Receive Alzheimer's treatment and prevention news and analysis from our experts.

0

Alzheimer’s Diet Book Q&A: Grain Brain Connection

Posted by 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.

QUESTION:

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!!

ANSWER:

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!

0

11 Foods to Power Up the Brain: Interview with Dr. Isaacson in More Magazine

Posted by on Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Read the article in this months issue of More magazine, “11 Foods That Age-Proof Your Brain“.  Dr. Isaacson, co-author of The Alzheimer’s Diet book with Dr. Ochner, and several other national experts are interviewed by Stacey Colino about the latest scientific evidence for diet and alzheimers risk reduction, alzheimers prevention and memory loss treatment.

When it comes to Alzheimers disease (AD) several risk factors like diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure, been found to to increase ones risk for AD. Dietary changes may not only help reduce AD risk directly and even help manage memory loss symptoms, but also help these other medical problems too.

Whether a person develops AD is based on a variety of complicated factors, with advancing age being the #1 risk factor. Risk factors that can be modified (like dietary changes, blood pressure control, etc) have been showed in population based studies to delay the onset of AD by several years. When it comes to risk factors in general, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, and while many AD patients may not have any risk factors at all, their disease may have been more related to advancing age and/or genetics. For more info on this you can read these recent blog posts: www.theadplan.com/blog/wordpress/2012/08/alzheimers-risk-symptoms-memory-loss/ or www.theadplan.com/blog/wordpress/2012/07/therapyformemory-org-question-of-the-month/

0

Alzheimer’s Prevention News: Breast-feeding Reduces Risk for Mom

Posted by on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease (August 2013) has found that mothers that breast-feed their babies have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This was found to be strongest in those women who did not have a first-degree relative with AD, however breast-feeding also did reduce risk for mother’s who did have a family history.

There are several theories as to why breast-feeding may lead to this. Breast-feeding can actually improve a woman’s ability to manage sugar (or glucose), and may lower the sugar level in the brain. This can lead to improved ‘insulin sensitivity’, meaning the ability of the body to lower sugar levels in the brain (thereby reducing inflammation). For more information on the relationship between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease, read the introductory chapters of The Alzheimer’s Diet book. Another possible explanation is that breast-feeding may lower inflammation through its effects on hormone changes (progesterone and estrogen).

It is important to note that breast-feeding also provides several other health advantages for the baby, such as reducing infections (ear and respiratory), diabetes, and asthma, perhaps due to modulation of antibodies and/or nutrients contained in breast milk.