Tag Archives: Blood sugar

Diabetes and cognitive decline

31 Jan

More on the connection between diabetes and dementia. A paper published in the journal Diabetologia looked at HbA1c levels (a marker for diabetes) and diabetes status in relationship to cognitive status in large (N =  51,89) longitudinal study. Their findings:

Significant longitudinal associations between HbA1c levels, diabetes status and long-term cognitive decline were observed in this study.

I do have one concern about how this study is being reported in the media. For example, this piece in the Atlantic states

A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.

It should say “a high refined carb diet.” The distinction is important, simple sugars and refined carbohydrates should be avoided. Note that the same article recommends the Mediterranean Diet, a diet that actually includes a lot of unrefined carbohydrates. As the Harvard Medical Letter reports:

The carbohydrates in Mediterranean-style diets tend to come from unrefined, fiber-rich sources like whole wheat and beans.

Anecdotal account of the cognitive effects of sugar

14 Sep

From journalist Michael Grothaus:

“And that’s exactly what I did. The day I began my two-week refined-sugar-free diet, I thought it was mostly a pointless exercise, and that I would notice little, if any, differences. How wrong I was. By the time I finished, it was nothing short of a revelation.”

“But then on Day 6, something happened. The fogginess began to disappear along with the lingering headaches. The fruits I were now eating on a daily basis began tasting sweeter. By Day 8 or 9, I felt more focused and clear-headed than I had at any time in recent memory. This translated into greater productivity—for example, I was more engaged when interviewing sources for stories. I was better able to focus on what they were saying and could rapidly respond to their answers with new queries and reformulated ideas with a speed and clarity I’ve never possessed before. While reading a book or article, I felt like I absorbed more detail and information. In short, I felt smarter.”

Here is Dr. Greger on the addictiveness of sugar:

 

High blood sugar level linked to dementia

10 Aug

For several decades, there has been speculation that blood sugar dysregulation might play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is because people with type II, adult on set, diabetes, have been shown to have a higher risk of dementia.

Now a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, has provided additional support for this hypothesis. The most surprising finding was that a higher blood sugar level was associated with a higher risk of dementia even for people who did not have diabetes.  The New York Times has a good summary.

While these findings are still tentative, the prudent course of action is to take steps to reduce your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes. This includes exercise and a plant based diet.

 

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