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Does a Low Fat Diet Promote Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Sunday, November 6th, 2016

low fat diet is not for Alzheimer's prevention

A new publication released from Harvard Health confirms that counting calories is no longer the best stand-alone method of losing weight.  Recent research is pointing to the fact that the advice predominantly adopted in the past, on burning more calories than you consume, does not necessarily translate to a successful weight loss program for everyone.  While it may come as a relief to know that sweating off every calorie you have consumed is no longer necessary, you may be wondering just how to shed those unwanted pounds as part of a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention program.

Back in the 60’s, The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) wanted to highlight the hazards of fats while downplaying any risks of sugar consumption.  The Sugar Research Foundation funded research done by Harvard scientists to expose data pointing to the fact that fats, having more calories than sugar, were the culprit when it came to a healthy diet.  The SRF wanted to instill a common perception in the publics’ eye that and that avoiding fat in the diet altogether was the answer to weight loss and cardiovascular health.  The results of the research studies in favor of the fat free diet were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967.  There was no disclosure about the fact that the sugar industry funded the research project. 

Once fat was omitted from food, it didn’t taste very good, so the food industry began adding more processed carbohydrates (sugar) to foods to improve the taste.  This was the beginning of the low-fat diet craze that started to ramp up in the 60’s and prevailed for decades. 

New Research on Calorie Counting, Fats, and Sugar

Today scientific findings counteract previous nutritional facts disclosed in the late 60s about the health benefits of fats and carbohydrates.  Dr. David Ludwig, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says “Overall, these processed carbohydrates are worse than the fats they replaced. ”Ludwig says, “It was this calorie-focus that got us into trouble with the low-fat diet in the first place,” said Ludwig.

So just how did the medical research industry get it so wrong when it came to healthy eating,  weight loss and a heart healthy diet?  According to the Harvard Health report, a recent review in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that before the 1980s researchers were not required to declare any type of conflicts of interest when publishing research study findings.  This resulted to a higher potential for data results to be influenced by funding sources-like the food industry.

Healthy Eating Supported by New Scientific Studies

So now that we are on the right track when it comes to publishing more accurate, non-biased information on nutrition and health, how do we constitute a brain healthy diet?  Considering that  when calorie counting alone is not the answer, which foods are best for Alzheimer’s prevention, heart health and weight loss?

“Today you can look at food differently,” says Harvard Health.  “Counting calories alone doesn’t work because ultimately it matters where those calories come from; this matters more than the number of calories ingested,” says Celia Smoak Spell, Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publications. While fats do, in fact, have more calories than sugar, that’s no longer the sole premise on determining which foods are healthier.  If it were the case, it would lead to the logical conclusion that a sugar laden soft drink is healthier than a handful of nuts, says Harvard Health.  Bearing in mind ONLY the calorie content of foods does NOT take into consideration exactly how each food is broken down in the body to be used for energy.

The Glycemic Index and Alzheimer’s Prevention

The focus for a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet today is on eating whole non-processed foods and selecting carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index.  The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food containing carbohydrates is absorbed and subsequently, how quickly insulin levels are spiked.  Too many insulin spikes can potentially result in type 2 diabetes.    These low glycemic index foods are usually high in fiber and include choices such as apples and other fruit with the peeling and/or with a lot of fiber, whole grains such as steel cut oats, quinoa, and brown rice, and most vegetables.  Portion control is also an important principal in eating a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet.  “Dr. Ludwig views the glycemic index as a more accurate measure of a food’s value (good or bad),” says Harvard Health.  “When something has a low glycemic index, it raises your blood sugar levels slowly, increasing your insulin levels gradually.”

For the most part, potion control and regular exercise has taken the place of calorie counting when it comes to weight loss.  You can eat all the healthy food choices available and still gain weight if you consume too much food. 

Learn more about Alzheimer’s prevention by CLICKING HERE to purchase Dr. Isaacson’s book, Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention diet. 

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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