Do you want to avoid dementia? A stupid question, right? Is there anyone who wants dementia? Here’s a better question. Do you know how to avoid dementia? I am betting that you do not know the answer to that question. Well, let’s start with some facts. With our current demographic earthquake and our graying tsunami of an aging population, the risk for dementia is extremely high – and rising higher. More importantly, there is no treatment. Your doctor may give you Namenda or Aricept, but those pills provide limited relief. The truth? There is no medication that cures dementia.
So, is there a way to avoid dementia? Yes. At least there is a way to dramatically reduce your odds of developing dementia. How do you do it? You do it by changing your eating style. As you can guess from the pattern of my blogs, you need to do it by going against the grain, including going against common medical recommendations. Our medical system, dictated by the wrong financial interests, is too often wrong. For most of our lives, we have been taught that fat is bad for us. The real truth? The people who eat a high fat diet – not a low fat diet – show a 44% reduction in the risk of becoming demented. Is that different than what you expected?
Let’s rewind some of my major suggestions. With The Boomer Survivor Kit, and with these blogs, I have been arguing for a reduction in meat and dairy products and a corresponding increase in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. In the recent blogs I have encouraged a period of detoxification where you cleanse yourself from your food addictions, including your addiction to sugar and salt, and a detoxification from the toxins in your system. What is a natural extension of those recommendations? Well, I am going to suggest that you also try to decrease your carbohydrates and increase your fats. And as one of the starting points, let’s try to decrease your consumption of grains. Again, not what you expected?
On the surface that may not make sense. Haven’t we been eating wheat for thousands of years? That’s grains and carbohydrates, right? Yes, but are you aware of what has happened to wheat over the past 50 years? The gluten content of wheat has increased by as much as fiftyfold. That means that today’s wheat is packed with new types of ingredients that are problematic to our digestive tract. They create inflammation, which causes leakiness in our intestines; and the leakiness allows microbes to drift into our bloodstream and settle into various cells, causing inflammation in our cells. What is one of the underlying causes of dementia? Inflammation and the toxicity it produces.
Think about our global food predicament. What is the primary objective of most of our large food companies? They want foods with a long shelf life. They want their foods positioned in the middle of the grocery stores, ready to sell for long periods of time; and they want their foods to be able to travel great distances so they can be sold to more and more people around the world. To reach that goal (and to reach that higher level of profit) you need more processed foods with more chemically protected carbohydrates, sweetened by sugar. That formula has been supported by our government; it has been supported by much of our medical system. However, it is not a formula for good health; and it is not a formula for reducing our risk of dementia.
What do I want you to do? I want you to link these long shelf life carbohydrates with their sugar content. I want you to link that increased sugar intake with the risk of diabetes. Then I want you to link diabetes (specifically, type 2 diabetes) with the risk of dementia. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of dementia. Those people were one in ten. Now, they are approaching one in four. Worse, most people with type 2 diabetes are placed on statins. Yet, statins further increase your risk of dementia. What is my message? Our American diet, high in meat/ dairy products / carbohydrates / gluten, is NOT the best diet for preventing dementia. And the medications associated with treating these American diet caused diseases? They actually increase your risk for dementia.
Now, what should you eat? Again, low carbohydrate and high fat – but the right fat. For 99% of human existence, we have sustained ourselves on a low carbohydrate, high fat, wheat free, and gluten free eating style. That means that you should eat less meat, reduced dairy products, and reduced processed foods, plus more vegetables / fruits / nuts / seeds, plus reduced grains like bread (and wheat). For most of us, the hard part will be to reduce those grains and processed foods. If it helps, just remember how much our wheat has changed over these past 50 years. More contaminants. More chemicals. More pesticides. More gluten. A long shelf life. It is a complex combination that is worth reducing.
To close this blog, let me highlight that there are many options for reducing our high level of carbohydrates. Do you have a glass of orange juice with breakfast? If you were to drink two glasses of orange juice, do you know that you are consuming 72 grams of carbohydrates plus 18 teaspoons of sugar? Skip the orange juice (drink water 30 minutes before breakfast) and eat oatmeal! And later in the day? How about that can of Coke? Do you know that it contains 39 grams of carbohydrates? Can you make a better choice of what to drink? How about more water? Simply stated, you can reduce your risk of dementia simply by changing what you eat and drink.
In summary, if you want to reduce your risk of dementia, the solution lies in healthy living and healthy eating. Isn’t that great news? It gives you a realistic chance of reducing risk of certain diseases, including dementia. In future blogs we will discuss these issues with more detail and greater clarity. If you can’t wait for our later discussions, try reading Dr. David Perimutter’s Grain Brain, which discusses how your eating style determines your risk for dementia. For now, just know that our eating style can save our lives and protect our brains. And it’s not just our eating style. Our level of physical activity and our weight also play crucial roles in the risk of dementia. Just be clear to separate your thinking. Eating fat can be good for you. Being fat is not. Eating wheat 2000 years ago was okay. Consuming wheat today is not so good. So, let’s start with our eating style. Let’s make the eating changes, fair enough?