NAPLES, Fla. – More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. A recent study found costs for dementia care in 2010 were as high as $200 billion, roughly twice what's expended for heart disease and almost triple what was spent on treating cancer. Now, one doctor says we can prevent Alzheimer's altogether by changing our diets.
"Your key to weight loss is to eat more fat. Eat fat, get thin," said David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Board Certified neurologist, and author of the book Grain Brain.
Perlmutter says that Americans should also be eating very few carbs, just 60 to 80 grams a day.
"For more than 99 percent of our time on this planet, we were on a high far, low carb, virtually gluten-free diet," he said.
Perlmutter says carbs cause a blood sugar spike. A recent study showed even small increases in blood sugar up the risk of dementia and type-two diabetics have doubled the risk of Alzheimer's. Another study found the risk of dementia was 42 percent lower in those who consumed a higher fat, lower carb diet.
"We should prevent the disease because we know how to do that right now, and it's not going to cost anything," Perlmutter explained.
Perlmutter has vocal critics who say some people may interpret Grain Brain as giving consumers the go-ahead to load up on high-fat meats and dairy. He points to a recent study of more than 350,000 people that found no link between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk.
"That's the information that people have been receiving for decades, and it has absolutely no scientific merit," said Perlmutter.
The bottom line for Perlmutter is that history proves grains aren't meant for our brains.
He said, ""This is a totally foreign diet for humans. We've never had carbohydrates like this in our diet."
Perlmutter says to load up on nuts, veggies, olive oil, eggs, wild fish, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, avocados and some dairy, but to choose whole milk. He says to stay away from trans fats, sugars, processed foods and carbs! Consume fruits sparingly and eliminate gluten.
A study published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine explains how dementia is directly related to levels of blood pressure. Studies have shown that any amount of blood sugar elevation increases the risk for dementia, even for people who don't suffer from diabetes. This new study shows how many more people are at risk for dementia, or Alzheimer's disease. A recent report in the journal of Public Health shows that between 1979 and 2010 brain conditions rose about 66 percent in men, and 92 percent in women in the United States. Care for dementia in 2010 cost about $200 billion, which was about twice as much spent on heart disease, and triple what was spent on cancer patients. All this money has been spent trying to treat it, but the statistics are still showing an increase in dementia patients.
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF GRAINS ACCORDING TO PERLUMTTER: David Perlmutter, author of the book Grain Brain, believes that we need to return to how our distant ancestors used to eat. This diet consisted of about 75 percent fat and only 5 percent carbohydrates. Today, he believes we eat far too many carbs because on average more than half of our diet consists of them. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that people 70 years or older who have a diet high in carbohydrates had a 3.6 times higher of a chance of developing mild to cognitive impairment of Alzheimer's. In comparison, those who had a diet high in fat were 42 percent less likely to face cognitive impairment. Perlmutter however says that we should not be eating more modified fats or trans fats but instead more "wonderful fat" which includes virgin olive oil, grass fed beef, and wild fish.
CRITICS OF PERLMUTTER: Critics believe that Perlmutter is giving advice that could be more harm than good. Certain critics don't question the neurological risks of a high-carb diet, but do question the amount of fat he is suggesting to consume. People reading his book Grain Brain, may now start eating a diet composed of mostly meat and dairy, which critics believe can be very dangerous. By eating high amounts of meat and dairy, you are more likely to have cardiovascular heart risks. Perlmutter doesn't discuss the risks involved with eating the diet he suggests.