Food Tips to Slow Cognitive Decline

November 6, 2021

Today we want to provide our listeners with some ideas about what foods will help them keep their brain and memory working smoothly and slowing down any cognitive decline. If you are concerned about your own memory or if one of your parents or grandparents struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, you may wonder if it possible to lower brain inflammation and oxidative stress while keeping the mind sharp and focused. As dietitians and nutritionists, we are always looking at research and have found the findings of a diet that shows some promising results. If you want to prevent dementia or slow down cognitive decline, choosing the right foods is one of the most important habits you can practice and, in this show, we’ll share the details of what to eat and what to avoid.

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CAROLYN: Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Carolyn Hudson, and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And I'm in studio today with Britni Vincent, who is also a Registered and Licensed dietitian. We are so pleased to have Britni back to Dishing Up Nutrition and to Nutritional Weight and Wellness after taking well, a little more than a few weeks, I think wasn't it? Not only did you deliver one baby girl, but two beautiful baby girls. Britni, you are the proud mother of those lovely identical twins and also a 20 month old, right?



BRITNI: It’s a busy house.

CAROLYN: Very busy house; it’s quite a handful. How are you doing it?

BRITNI: Well, I'm so happy to be back, you know, I, I'm just starting back part time and I want to thank all my clients for being patient with me and my schedule. And now that I'm back, you know, green light is on. You can get on my schedule and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you. But to answer your question, Carolyn, how do I manage all of this? Well, you know staying organized is huge.

CAROLYN: Oh, I bet. Yes.

BRITNI: And then, you know, another way: I have help. The grandmas are wonderful.

CAROLYN: Oh yeah. I'm a grandma.

BRITNI: Yeah. So without them, it would be much, much more difficult. And you know, of course I have to share a little bit about my new girls, you know, I think we've all heard about the twin bond. Right? Well already they’re, they're just a little over three months old and you can tell they love to look at each other. They love to hold hands. They seek out each other and it's just, it's so sweet. Yeah. It's been wonderful.

CAROLYN: Oh how fun is that?


CAROLYN: So listeners, today we want to provide you with some ideas about what foods will help you keep your memory and your brain working and slowing down that cognitive decline. So there is some pretty scary statistics out there. Aren't there Britni?

BRITNI: Yes. There, there are, you know, so between 2000 and 2019 Alzheimer’s increased 145%.

CAROLYN: That is super scary.

BRITNI: It's astounding. And so right now, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's.


BRITNI: Or some form of dementia.

CAROLYN: Some form of dementia. Well that’s a lot. Yeah. That's an awful lot. I mean, who hasn't been touched by this?

BRITNI: Exactly.

CAROLYN: You know, I mean, I've had my father who I've spoken about a number of times on this program and I also had a grandmother. And it's difficult.

BRITNI: It is difficult.

CAROLYN: It is so, so hard.

BRITNI: My, my grandmother had it too. Yeah, it's awful. But you know, I think these statistics, the rate of increase, it really just goes to show it's our lifestyle that makes a huge impact.

CAROLYN: Right. It is not, it can't be our genetics.

BRITNI: Yeah, because our genetics aren't changing that quickly.

CAROLYN: They don’t change that quickly.


Connection between Alzheimer’s and raised blood sugar levels


CAROLYN: So I, you know, if there's one thing you can take away from this listeners, is it's your lifestyle. You do have control over this. So listen up. We’re going to be talking about this, right? So here's a really bold statement from a recent Harvard study. This study found that reducing the sugar in your diet can directly lead to reducing your blood sugar level, which then lowers your chance of developing dementia. So again, lifestyle.

BRITNI: Absolutely. And here's another study about sugar. This study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that for even people who do not have diabetes, sugar and dementia are still directly correlated and blood sugar above normal can contribute to an increased risk of getting Alzheimer's. So basically what the study is saying is that sugar and Alzheimer's and dementia can be directly related. And you know, Alzheimer's is often referred to as type three diabetes.

CAROLYN: When, when we talk about diabetes, a lot of our clients will say, “Well, I don't have diabetes”. But what they don't realize is just this elevated level of blood sugar on a continual basis, basically, right, is, is really that type three diabetes. And their doctor's not even going to say anything, right?

