I recently jumped into the fray of a debate about diet on Facebook recently, where a young woman who shall remain nameless was telling someone near and dear to me (no, not Beloved) that his high fat dietary ways were going to lead him into a great deal of trouble. The young woman in question is the sibling of an athletic trainer, or so she claims, and has apparently swallowed the bunk about “carbohydrates fueling workouts” hook, line and sinker.
“Eat the food pyramid,” she said.
Good grief. I can think of a great many things I’d like to do with the food pyramid, but eating it isn’t one of them. We’ve been “eating the food pyramid” for better than 30 years and, as a population, we’ve just gotten fatter and sicker. (I’d like to pause here and really drive home the point that the food pyramid is a dietary guideline issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. How the damn USDA got into the business of telling us what to eat is an amusing story, but what we need to remember is that the ultimate goal of the Unites Stated Department of Agriculture is to promote United States agriculture. Why wouldn’t they base the food pyramid on the most subsidized of commodity crops – grains?)
I’ve been writing about the evils of the Standard American Diet, so centered on grains, GMO soy, industrial seed oils and refined sugars, for about a year and now a study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine has hammered another nail in the coffin of the dietary recommendations of the USDA. The study is titled Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet, and the abstract alone is extremely sobering (emphasis mine):
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disease whose recent increase in incidence rates has broad implications for rising health care costs. Huge amounts of research money are currently being invested in seeking the underlying cause, with corresponding progress in understanding the disease progression. In this paper, we highlight how an excess of dietary carbohydrates, particularly fructose, alongside a relative deficiency in dietary fats and cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A first step in the pathophysiology of the disease is represented by advanced glycation end-products in crucial plasma proteins concerned with fat, cholesterol, and oxygen transport. This leads to cholesterol deficiency in neurons, which significantly impairs their ability to function. Over time, a cascade response leads to impaired glutamate signaling, increased oxidative damage, mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, increased risk to microbial infection, and, ultimately, apoptosis. Other neurodegenerative diseases share many properties with Alzheimer’s disease, and may also be due in large part to this same underlying cause.
The full text of the study is full of similar “OMG moments”:
Several researchers have noted a strong correlation between insulin resistance in the brain and early [Alzheimer's disease], suggesting that [Alzheimer's disease] might be considered a neuroendocrine disorder of the brain or so-called “type 3 diabetes.”
Recent population studies have confirmed a correlation between low blood serum cholesterol and both dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
It has been shown that patients with type-2 diabetes are at two to five times increased risk to [Alzheimer's disease].
The depletion of cholesterol leads to loss of both myelin and membrane functions. The cell membranes in the brain will also become deficient in essential unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fats derived in the diet especially from fish oils, with further functional failure of important metabolic processes.
So, basically, consuming more carbohydrates and less fat and cholesterol kills your brain.
What was that you were saying, Mr. Ebert? I don’t know about you but out of all the problems that come with growing old, the possibility of something like Alzheimer’s frightens me the most. And here you are telling America that every human being on the planet needs to avoid dietary cholesterol at all costs and eat a vegan diet. That is incredibly irresponsible at best, and downright criminal at worst.
At any rate, I suggest you take a moment and at least skim through the entire article – it’s really not at all difficult to understand. Well, I don’t think so, anyway, but then again hanging out with the science/diet/fitness geeks over at PaleoHacks may just be rubbing off on me.
Have a lovely weekend, y’all, and a great Memorial Day to all of my U.S. readers. And while you’re enjoying your cookout, just put down the bread and eat some of those deviled eggs your Aunt Martha brought along.
Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday