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A High-Sugar Diet May Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The keto flu is a group of symptoms that affects a person when they first start the keto diet.We humans have a lot of reasons to keep our blood sugar under control. Some of these reasons include protecting your nerves and arteries. But there’s another one: preventing dementia, memory loss, and thinking skills that affect older Americans.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1), even non-diabetic individuals whose blood sugar is above normal may risk developing dementia. This finding supersedes previous links that were established between dementia and diabetes.

In the study, the blood sugar levels of over 2,000 adults were taken. The average age of the participants was 76. The vast majority of the subjects did not have diabetes. The researchers discovered that an increase in blood sugar was linked with a high risk of dementia — the higher the blood sugar level, the higher the risk of dementia.

Why is this so? Well, several theories have been brought up. First, it is speculated that high blood sugar level causes more vascular disease and other metabolic issues. For instance, people with a high blood sugar level are typically resistant to insulin which may be the link that affects brain cells.

How does a high-sugar diet contribute to Alzheimer’s disease?

Several studies have shown the link between sugar consumption and Alzheimer’s disease. And new research continues to confirm this (2). In addition, recent studies have established a more vital link between Alzheimer’s disease and blood sugar, referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. It is important to note that the development of Alzheimer’s disease is more complex than is presented here (as other factors contribute to the onset of this disease). However, the link between high-sugar consumption and Alzheimer’s disease is indisputable. Furthermore, many mechanisms of action are involved in its pathophysiology.

1. High-sugar diet contributes to insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is the most critical metabolic factor contributing to Alzheimer’s disease. The standard Western or American diet triggers insulin resistance, no thanks to excess added sugars, processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and high fructose corn syrup. This sugary diet combined with a sedentary lifestyle creates the perfect environment for insulin resistance. Note that insulin is vital to the brain cells. In insulin resistance, insulin signaling to the brain cells is disrupted. This can result in beta-amyloid plaque formation as insulin plays a significant role in regulating beta-amyloid formation (3).

2. High sugar diets contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation

It is important to note that systemic inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease is primarily caused by hyperpermeability in the gut. Gut hyperpermeability is also referred to as “leaky gut.” High sugar diets contribute to leaky gut development and degrading the gut lining. This allows the passage of molecules through the walls of the small intestine. These molecules include toxins, food particles, and microbes. When these molecules enter the bloodstream, they set off an inflammatory cascade. Uncontrolled inflammation is a significant contributor to cognitive dysfunction.

Inflammation enhances the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS generation leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages fat tissue, and because most of the brain tissue is fatty, high levels of oxidative stress can cause significant damage to most parts of the brain. Oxidative stress also increases the expression of TNF-α and IL-6, leading to neuroinflammation.

What you should do

You must reduce sugar in your diet.

To start with, avoid packaged foods and processed foods. There are at least 61 different names for sugars on food labels. This makes it extremely difficult to identify sugar in packaged and processed foods. Sugar in processed foods is determined by dextrose, rice syrup, barley malt, and high fructose corn syrup. Checking food labels helps you to know whether that food contains added sugar or not. But a better approach would be to avoid these foods. Processed foods do not have many nutrients. You’re better off with nutrient-dense whole foods.

It is also crucial that you eliminate sugary beverages from your diet. Bottled beverages usually appear nutritious, but they are heavily laced with added sugars. Examples include fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, coffees, and bottled iced teas. Avoid sweetened and bottled beverages. Instead, you can go for water, plain coffee, or ice tea.

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