Category Archives: High-carbohydrate
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) There are a number of reasons why a high-carb diet is not wise, but new research has added yet another reason why you cut down on the pasta: You are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study that was recently released found that older adults who load up on carbs have close to four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.
Researchers also said that sugars played a role in the development of MCI, which very often serves as a precursor to Alzheimer’s, according to study results published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. By comparison, eating additional proteins and some fats can offer protection from MCI, USA Today said, citing the journal.
A team of scientists from Mayo Clinic tracked 1,230 people aged 70-89 and asked if they would provide information on what kinds of foods they at the previous year.
Stopping development of MCI is key
Among the group only the 940 people who showed no appreciable signs of cognitive impairment were asked to return in 15 months for follow-up examination. By the fourth year of the study, 200 of the 940 were beginning to show small signs of cognitive impairment, including problems with memory, judgment, thinking and language.
Lead author Rosebud Roberts, a professor in the department of epidemiology at the clinic, which is located in Rochester, Minn., said not everyone who develops MCI progresses to Alzheimer’s disease, which affects some 5.2 million adults around the country. Those numbers are expected to triple by 2050, as Baby Boomers continue to age.
“The research field is trying to find things that can help reduce risk factors for pre-dementia problems,” Roberts said, according to USA Today. “If we can stop people from developing MCI, we hope we can stop people from developing dementia. Once you hit the dementia stage, it’s irreversible.”
Among the foods regarded as complex carbohydrates: rice, pasta, bread and cereals. The digestive system turns them into sugars. Fruits, vegetables and milk products are simple carbs.
“A high-carbohydrate intake could be bad for you because carbohydrates impact your glucose and insulin metabolism,” says Roberts. “Sugar fuels the brain, so moderate intake is good. However, high levels of sugar may actually prevent the brain from using the sugar – similar to what we see with Type 2 diabetes.”
He said high sugar levels – which are prevalent in high-carb diets – could affect blood vessels in the brain, and might also play a role in the development of beta amyloid plaques, which are proteins that are toxic to brain health and are found in the brains of people who are affected by Alzheimer’s. Scientists don’t yet know what causes the disease; however, they do suspect a buildup of beta amyloid is a leading cause.
Study offers some hope
Here are some of the study’s primary findings:
— People whose diets were the highest in fat (nuts and healthy oils, for instance) were 42 percent less likely to develop cognitive impairment, while those who had the highest intake of protein (chicken, meat, fish) saw their risk reduced by 21 percent.
— Many popular diets, including the Mediterranean (fish, protein from poultry and lots of plant-based foods and healthy fats) and Atkins (low-carb diet featuring plenty of meats), make pitches for multiple health benefits that are derived from lowering carb intake, which includes a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes and improved brain health.
“This (study) is consistent with what we’ve seen in past published research on how a lower carbohydrate diet can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s,” Colette Heimowitz, vice president of Nutrition and Education for Atkins Nutritionals Inc., told the paper.
While there currently is no treatment for Alzheimer’s besides drugs, Roberts said the study at least offers some hope because “it shows a modifiable way we can reduce risk for the disease.
“It is important to eat a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat,” he added.
(NaturalNews) Government guidelines and advice from medical doctors can often lead people to believe that cereal grains are the foundation of a healthy diet. The food pyramid, now renamed the food plate, dictates that people should eat several servings of whole grains each day to provide an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This advice is given despite the fact that humans are poorly adapted to the consumption of cereal grains and that the scientific literature shows that grain consumption is linked to several health problems.
Grains have only been a part of the human diet for about 10,000 years, which is a very small time in the context of evolution. Just because humans can tolerate grains to a certain degree doesn’t mean that we are designed to consume grains or that we can achieve optimal health on a grain-based diet.
1) High-carbohydrate density and increased insulin load
Carbohydrates are eventually converted into a simple form of sugar, glucose, after they are consumed. Insulin is secreted and allows glucose to be transported into various cells throughout the body. Individuals who aren’t very physically active don’t have the need to continually refill their muscle and liver cells with glycogen, and these cells often start to become insulin-resistant on a grain-based diet.
Regular consumption of high-density carbohydrates is not only linked to insulin resistance and overweight, but also leptin resistance, altered gut flora and inflammation.
Grains are the reproductive material of the plant, and plants don’t make the reproductive material to give away for free to animals. Cereal grains have evolved Lectins, Phytic Acid, Protease Inhibitors and other anti-nutrients that potentially disrupt normal gut physiology when they are consumed over time. Only certain anti-nutrients are problematic in humans, and they seem to operate in a dose-dependent manner.
Regular consumption of anti-nutrients in grains may lead to poor mineral absorption, autoimmune disease, leaky gut and low-level chronic inflammation. More studies on human subjects are needed to fully understand the detrimental effects of Lectins and other anti-nutrients on human health.
Studies and anecdotal reports indicate that gluten intolerance is much more common than previously thought, and many asymptomatic individuals react to gluten with some type of inflammatory response.
4) Insoluble fiber
While fruits and vegetables contain heart-healthy, soluble fiber that promote good gut flora, cereal grains are high in insoluble fiber that shouldn’t be eaten in excess. More insoluble fiber is often recommended for healthy digestion, despite the fact that healthy gut bacteria is the key to relieve constipation and achieve healthy bowel movements.
5) Dietary imbalances
Cereal grains have several dietary shortcomings, and a grain-based diet can disrupt adequate nutritional balance. Cereal grains are poor sources of fiber, minerals, vitamins and protein compared to animal products, fruits and vegetables. They contain no vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium nor sodium, and several animal studies show that grain consumption can induce vitamin D deficiencies and alter the metabolism of several minerals.
Cereal grains only supply some of the essential amino acids, very few essential fatty acids and are also characterized by a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
Traditional grain preparation
Some traditional cultures have been known to consume grains on a regular basis and still maintain excellent health. However, these populations have usually used soaking, sprouting and fermentation to make the grains easier to digest. These preparation methods remove or deactivate some of the anti-nutrients commonly found in grains, and fermentation is especially effective when trying to make grains more digestible.
Sources for this article include:
Cordain L. Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword
World Rev Nutr Diet. 1999;84:19-73.
Freed DL. Do dietary lectins cause disease?
BMJ. 1999 Apr 17;318(7190):1023-4.
Miyake K, Tanaka T, McNeil PL. Disruption-Induced Mucus Secretion: Repair and Protection
PLoS Biol. 2006 Sep;4(9):e276.
Dalla Pellegrina C, Perbellini O, et al. Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium: insights from an experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Jun 1;237(2):146-53. Epub 2009 Mar 28.
Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, et al. Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14; quiz 515. Epub 2011 Jan 11.
Drago S, El Asmar R, Di Pierro M, et al. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;41(4):408-19.
About the author:
Eric is the editor of OrganicFitness.com and a writer for GutFlora.com/TheGutDiet.com. He’s an independent writer with a strong interest in personal health and the power of nature to help us heal.
He studies Public Nutrition and specializes in the human microbiome, inflammation and gut permeability.
Eric works as a personal trainer and currently coaches a few dedicated clients on their way to a better physique. He specializes on barbell- , kettlebell- and sprint- training. Subjects like mass building and weight loss are some of his favorites.
Eric believes that lifestyle choices have to be made on an evolutionary basis!