BRITNI: Yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, many people don't know they have prediabetes and then all of a sudden they're diagnosed with type two diabetes.


BRITNI: Yeah. So we're going to touch, you know, more about our blood sugar and insulin and all of that a little bit later this morning to give you an idea of that. Those of you listening that has a family history of Alzheimer's, cutting back or eliminating processed carbs and sugar from your diet, like we've been talking about is really one of the most important habits you can change to slow our cognitive decline. So we understand cutting out sugar is so difficult.

CAROLYN: It’s not easy.

BRITNI: Especially this time of year.


BRITNI: But if it can help keep your memory, just think about it, it, it might be worth it. So this holiday season, you know, saying no to the pies or cookies, the bars, the candy, the pumpkin spice lattes, that's all going to help your brain function and, and how to prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.

CAROLYN: Right, right. And really, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but to me, once we hit Halloween, Halloween's the start.

BRITNI: Yes. It sure is.

CAROLYN: Of the downfall right; through to January one. And of course it goes on for a little bit later for many people, but you know, a lot of people say, “Oh, January one, I'm going to do this. I'm going to go on that diet.

BRITNI: It's a fresh start.

CAROLYN: It's a fresh start. So getting help to reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar you eat is a good reason to make an appointment, maybe with a dietitian or nutritionist at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. You know, I often find that clients are just not aware of those hidden sugars in the foods that they're eating. For example, here are a couple of facts about that bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios you have for breakfast every morning: just one cup contains about 30 grams of carbs. And that's going to turn into about seven and a half teaspoons of sugar in your body.


CAROLYN: Yeah, seven and a half. That's a lot of sugar to be giving to yourself in one dose. And who the heck starts stops with like one cup? One cup isn't very much, you know, I'm, I'm a pretty small woman, but one cup never, never satisfied me at all. So, and of course, how is this cereal advertised? It's heart healthy, but as you just heard, it really is a high sugar food. A much healthier and lower sugar breakfast is going to be the two eggs and maybe a cup of mixed vegetables. You can scramble all of that together; top it with a couple of slices of avocado. And that is a very low sugar breakfast. So we help clients learn how to eliminate those high sugar foods from their diet and replace it with foods high in nutrients.

BRITNI: Yeah. I think that's key is we’re helping people find those replacements. We're helping you with that action plan because you know, it's, it's hard to figure that all out you're on your own.

CAROLYN: Well, and that's what we, that's the way we've been eating for a very long time. So it's a, it's a shift in our lifestyle.

BRITNI: Sure is.

CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely.

BRITNI: You know, that sugar, so sugar actually shrinks our hippocampus, which is the memory center in our brain.

CAROLYN: So wow. Listeners think about that.

BRITNI: Yeah. Create, you know, creating a visual can be, can be really helpful. So, you know, if you're concerned about your own memory or if one of your parents or grandparents struggled with Alzheimer’s, you might wonder if it's possible to lower brain inflammation and oxidative stress. And it is possible. And we're going to talk more about, about that when we come back from break.

CAROLYN: So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness, and I'm Carolyn Hudson and I'm in studio with Britni Vincent. Welcome back, Britni. We are both registered and licensed dietitians. And today we are discussing the role food plays in slowing cognitive decline. And we will be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. For many of us, the next two months are the most challenging time of year to steer clear of the treats because they're just everywhere. Especially, you know, our favorite treats are not only, or are those favorite treats that are only available during the holiday season.



CAROLYN: Yeah. They're deadly.

BRITNI: Yes, they are. So a solution that many of our clients find helpful is to have a weekly appointment with a dietitian or a nutritionist, so they can stay on their path of wellness and not backslide. And I have a lot of clients that see me on a regular basis just for that continued support. You know, they need that. That pecan pie, that's such a traditional Thanksgiving dessert; did you know, pecan pie topped with ice cream contains 80 grams of carbs or 20 teaspoons of sugars is what that breaks down to?

CAROLYN: That’s a lot of carbs, a lot of sugar in that bloodstream just pouring in.

