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The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s

As researchers desperately search for a cause and cure for Alzheimer’s — a disease feared almost as much as cancer — a new study shows a link between sugar intake and onset of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s. According to The Atlantic, a 10-year longitudinal study following 5,189 people has found that the higher your blood sugar levels, the faster your cognitive decline. Even though Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to as “Type 3” diabetes, this was true whether the study subjects had been diagnosed with diabetes or not. Other studies with Type 2 diabetics have corroborated these findings.

Mounting research suggesting Alzheimer’s disease is intricately connected to insulin resistance started coming to light a little over two years ago, with news that diabetics have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Heart disease also elevates your risk, as all three conditions are rooted in insulin resistance, and evidence pointed to the fact that even a mild elevation of blood sugar is associated with an elevated risk for dementia.

If you look at this information only from the point of view of the word “sugar,” it’s easy to say, well, just don’t eat sugar. But sadly, we live in a world where processed foods make up the main diet of a huge majority of people. And processed foods can be loaded with starches, carbs and sugar, while being devoid of healthy fats and nutrients necessary to feed your brain and body.

The good news is you can do something about this. First, refuse to eat processed foods. Choose fresh, preferably organic, vegetables and healthy fats like avocados and nuts, and a limited amount of fresh fruits. If you need help with this, my free Nutrition Plan outlines a good start to a healthy eating plan; my new book, “Fat for Fuel,” teaches you how to burn fat rather than sugar for your energy needs.

But, even better news is that several studies highlight the importance of exercise in warding off Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It’s been suggested that exercise triggers a change in the way the amyloid protein is metabolized, thus slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also leads to hippocampus growth and memory improvement. On the whole, it seems quite clear that exercise is an important part of any Alzheimer’s prevention plan. For guidance on setting up an effective fitness regimen, please review my Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
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