis. The ketogenic diet is one that is aggressive in terms lowering dietary carbohydrate intake while increasing dietary fats. The production of ketones is amplified in people who supplement with things like coconut oil or MCT oil. Continue reading

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You Can Lose the Weight – Four Simple Steps

Go to the mall. See a movie. Look around next time you’re in an airport. What you’ll see is the confirmation of all the statistics that we’re hearing so much about these days related to the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity. It’s everywhere and it’s affecting most of us.

Books, online information, infomercials, daytime T.V., and even nightly news programs are constantly hammering us with the scary news that relates increasing abdominal girth to just about every bad medical condition you don’t want to get. At the same time, these same resources offer up some new trendy solution to the obesity epidemic daily, often in the form of some new and exotic dietary supplement.

Truth is, losing weight doesn’t happen when you give in and buy the latest pill. Weight loss happens when the body shifts from storing fat to burning fat. It is that simple, and far and away how we signal our metabolism to make this fundamental shift depends on what we choose to eat. Continue reading

Gluten Sensitivity – Challenged by a New Study?

The prevalence of gluten sensitivity has been the subject of lively debate over the past several years with some researchers indicating that as many as 30% of us have a bona fide reaction to gluten and even more recent science indicating that in fact, all humans have some degree of gluten sensitivity. But that was until a recent massive Australian study was published in the journal Gastoenterology.

This new research has captivated the press as it has been manipulated to send a message that in reality, gluten sensitivity doesn’t actually exist, and that the reactions people may have to consuming gluten containing products may well have to do with other components of the foods called FODMAPS – a group of poorly absorbed carbohydrates.

I recently had the opportunity to appear on a National Public Radio interview in which several “gluten experts” were also interviewed. Sure enough, this study, calling into question the whole notion of gluten sensitivity was debated. In fact, one of the authors of this highly comprehensive study was also a guest on the program.

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Elevated Blood Sugar Shrinks the Brain

Studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between changes in size of the brains memory center, the hippocampus, and declining memory function. So it’s obviously in our great interest to do everything we possibly can to preserve the size of hippocampus, which is to say, prevent hippocampal atrophy.

It has become clear that there is a powerful direct relationship between not only fasting blood sugar, but even average blood sugar, in terms of predicting the rate at which the hippocampus will shrink and therefore memory will decline. In a new report, recently published in the journal Neurology, researchers in Germany evaluated a group of 141 individuals, average age 63 years, with memory testing as well as a specific type of MRI scan of the brain to measure the size of the hippocampus in each participant. At the same time they looked at blood sugar levels as well as  average blood sugar, by assessing a blood test called hemoglobin A1 c.

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Dietary Fat and The Brain

Think of it. For just the past 3 decades we have somehow become convinced that dietary fat represented a threat to our health. Mind you, fat has been a critical macronutrient for humans and our forebears for at least 2 million years. But suddenly, fat became responsible for every health woe you could think of.

Fortunately, science and common sense now prevail and this ridiculous aberration in human nutrition has been corrected.

Welcome fat back to the table. It’s good for the heart, brain, immune system and just about every aspect of human physiology you consider. And as it specifically relates to dementia, new research clearly shows us that individuals eating more of the “dreaded” fat actually have a substantial risk reduction for becoming demented while those with diets favoring carbohydrates the risk for dementia dramatically increased.

Debates about what we should be eating are often carried out from positions based on emotion. I believe we should place greater value on the published science coming to us from our most respected institutions.