BRITNI: Yes. So now hearing that fact, you, you might think twice about having that this Thanksgiving and changing behavior, you know, it's often about knowing and understanding the damage these holiday treats can do in your body and your brain. So that we can make these better and more wise choices. So again, those weekly appointments, or, you know, every other week with a dietitian or nutritionist can help you keep your personal commitment. So call our office: 651-699-3438, and we can help you to set up a series of appointments for you to keep your brain and your body healthy.

Nutrition Counseling

CAROLYN: Yeah. Thank you, Britni. That’s really good advice I think for our listeners. But before we went to break, we were talking about our loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia. And we're talking about oxidative stress.

What is oxidative stress and how can we reduce it?


BRITNI: Yes. Yeah. So yeah, it is possible by eating a healthy diet low in sugar and low in bad fats that we can reduce brain inflammation and oxidative stress. And you know, the bad fats just to quick recap: soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil; all of those. But let's back up because I'm sure some of you are thinking, “What is oxidative stress”?

CAROLYN: Yeah, we have a few of those kind of long words or complicated words.

BRITNI: So oxidative stress occurs when there are more free radicals and not enough antioxidants in your body. So again, let's back up. What are free radicals? Well, they are unstable atoms that can damage your cells and contribute to disease and aging.

CAROLYN: So kind of they weaken the cell, right?

BRITNI: Yeah. That’s a good way of thinking about it.


BRITNI: Yeah, it is. So what we do know is a diet high in sugar and bad fats, alcohol, they contribute to more free radical production. So one meal that comes to mind is a meal of pizza and a few beers. Now, it might be okay to have this occasionally, but several times a week or several times a month, it's just not good for your brain health. So if you're looking to prevent Alzheimer's, pizza and beer is definitely not a meal to choose. And oftentimes, you know, people order pizza just because they're too busy to cook. It's quick and easy.

And, you know, with twins and a toddler, of course, it's crossed my mind many times to, to, to that often. But you know, I know about all the unhealthy ingredients, including the, the enormous amount of carbohydrates and those bad fats, you know, we do, if you crave pizza, we do have a recipe on our website for a sheet pan pizza. It's really easy. It's really good. It gives you all the flavors and, and you're not getting all those carbs.

CAROLYN: Recently I found actually I had my sister-in-law make a pizza with zucchini and if you're not dairy sensitive, it had parmesan cheese it, and I think a little coconut flour or something. Oh my goodness. That crust was so good.

BRITNI: I have made one like that too. It is so good.

CAROLYN: Is so good. So you can just Google that recipe. I know I gave it to a couple people as well. So yeah, pizza, you can still have pizza, you know, let's just not do like that thick double stuff crust, you know, all that stuff.

BRITNI: Exactly.

CAROLYN: So here's an idea that I want to share with you: that can turn into a question like, ooh, what's for dinner? So sometimes that can be a gourmet meal. That's a mouthful this morning; experience, but really what I do is batch cooking. I do a lot of batch cooking. So I cook up some of my favorite meals so that I know I have meals that are high in nutrients and low in those free radicals. And these meals then are available to me at pretty much any given time.

So if you're not doing any batch cooking, I suggest you maybe take our Zoom cooking class called, oh, guess what? Batch Cooking for Simple Weeknight Dinners. Marianne, she is our culinary nutrition educator, and she is fabulous.

BRITNI: Yes, she is.

CAROLYN: She really is. She's going to show you her tricks in her very own kitchen and we'll guide you through the process. So this class is going to be taught November 9th and November 11th via a live Zoom link. And you can sign up for these helpful classes on our website at all spelled out. Or you can just call our office at (651) 699-3438.

Cooking Classes

BRITNI: Yeah. I think the batch cooking is key. You have to do it to stay on top of it. Yeah. We, none of us, we don't have time to be making meals three times a day.

CAROLYN: Right, exactly.


CAROLYN: So yeah, it's a savior.

BRITNI: Yeah. And as nutritionists and dietitians, we're always looking at what's the recent research telling us? And now I want to report the findings of a diet that shows some promising results. So if you want to prevent dementia or slow cognitive decline, choosing the right foods, it is truly one of the most important habits you can practice. Because if you eat junk food or drive through the fast food lane, you're going to have a junk food brain. And it's, you're, you're not going to be able to remember all the information that comes your way in this high-tech world that we live in. So a diet that seems to show some positive results is a diet called MIND, which stands for Mediterranean-Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Yes. That's not a mouthful.

