Alzheimer’s: Sugar Damages the Brain
People who consume more sodas and fruit juices have a brain that is less voluminous, less efficient and more fragile.
A new study shows that consumption of sugary drinks is associated with brain aging and early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers used data on more than 4,000 people over the age of 30. The brains of the participants were examined through MRIs and the researchers also carried out psychological tests to evaluate the memory. The consumption of sugary drinks (sodas and fruit juices) was evaluated.
The results show that the higher the consumption of sugary drinks the less the volume of the brain and the test scores of memory are important. These factors may represent early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Compared to those who did not drink sugary drinks, those who drank 1 to 2 per day had a reduction in cerebral volume equivalent to 1.6 years of normal aging and scores below the memory test, equivalent to 5.8 Years of normal aging. And the fact of drinking more than 2 sweetened drinks per day worsened these results even more.
How to explain the results of the researchers?
Alzheimer’s disease, like diabetes, is related to glucose metabolism. Indeed, glucose from the diet is less well used by the brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s. In this context, deprived of their source of energy, neurons eventually die. According to one study, a deterioration in glucose metabolism in the brain may even be detected before cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with metabolic disorders and insulin resistance. It is therefore understandable that the high consumption of sugary drinks that influences the metabolism of glucose and increases the risk of diabetes also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, diabetics have a 2 to 5 times higher risk than healthy people to develop Alzheimer’s.
The Promises of the Ketogenic Diet
Patients with Alzheimer’s who follow a ketogenic diet-low in carbohydrates, high in fat, can see their symptoms decrease and the development of the disease slowed down. Indeed, in Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells are unable to properly utilize glucose, which is normally their primary source of energy, but they have the ability to use another source of energy, ketones made by the liver From fat. The ketogenic diet is a promising strategy against dementia, but good quality studies are not yet available to assess its outcomes.
When the body functions from ketones, it is said to be in a state of ketosis, a condition which can also be reached by fasting. The liver produces ketones from fat when the body has fasted for more than one day, or has absorbed sufficient calories from fat without being accompanied by carbohydrates.