Many people wrongly believe that Alzheimer’s is a natural part of the aging process, but it is not. There is a big difference between a little age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease, often known just as Alzheimer’s, is a progressive condition that attacks the brain, destroying the memory and other crucial mental functions. It’s most common in older people, but it can affect younger people too.
Over time, Alzheimer’s gradually and irreversibly erases the patient’s personality, robs them of the ability to live unaided, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United states. While there are treatments that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, it is currently incurable.
While genetics can play a part in your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, research by Bath University in England has revealed that chronically elevated levels of blood glucose, properly called hyperglycemia, can be linked to an increased risk of developing this very unpleasant disease.
People with badly managed diabetes who experience prolonged, elevated levels of blood glucose are known to be more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease when compared to non-diabetics, or diabetics who manage their blood glucose levels effectively. This led scientists to investigate the link between hyperglycemia caused by eating too much sugar and Alzheimer’s.
Scientists at Bath University, working alongside colleagues at King’s College. London, studied brain samples from people with and without Alzheimer’s. They discovered that, in the early stages of the disease, an enzyme called macrophage migration inhibitory factor, or MIF for short, was negatively affected when blood glucose levels were allowed to remain elevated for long periods of time. This caused what is called glycation damage – glycation being the process of using sugar (in the form of glucose) for energy.
MIF is part of your body’s immune system response, and helps to protect the brain from the buildup of abnormal proteins, thought to be a major cause of Alzheimer’s. In simple terms, too much sugar damages the enzyme MIF which is one of the ways your body protects the brain from the risk of Alzheimer’s. Damaged MIF means an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
In the words of Dr. Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath’s Department of Biology and Biochemistry,
“Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets.”
The research suggested that a high level of blood glucose was the “tipping point” for the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and that the higher your sugar intake, and therefore your blood glucose levels, the greater the risk of developing Alzheimer’s becomes.
According to research published in the Scientific American, a blood glucose lowering medication used by diabetics called metformin could be used to help treat Alzheimer’s disease but, in my opinion, prevention would be better than cure. That preventative measure? Eating less added and refined sugar.
If you have read any of my previous articles, you’ll already know I am a big advocate of avoiding too much dietary sugar. A high sugar intake is bad for your health and can make losing weight almost impossible. Sugar is highly addictive, robs your body of essential nutrients, is bad for your teeth, and can also affect your emotions and mood. You are, after all, what you eat!
I’ve created a 20 N0-Sugar Days Challenge. Challenge yourself and ditch sugar from your diet. It’s 100% Free and everybody can do it. Join here.
The biggest problem with sugar is that it is added to almost all processed foods. Sometimes it’s obvious, like candy and soda, while other times it’s not so easy to spot, like when it’s added to soup, potato chips, and other savory foods. A lot of us eat a lot of sugar – often without realizing it.
Because sugar is so addictive, food manufacturers add it to as many foods as they can to make you buy more, and therefore increase their profits. The only real way to avoid added sugar is to a) read your food labels, choosing foods with little or no added sugar, and b) prepare as many of your own low-sugar meals as you can – my favorite sugar-free recipes, you can find all here.
For more information about what sugar does to your body (and why you need to eat less of it), please check out this video. It’s only five minutes long but it’s no exaggeration to say that the information in it could save your life.
I’ve published many articles about the dangers of sugar, and now there is one more reason to eat less of this evil, white stuff. Having seen up close how Alzheimer’s affects not only the sufferer but their family and friends too, I can only say that I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy. I truly believe that eating less sugar is THE most important dietary change you can make for better health.