CAROLYN: It's a big, some big words there.

BRITNI: Yes. So again, we can just call it MIND. And you know, first and foremost, it's about eating real food. That's what it's about; no processed or ultra processed foods. It's not including canned soups or mac and cheese, fast food, no French fries, no ramen. It's again, eating real food like we talk about every, every week; and organic if, if possible.

CAROLYN: Yeah, definitely. So Britni, let me go back to that word, neurodegenerative. It’s a big word, right?

BRITNI: It is.

CAROLYN: So, but really all that means is like your brain neurons, right? So your nerves in your brain are degenerating or breaking down. So this is a neurodegenerative preventer.


What kinds of foods are neuroprotective?


CAROLYN: Right. Yeah. This type of diet. So I want to talk about some of the foods that may be neuroprotective, again, just protecting those nerves in the brain to help you reduce some of that free radical damage and provide a variety of antioxidants. So as dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we often suggest eating, guess what? Vegetables are good carbohydrates. Vegetables are carbohydrates with your breakfast. And it turns out that that vegetables help protect your memory.

So guess what, it's almost time for our next break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. For a large number of us, perhaps I should say most of us for the past 20 months, it has been very stressful. We know this for a fact that eating protein, vegetables and good natural fat, at least four times a day can help you manage your environmental stress. Eating in balance four times a day sets up your brain to be calm, relaxed, and focused. The everyday stressors suddenly are no longer stressors at all. Do you need a nutritional de-stressor? Let us help you get through this holiday season calmly and peacefully, looking forward to each day. Give us a call at (651) 699-3438 to get started on setting up your brain to be calm, relaxed, and focused this holiday season. And we'll be right back.

Nutrition Counseling


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Here is something to think about. Many of my clients have been told by health professionals, family, or friends that if they just lose weight, their cholesterol numbers will improve or their glucose numbers will normalize. But perhaps that thinking is putting the cart before the horse. As dietitians and nutritionists, we know that when you reduce your processed carbs, your glucose number reduces. So you have less insulin resistance. And then you lose weight is, is really the cascade of what happens. So to get the horse driving the cart, lower your glucose and your insulin numbers and the number on the scale will also start, start to decline.

Over 50% of the population are experiencing higher blood sugar and insulin resistance from all the sugar and the processed carbs that that we're just bombarded with on a daily basis. And we find when people cut that out, the sugar and the processed carbs, their blood sugar and weight, they really do reduce. So if you want more info call the office: 651-699-3438. And let's talk more about that.

CAROLYN: So I just want to go back to that one statistic you just said. Over 50% of the population is experiencing high blood sugar and insulin resistance. That: 50%. So one in two people, right?


Vegetables reduce free radicals


CAROLYN: That's a lot. So before we went to break, we were talking about, you know, how, what kind of diet do you need? What do you need to eat that's going to help you with this free radical damage or not having that free radical damage and having a variety of antioxidants? So we know antioxidants are readily available in primarily like our fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are probably the best source. So we suggest that you eat vegetables at breakfast and lunch and at dinner and at your snacks, right?

BRITNI: Basically all day long.

CAROLYN: All day long, all day long. So, and once you get in the habit of doing this, it's actually very easy.


CAROLYN: And some people just say, “Oh, well, I would never eat vegetables for breakfast”. Well then just start with that, you know, scrambled eggs or omelet, which we always put something in the omelet. It's not usually just, you know, eggs. So that's a really good way. Leafy green vegetables, because really they are very high in nutrients and vitamins and minerals. And remember eat the cruciferous vegetables.

BRITNI: So good for us.

CAROLYN: Yes. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, just to name a few. The nutrients in these vegetables help to lower homocysteine. Okay. That's another big word, but it's just an amino acid that's produced when protein is broken down. So high homocysteine levels, they are not good for our brains. They can be linked to that cognitive decline and dementia. So we don't want high homocysteine levels.

