October 17, 2012
Mild Cognitive Impairment Connected To High Levels Of Carb And Sugar Consumption
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
You are what you eat. This well-known saying may very likely haunt people throughout their lifetime. To better understand this statement, studies have been done on the effect of diet on an individual´s overall health. In particular, a new Mayo Clinic study revealed that individuals who are 70 years of age and older have a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment if they consume a diet high in fat and protein as opposed to a diet with lots of carbs and sugar.With the study, it is clear that over consumption of carbohydrates leads to mild cognitive impairment, specifically four times higher risk for the disorder. There can also be increased risk of cognitive impairment due to with higher levels of sugar consumption. The findings from the study were recently featured in the Journal of Alzheimer´s Disease and showcase the necessity of having a well-balanced diet.
"We think it's important that you eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, because each of these nutrients has an important role in the body," remarked lead author Dr. Rosebud Roberts, who serves as an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic, in a prepared statement.
The study included data from 1,230 individuals who were between the ages of 70 and 89. Over the course of a year, the participants kept track of what they ate and a group of physicians, nurses, and neuropsychologist also measured their cognitive function. In the initial group of participants, 940 individuals displayed no symptoms of cognitive impairment and researchers completed a follow-up assessment with them. Four years after the start of the study, 200 of the 940 started to show faint signs of cognitive impairment. They had issues with language, memory, thinking and judgment.
Based on the findings, the researchers believe that individuals who consumed the highest level of carbohydrates at the start of the study had a 1.9 times higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment as compared to those who consumed the lowest level of carbohydrates. As well, individuals who consumed the highest level of sugar at the beginning of the study had a 1.5 times higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment as compared to those who had the lowest consumption level of sugar.
“Sugar is good for your brain because you derive your energy from sugar,” Roberts told CBS Minnesota. “Your brain derives its energy from sugar. But too much sugar is bad for your brain.”
On the other hand, participants who had diets high in fat had a 42 percent less likelihood of developing mild cognitive impairment. Similarly, those who had the highest level of protein intake had a decreased risk of 21 percent. With combined fat and protein, those who had the highest level of carbohydrate intake had a 3.6 higher change of developing mild cognitive impairment.
"A high carbohydrate intake could be bad for you because carbohydrates impact your glucose and insulin metabolism," concluded Roberts in the statement. "Sugar fuels the brain -- so moderate intake is good. However, high levels of sugar may actually prevent the brain from using the sugar -- similar to what we see with type 2 diabetes."