Type 2 diabetes now affects some 26 million Americans. The mainstay of treatment remains pharmaceutical with an unfortunately small dedication to getting the word out that lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, matter on whole lot as it relates to the actual treatment of this disorder.
But let’s take a step back and review pertinent literature that relates diet not to the actual treatment of the disease, but to risk for becoming a type II diabetic in the first place.
In a study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, risk for developing diabetes was evaluated in more than 85,000 women who were followed over a 20 year period of time. In this group of women, 4670 cases of diabetes appeared. The researchers did an analysis of the diets of each of the participants and specifically determined the amounts of carbohydrate fat and protein that these subjects consumed. In addition, they applied an analysis called glycemic load to the diets with the understanding that diet higher in glycemic load foods are those which tend to increase blood sugar.
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.
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.
Gayle wrote me a very gracious Facebook message soon after reading Grain Brain. I asked her to tell me a bit more about what the book had meant to her, and what she sent me back was a wonderful testament to the power of the Grain Brain diet and the harm glutens and grains have done to our bodies. -Dr. Perlmutter
My parents both had Type 2 Diabetes. My father died at 48 (heart attack), and my mother is alive (85), but has Alzheimer’s. There’s no one on either side of my family who doesn’t have diabetes. I was diagnosed at 42, am now 56 & my blood sugar has NEVER been under control! I’ve been taking so many pills and shots for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, & triglycerides but nothing has ever been enough because I couldn’t stop eating carbs & sugar. The doctors say to eat them but what they don’t realize is that’s like telling an alcoholic to take one drink 3x a day! You just can’t do that when you are totally addicted! Continue reading