BRITNI: Definitely not. A super easy way I get more of the cruciferous veggies is cabbage. I actually have a head of purple cabbage in my, in my fridge right now. And I just sauté that in butter or olive oil, salt, pepper; you could add onions, garlic.

CAROLYN: A little bit of bacon.

BRITNI: Yeah. So easy. It makes a ton. Cabbage is cheap. And, and then you're getting more of those cruciferous veggies.

CAROLYN: I add chopped, frozen broccoli to my smoothie.

BRITNI: Yeah, easy.

CAROLYN: Simple. And I can't taste the broccoli. I love broccoli, but you know, in a smoothie you kind of go, oh, I don't want to taste that.

The importance of water for memory


BRITNI: Great, great suggestion. You know, another, another thing that we often overlook is water. So for a better memory, remember to drink your water. We recommend filtered water and at least eight glasses daily or half your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb. And if you're taking a diuretic, you may need to drink more water.

CAROLYN: You're usually dehydrated, right?

BRITNI: Yep. And when you're dehydrated, your brain can actually shrink and your memory will be diminished. So again, the simple habit of drinking water can make a huge impact on your memory and your energy and just your overall brain function.

CAROLYN: I tell all of my clients commit to drinking eight to 10 ounces of water before that first sip of coffee in the morning, because you haven't been drinking all night long and your brain is actually kind of in a “shrinked” or whatever; not, you know, it's not in a good state. So revive that brain by having some water first thing in the morning.

More brain-healthy foods


BRITNI: That's a great recommendation.

CAROLYN: So some other foods that are considered brain healthy, you know, an easy one to add to your diet, hey, a handful of nuts. Who doesn't like a handful of nuts? We recommend raw nuts, or because generally most of the roasted nuts are roasted in some of those bad oils that we don't like, like soybean or other hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. And those are bad for your brain and your body. So clients tell me, and I find this as well, that when you eat raw nuts, just a handful satisfies you and you can stop with just that one handful. But when you get those nuts that are roasted in some of those bad oils at a high temperature, you tend to want more than one handful, right? You don't stop with just one handful. So that's a pretty easy way to, you know, kind of get the good nutrition from the nuts and keep you satiated.

BRITNI: You know, we have a great recipe on our website to slow roast nuts. Again, our website is So it's pretty simple. You soak nuts overnight in filtered water and a little salt, and then you drain that and you bake them at 200 degrees.

CAROLYN: Delicious.


CAROLYN: I love those.

BRITNI: You could, you could add other seasonings to it as well, but you know, those healthy fats, you, you mentioned keeping us satiated. They keep our blood sugar more stable.

CAROLYN: I think that's really important.

BRITNI: Yes, it is.

CAROLYN: That's one of the reasons we always say, yeah, you have some carb, have some protein, but also have some fat.

BRITNI: Absolutely.

CAROLYN: That stabilizes our blood sugar, slows that blood sugar or slows that glucose absorption down so that it keeps our blood sugar more stable.

Eat healthy fat to support brain health


BRITNI: Yeah, it's so important. You know, and then when we're talking about our brain health, 60 to 70% of our brain is fat. So if you've heard of the term fat head, there's truth to that.

CAROLYN: There’s definitely truth to that.

BRITNI: So we need to be filling our brain with good, healthy fat. You know, imagine these processed refined oils that you were talking about and how is our brain going to work efficiently if we're eating those types of fats?

CAROLYN: And I've often heard, and I think a couple of our nutritionists have experienced this with their parents or grandparents, is when they started showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer's they were on cholesterol-lowering medications. Their physicians got them off of those cholesterol lowering medications almost immediately once the person started showing those signs of dementia. And so why is that?

BRITNI: Cholesterol is fat.

CAROLYN: Cholesterol is a fat. So we do need fat. We need fat.

BRITNI: We really do.

CAROLYN: So if you have a developing concern about Alzheimer's disease or having any kind of memory problem, you may be thinking, okay, now what am I going to do to slow this cognitive decline? What should I eat to keep my memory sharp? Or perhaps a better way to think about it is your eating habits is what should you avoid eating to keep your memory from declining?

Avoid processed carbs and alcohol for good memory


You know, all of the research points to avoiding sugar, processed carbs and too much alcohol. This is really a challenge because as we get older and actually, I don't even think it's just as we get older and socialize. I think it's just socializing in general.

