Your brain – the sugar connection

Discoveries are being made about Alzheimer’s every day. One of the theories is that Alzheimer’s is actually Diabetes of the brain.

This is being dubbed “Type 3 Diabetes” and it’s even being seen in the brains of children as young as 13!

Gary Small, MD, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program has this to say:

“In Alzheimer’s, clumps of protein called beta-amyloid plaques form between the brain cells and may block communication. Researchers have discovered that many people with Type 2 diabetes have beta-amyloid deposits in their pancreas like the ones found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Tau tangles are twisted-up proteins that form within nerve cells of people with Alzheimer’s, interfering with cell function.

We don’t know what causes this nerve damage, but studies done at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania indicate that insulin resistance, the core of Type 2 diabetes, is a big part of it. Insulin resistance may deprive brain cells of glucose they need to function, causing damage.”  (you can read more on the Diabetes Self Management website)

We know that sugar is the devil. We agree on that right? But how on earth do we eliminate it from our diets? It’s in everything – everything with a label on it, that is. You’ll find it in crackers and sauces and salad dressings and pizza and milk and bread and more. It can seem an impossible task to remove it from the diet.  Where do you even start?

I think it’s important to take small steps towards going sugar free. Often, I see people try to cut it cold turkey, which is admirable, but can often seem impossible to stick with.

I love the idea of “Health Crowding” which is, in effect, crowding out the junk foods with nutrient dense, fresh foods. Here are some tips to begin reducing sugars in your diet.

  • Consider making your own soups with loads of fresh veggies and legumes or grass fed meats
  • Consider juicing ( I prefer using a blender) to add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet
  • Consider eliminating white foods from your diet. Switch out white pasta for quinoa pasta (13g of protein per serving and a seed not a grain) Switch your white flour for rice, spelt, quinoa, or any of the other more nutritious flours on the market
  • Reduce your consumption of packaged foods by half. If you’re going to have a chocolate bar, eat ½. If you’re going to have chips, eat half what you normally would. If you do this for a few months, continually going back down to ½ then in no time, you’ll be able to leave that food on the shelf.
  • Make your own salad dressings. It’s super easy to mix 1/3 cup EVO with 2/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar, add the juice of ½ a lemon and a few cloves of garlic. It keeps in the fridge and offers cleansing properties for the liver and gall bladder.
  • Ditch the soda, chocolate milk, juices, flavoured coffees, ice drinks, etc.
  • Drink more water. If you don’t like the taste of water add a doTERRA essential oil to it – my favourite is Grapefruit or you can squeeze some citrus fruits into your water
  • The more healthy fats and protein you eat, the less you will crave sugar
  • If you’re experiencing headaches as you reduce sugars, use Peppermint oil on your temples.
  • If you’re struggling with cravings, even after adding healthy fats and proteins, consider Smart and Sassy essential oil. It’s a big help in reducing cravings for carbohydrates.

Do not let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good.  Give yourself grace as you eliminate this demon from your diet.  Your brain will thank you.