Dr. Seibel's Health Tips / Health and Fitness / Senior Living

Too Much Sugar Causes Memory Loss

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We know too much sugar is bad for our waistline.  A study from Mayo Clinic and reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has shown that the people over 70 who ate the most carbohydrates relative to protein and fat approached being 4 times greater risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s Disease. The risk also rose with the absolute amount of sugar consumed – ie, the more sugar the higher the risk. 

The good news was that people in the study who ate more protein and fat relative to carbs were less likely to become cognitively impaired. This study makes it even more clear why a balanced diet is so important. 

This study followed 1,230 people between the ages of 70 and 89 who provided their dietary intake during the prior year. Their cognition was evaluated by an expert initially. There were 940 people who had no cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study and those were asked to return for follow-up exams. 

Beginning nearly 4 years after the study began, 200 of the 940 began showing signs of cognitive impairment such as memory loss, language, thinking or judgement. 

The ones who said they ate the most carbohydrates at the beginning of the study were 1.9 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than the people who said they ate the least amount of carbs. Those who reported the most sugar intake (as opposed to sugar plus carbs) were 1.5 times likelier to develop mild problems of cognition. 

But if you compared the ones who ate the most fat and compared them to the ones who ate the lowest amount of fat, they were 42% less likely to demonstrate difficulty with cognition. Those who reported the highest protein intake had a similar protective outcome (21% less likely to have their cognition reduced). 

When the researchers combined total fat and protein intake, those who consumed the most carbohydrates were 3.6 times more likely to have mild cognitive impairment over the four years of the study. 

Unfortunately, the study didn’t break down the carbohydrate intake by type so all the details aren’t known. But the researchers believe that complex carbohydrates that are low in fiber such as pasta, white bread and refined-grain products cause blood sugar levels to rise up suddenly and that might cause the brain to have difficulty utilizing sugar properly – somewhat like type 2 diabetes. 

They also believe that whole grains and brown rice, barley and oats retain fiber and other nutrients because they aren’t removed during processing. That allows the blood sugar levels to rise slower and the brain to utilize the sugar more in line with its needs. 

Alzheimer’s Disease affects 5.2 million adults and these numbers are expected to triple by 2050 as the Baby Boomers age. This is one more proof that we have a lot of control over our health and our mental health including Alzheimer’s Disease. And that is something sweet that’s good to remember. 

Please like and share. Click Here to watch my music video called Liquid Candy about drinking too much sugar. 

Dr. Mache Seibel, Founder of My Menopause Magazine http://bit.ly/MyMenoMag
Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Founder My Menopause Magazine 




(617) 916-1880 

PS: Find more information of this type in My Menopause Magazine, available for the iPad in the Apple Newsstand. http://bit.ly/MyMenoMag 




“It’s better to stay well than to get well!”  Mache Seibel, MD.

Dr. Machelle (Mache) Seibel is America’s health expert, addressing the critical needs of consumers from stress and weight control to menopause and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for almost 20 years and is a pioneer in many areas of women’s health and more. He works with companies and organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. His professional experiences include:

– Host for PBS and NBC TV episodes, frequent media expert;

– Repeatedly voted into Best Doctors in America;

– Past Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal Sexuality, Reproduction & Menopause;

– Distinguished Alumnus Award, the University of Texas Medical Branch’s highest honor 2008;

– Multiple national awards for research, writing, music writing and patient education;

– Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School 2004-present;

– Director, Complicated Menopause Program, University of Massachusetts Medical School 2004-2011;

– Founder of HealthRock®, reshaping health education with health songs and entertainment;

– Past Medical Director, Inverness Medical Innovations (now Alere);

– Corporate Consultant and Corporate Health Expert Nationally and Internationally;

– Author/editor 14 books, over 200 scientific articles;

– American Cancer Society New England Division Medical Advisory Network;

– Advisory board of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps initiative to fight childhood obesity; and

– Nationally known guest speaker, key note speaker.

Visit his award-winning website www.DoctorSeibel.com and sign up for his free monthly newsletter.

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