BRITNI: So true.

CAROLYN: Think about this for a minute. You know, what happens when you go to visit your family or a friend? What's the first thing?

BRITNI: “What would you like to drink?”

CAROLYN: “What would you like to drink? Oh here, I just baked some cookies.” You know, “Can I get you some pie” or, you know, any kind of dessert. So this, I, it seems to be the first thing that we do when we when we socialize, ask if they want to have a drink. And usually that's alcoholic. Sometimes you're offered something other than alcohol, but a lot of times you are offered the dessert or the sweet item and alcohol.

So according to CDC, that's the Center for Disease Control, over a hundred million Americans now suffer from some sort of diabetes. Having insulin resistance can be one of the causes of type two diabetes, and of course, obesity. And when we realize that over half of the U.S. population had insulin resistance in 2020; no doubt that number has gone way up, right?

BRITNI: For sure.

CAROLYN: Because of the unhealthy eating habits we've had over the past 20 months of this pandemic, we do have a better understanding of why we have seen a rise in both diabetes and obesity.

BRITNI: And, you know, I, I just want to mention, generally speaking, most people get their glucose checked when they go to the doctor for a physical. You could have a good morning glucose or good fasting glucose, but still have insulin resistance.

CAROLYN: Yeah. That's really important. Again, our doctors kind of don't tell us everything. They say, “Oh, it's under a hundred, or, you know, it's 95. Oh, that's great.” But that's a point in time.

The science of insulin resistance


BRITNI: Exactly. So what again, what is diabetes and insulin resistance? What does that have to do with cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease? Well, Carolyn and I want to go into this a little deeper into explaining insulin resistance. And I know some of you listeners have heard this before, but it is such an important concept to understand. It bears repeating many, many times.

So when you eat too many carbs or high sugar foods or beverages, your pancreas produces more insulin, or it produces insulin to try to bring the sugar into our cells. However, after some time the insulin builds up this coating over our cell receptors, and then that prevents the sugar from getting into our cells and allowing our cells to create energy.

CAROLYN: Guess what? It's already time for a break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Even though we recommend avoiding sugar and processed carbs, some people will indulge and then heartburn follows. To avoid that heartburn, we suggest taking maybe three Bifido Balance, which is a probiotic, before your breakfast and maybe three before dinner. And then at bedtime, take another probiotic, Acidophilus. Take maybe three of those caps. The good news is that these simple probiotics taken through the holidays are probably going to work for most people. And for the month of November, they are on special at 15% off. You can order them online at, or you can stop by one of our six offices. And we'll be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Next week, our culinary nutrition educator, Marianne is back in the kitchen with her educational and entertaining cooking classes on Tuesday, November 9th and Thursday, November 11th. She's going to inspire you to do batch cooking for simple weeknight dinners to have leftovers. The cooking class is only in $25. They're all taught in a Zoom format. So you can do it in your PJ's in the comfort of your own home. So sign up online at or call us at (651) 699-3438.

Cooking Classes

CAROLYN: And before we went to break, Britni was talking about insulin resistance and cognitive decline.

BRITNI: Yeah. So let me just repeat quickly what we were talking about before the break. So when we eat carbohydrates and sugar, our pancreas produces insulin. And the insulin then carries in the glucose or the sugar into our cells to create energy. But when we're eating a lot of carbohydrates and sugar, we're making more and more insulin. And then eventually that excess insulin will create this buildup on our receptors, our cell receptors. So that that prevents us from carrying in the glucose into our cells and creating energy.

So then all that sugar is left in our bloodstream and that measures as high blood sugar. So prediabetes is elevated insulin that's caused that sugar to stay in the bloodstream too long. And when we talk about insulin resistance, you know, there's, there's a spectrum of that.

CAROLYN: Correct; right.

BRITNI: So, and eventually it does lead to prediabetes and type two diabetes. And, you know, a normal blood sugar range is 99 and below. Prediabetes is 105 to 125. And diabetes is a blood sugar level of 126 or higher. And as we were talking, Carolyn and I were talking about, you know, just getting that glucose checked with your doctor once a year is one little snapshot in time.

