Sherry C. on
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Today, September 21, 2013 is World Alzheimer’s Day. If you are a family member of a loved one with Alzheimer’s you may already know far too well how offering help with AD can change the role for each member of the family. We admire and appreciate all of the dedication, devotion and love that primary caregivers and family members yield when it comes to meeting the demands for care of those with AD. Caregivers may ask themselves; is there a better way to cope? Here are several tips and helpful links for education and support:
Although there have been tremendous strides in 2013 (and 2014 to come) in medical research in regard to research of potential therapies, including lifestyle and diet changes for Alzheimer’s, there is still no known cure for the disease. There is, however, a tremendous amount of recent evidence that has shown that specific lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of AD, protect and even improve memory function. For more specific tips on the caregiving aspect of the disease, read below.
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Sherry C. on
Thursday, September 5th, 2013
We often get questions from readers via our Facebook page and over email – here is a common question we recently got from one of our Alzheimer’s Diet book readers.
i have a question about this diet- i totally love the book & the info! however, i have been on a similar diet before- for weight loss & well-being ( came from Dr. Oz). however when i had lost the needed weight, i eventually went off the diet, because i couldn’t eat enough to maintain my weight. i have started your diet- pretty much- except for the lowest carb count- i have lost 5 pounds in maybe 3 weeks- don’t have much more i should lose- so my question is- how do you eat enough to not lose weight?? i am not a protein lover- you want low carbs, no sugar, no “white” things- what do i add to maintain weight?? please advise!!
Great question! Maintaining weight is really about the total calories you are taking in, balanced against how many you’re expending, but that generally stays pretty constant unless you make drastic changes to your activity level. So, rather than add different less Brain-Healthy foods, it would be preferable to eat more Brain-Healthy foods. That is, a larger quantity of specific Brain-Healthy foods (see below for examples).
One of the key points about any diet (and especially The Alzheimer’s Diet) is that important aspects may need to be tailored for each individual. This is based on a variety of factors, like starting weight, current/past medical problems, and family history (to name a few). This is why we stress that before starting any dietary changes, it is always important to consult with a qualified medical professional and not make any changes without approval by the treating physicians. That being said, when it comes to weight loss on the Alzheimer’s diet, that is a common “side effect” for most people (we tend to hear that people will lose 5-10 pounds or so within the first 1-2 months, and oftentimes more). If a person is close to their ideal body weight to begin with, and that person does not want to lose any more weight that occurs due to carbohydrate restriction, one helpful strategy is to increase Brain-Healthier fats (like those found in olive-oil, avocado, nuts, certain fatty fish, and seeds) and protein (like those found in lean turkey and chicken, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables). ‘Healthy fats’ deliver 9 calories/gram as opposed to only 4 calories/gram with protein and carbs so eaters will be getting more calories with less food. As discussed in The Alzheimer’s Diet book, this Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including brain protective effects. As was mentioned in the question, the less white “empty” carbs and sugars the better to reduce the drain of grain brain.
For those who are still finding it hard to maintain their weight this way, increasing Brain-Healthier carbs like blueberries and strawberries, and vegetables in general (if its green, it usually means eat it!) could help, as well as tailoring an exercise program that focuses on weight training and building muscle mass, in addition to cardio in moderation.
Another question recently came in (from one of our favorite readers), who asked about what types of “super” fruits and veggies could be substituted when our favorite berries (strawberries and blueberries) are either hard to find or become expensive over the winter months. While the best scientific evidence supports these two berries (Devore and colleagues, Harvard Medical School), others like raspberries, blackberries may also help, as well as pomegranate (just watch for too much added sugar if drinking juice!) and based on the latest research, antioxidants in cocoa powder, or red wine (~1 glass in women, 1-2 in men) with polyphenols, as a seasonal berry substitute.
Thanks for all your great questions and hope this helps!