How Can Eating Carbohydrates Affect the Health of My Brain?

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In the past 30 years we've seen a virtual explosion in the amount of carbohydrates that people are consuming and we are seeing the devastating medical consequences of that dietary change. Increased rates of coronary artery disease, diabetes rates that have tripled and a dramatic explosion in brain related disorders like Alzheimer's.

So, we've really got to focus on the mechanism that relates this dietary change to what is interesting to me is the changes that occur in the brain. Increasing your consumption of carbohydrates, directly increases the level of your blood sugar. As blood sugar rises, it increases inflammation and inflammation is the cornerstone of our most dreaded neurological conditions including Alzheimer's, including things like Parkinson's disease.

So it's really time that we evaluate once again the nature of our food consumption and recognize that, for the entire 2.5 million years that we've been on this planet, we've never consumed these carbohydrates, that directly relate to inflammation and directly relate to our most devastating conditions that are so common in modern society.

So when we look at things like the food pyramid which is based at the bottom tier of the food pyramid are whole grain goodness, grains that we have been told for decades now that we should be focusing on, we've got to understand that those are powerful sources of carbohydrates in the human diet and what may be surprising is that the calories that come from things like fruit that we're told to eat 4-6 servings of everyday, are pure carbohydrate calories, fruit contains fruit sugar or fructose and that is as devastating as any other kind of sugar so, in reality, humans have never had access to carbohydrates and so the notion that we should be pounding onto our plates large quantities of carbs, even though they may be fruit and whole grains, is really a disservice to us in terms of our health in the long term.

We've got to re-evaluate things like whole grain bread for example and look at characterizations like what's called the glycemic index and that measures not just how high your blood sugar goes after you consume a particular food, but also and perhaps more importantly, how long does that blood sugar remain elevated.

The longer your blood sugar is elevated, the more damaging it becomes. So that a whole grain slice of bread actually has a glycemic index which is really quite high, it's 72 or 73, and that means, it will keep your blood sugar elevated for a long time, it actually, has a higher glycemic index than pure sugar.

So again it's time to take a step back and look at what the current science is telling us about a carbohydrate and most importantly, about blood sugar, carbohydrates raise blood sugar. Just in the August 8th, 2013 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, was a powerful report, that demonstrated that even slight elevations of blood sugar dramatically correlate, with risk of becoming a demented person.

And these were blood sugar levels that many health care providers might say are perfectly okay, a blood sugar of 105 and 110, those levels already translate to a dramatic increase risk of dementia, a disease for which there is no treatment. The empowering part, is that you control your blood sugar and your risk for elevation of blood sugar, based upon the foods that you consume.

Eat a lot of carbohydrates, eat a lot of simple sugars, and your blood sugar will rise and now as we've learned, that dramatically correlates to your risk for becoming demented.