CAROLYN: It doesn't often tell us the whole story. So if you're concerned about that, you know, either you should ask for a few more snapshots or maybe even an A1C. You know, I don't see any reason why some physicians, like if you went in and you said, you know, “I haven’t been very good. I've been eating very poorly, especially during the pandemic.” Nobody's going to judge you. I just want to know what, what that's done to my body. And an A1C, that's that three months of kind of a historical look of that blood sugar, that will tell you a lot more than that snap shot, right?

BRITNI: Yep. Exactly. Exactly. And you know, what's wrong, what's so wrong with having a high blood sugar? Well, when the sugar remains in the bloodstream and we're not pushing it into the cells to create energy because of that insulin resistance, again, that's eventually going to lead to prediabetes or type two diabetes. And we know it negatively affects your brain. I mean, it negatively affects every single part of your body.

CAROLYN: Right. Right. Exactly. You know, I think a lot of times I can tell people, well, that's, what's causing that inflammation and all that pain, you know? So sometimes we really know it, but I think when we're thinking cognitively, we, we're not making that connection.

BRITNI: Right. It’s very true.

CAROLYN: It's right. It's very, very difficult. So Dr. David Perlmutter, who is a board certified neurologist and the author of Brain Maker, said, “Sugar is like an assault weapon. It inflicts a lot of damage.” I love that. Well, right. Dr. Perlmutter also said, “Diabetes is the leading cause of get this, early death, coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and neurological disorders.”

“Type 3 diabetes” and Alzheimer’s connection


And we could go as far as to say, diabetes is also the major cause of Alzheimer's if it goes untreated for years. And you know, I got to go back to what Britni said earlier, reminded us that Alzheimer's is often now referred to as type three diabetes. See, he also went on to say that, “Surges in blood sugar have a direct negative effect on the brain; effects that cause inflammation. Didn’t I just say that? Sugar causes inflammation and inflammation often causes pain in our joints. But when it's inflammation in our brain, we're probably not feeling that.

BRITNI: Exactly. It's harder to recognize.

CAROLYN: Right. Exactly. So what have you eaten lately that could cause a surge in blood sugar? So listeners, I really want you to think about that. Let's say you stopped by a friend's house. And as a gracious host that your friend is, she served you a warm slice of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or maybe she served you some of her leftover Halloween candy. Sad to say, but that yummy treat, that you know, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, that's going to contain about 73 grams of carbs. And that's going to turn into over 18 teaspoons of sugar in your bloodstream. Oh my goodness. 18 plus teaspoons of sugar could definitely cause a blood sugar surge. And that's going to cause a direct and negative effect on your brain and inflammation throughout your body and of course your brain.

Sugar depletes neurotransmitters and vitamins


BRITNI: And we also want to point out some other negative effects sugar has on the brain. Sugar depletes neurotransmitter levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, dopamine. Sugar, also depletes B vitamins, magnesium. And we really need sufficient levels of B12 for a good working memory. And sugar can deplete B12 as well.

CAROLYN: Yeah. Okay. So I think that that's really important; those B vitamins, right? We were talking about those earlier and that kind of homocysteine. So a lot of vegetables would be really good there. So as a dietitian who works with many older clients, I remind them how important it is to keep their blood sugar numbers below 105, particularly because diabetes and even slightly higher blood sugar levels can increase their risk for brain shrinkage and Alzheimer's disease. I think it's safe to say that most people want to keep their brain working well and they try to do everything they know to avoid that cognitive decline.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows that what you eat or what you do not eat can have a direct impact on your memory, either positive impact or of course a negative one. So here's a good example of this. In the past, everyone thought the word “diet” meant some type of low calorie, low fat eating plan to lose weight. But in the world of nutrition, the word diet actually means following an eating plan that provides you with the foods that contain sufficient key nutrients to keep a well-functioning brain and body.

So to support a healthy brain function and slow cognitive decline, we recommend that you eat a diet that includes real protein, like grass fed meat, wild caught salmon. If possible, a variety of vegetable carbs, a tablespoon of beneficial, natural fats, such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil. And drink water and sleep and eliminate those sugar and processed carbs and alcohol. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. And we'll see you next week.

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