January 15, 2018
This is a fresh look at Alzheimer’s disease and how the foods we eat affect our brain. Learn about ways to help your brain work at its best. We’re joined by Amy Berger, author of The Alzheimer’s Antidote.
This is a fresh look at Alzheimer’s disease and how the foods we eat affect our brain. Learn about ways to help your brain work at its best. We’re joined by Amy Berger, author of The Alzheimer’s Antidote.
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DAR: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Darlene Kvist, certified nutrition specialist and licensed nutritionist. Today, we have a great show planned as we're taking a fresh new look at Alzheimer's disease. So, if you're concerned about your memory or if you have a family member with Alzheimer's disease, you'll want to stay tuned because we have a nutritionist and an author Amy Berger joining us by phone to discuss her new book, The Alzheimer's Antidote.
LEA: Well hello, Dar. I'm Lea Wetzell, I'm the cohost today of Dishing Up Nutrition, and just like Dar, I am a certified nutrition specialist and a licensed nutritionist and I'm also a mom of two wonderful children. Oliver just turned five, and I have a little baby Lucy who is 1 year old. My hands are full. So, as a mom, I have experienced firsthand how being up throughout the night with feedings or changing babies or sick kids or whatever that may be, I know what it's like to feel sleep deprived, more so than I'd ever experienced. But I know what it's like to not get a good night's sleep, and ultimately that sleep deprivation leads to memory issues and foggy brain. So, I really know the importance of a good quality night's sleep.
DAR: So, you talk about not getting enough sleep. Some nights you get how many hours?
LEA: So, I would say on average I'm getting close to seven/eight hours a day. But on a rough night it could be two.
DAR: And then there's no memory.
LEA: No. It’s tough to function.
DAR: Yeah. So, today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing nutritional counseling and education for people with both physical problems and memory issues. Food really makes a difference for your body and for your brain. We say it over and over, don't we? And we believe it.
LEA: I want to give you a little background on our special guests today. First of all, author Amy Berger has a master's degree in human nutrition and is also a certified nutrition specialist. As a nutritionist, she has looked deeply into how nutrition and lifestyle habits affect the brain and memory.
DAR: And that's new, I think for somebody to really take a deep look at how food affects your memory.
LEA: Exactly. Dar and I heard Amy Berger speak at the Westin A. Price conference this fall in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was great. I really enjoyed her presentation. We were also very impressed with her knowledge and what she has discovered to help restore people's memory.
DAR: Lea and I both thought when we heard her speak, “This lady must be our guest.” Because people all over the world, not just here in Minnesota, but all over the world need this information to slow down the epidemic of Alzheimer's disease.
So, I know Amy's on the line. Good morning, Amy, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. It's really a pleasure to have you join us today to speak about such an important topic. In your book, The Alzheimer's Antidote, the very first sentence you wrote said, “Alzheimer's disease, like so many other degenerative conditions, is highly influenced by factors over which each of us has control.” Isn’t that interesting?
LEA: Very, very empowering. Amy, what did you mean when you wrote that we have control over these factors, either in support of our health or the opposite, ruining our health.
AMY: Good morning to you. Well, I'll get to the question in a second. I just really want to say that it's such a thrill to be on your show because I have been listening to your show for quite some time. A long time ago in my previous career life I had a very long commute and podcasts were kind of my lifeline to sanity. And I found their show and it was so refreshing to hear nutritionists talking about the real thing. A nutritionist who got it. It was so nice to listen. I never dreamed that I'd be a guest someday.
DAR: Was that the reason you went into the field of nutrition after listening to our podcast?
AMY: I had inspiration from a lot of sources. OK. So, in regard to your question, I mean, if we're talking specifically about Alzheimer’s or the brain, talking about factors that we have control over. it's really interesting when we talk about things like type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease or PCOS or so many other chronic health issues that have really exploded in incidence over the last few decades. We take it for granted that there's a role for diet and lifestyle. Nobody questions that anymore. We take that as a fact, like, “Oh, you have type II diabetes, of course you need to change your diet, of course you need to change the way you live.” And yet, when it comes to Alzheimer’s, we pretend like we're just clueless. Like “We have no idea where this is coming from! It couldn't possibly be a dietary and lifestyle problem the same way all of those other modern chronic conditions are.” We almost dismiss out of hand that that's even a viable possibility. So, when I say that we have control over it to the extent that Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline are related to a lifetime of certain dietary and lifestyle factors, then we do have control over at least a large extent of this. There was a small genetic component and there's other factors that go into it, but we do have control over what I think are the most powerful factors driving this.
DAR: It's so interesting, Amy, when you say that. Just hanging out over the holidays with friends and family, I start to wonder how many listeners truly believe that they have control over their health, especially their brain health. I think what happens, and this is so true for so many different conditions, people just want to pop a pill and have everything get better. So, what about popping a pill? Is there a medication or a pill that works for Alzheimer's? I mean, I know they've been researching, but have they found anything, Amy?
AMY: Yes and no. There are medications on the market for Alzheimer’s disease, but they do little to nothing to actually slow the progression of the disease or prevent it, let alone reversing it once it's already taken hold. So, yeah, there are medications but they're, I hate to say it so bluntly but I'm going to tell the truth. They're useless.
DAR: Yes. I mean that's what it seems like. It’s true. So why are they being prescribed then?
AMY: Well, I think some of it is to placate the number of patients and their families. It gives them comfort. Like, ok, we've got this medicine and we've got a plan of action now. Even though it's not a plan of action. The plan of action is, “Here. Take this pill.” And by the way, the standard of care for Alzheimer’s disease is that there is no standard of care. The standard of care is get your affairs in order, Mr. Smith, and prepare for your decline. It's really unfortunate, but I think the pills are given because they may they may have a very small effect on slowing the progression but that's at best.
DAR: And maybe that’s even placebo effect.
AMY: It could be. It could be a placebo. And I also just think that doctors may, themselves, feel so powerless. There's literally nothing else they have to offer. They have no other strategic intervention, so they have to give the medicine even though it doesn't really do much.
LEA: Right. And so that's why this talk today is so important because, like you said, there is stuff we can do and that has to do with the diet. And, as nutritionists, when we're working with people and there's not a medication that would work for their health conditions, it really allows us to really dig deeper and look to expand our search for the cause, such as looking at food choices that people have been making.
DAR: So, Amy, when you wrote your book, and I bet it took a long time, didn't it? You look deeper into the biochemistry of the brain and now you have a whole new understanding about how to help people restore their memory. So, we're going to have to take a break here, but we really ought to be prepared for that when we come back. So, think of the things that you suggested in your book for people.
LEA: So, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And today we are discussing the new treatment for Alzheimer's disease with Amy Berger, nutritionist and author of The Alzheimer's Antidote. The antidote isn't a medication or a supplement. It is eating real food. We'll be right back.
DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Did you know that one of the causes of restless leg syndrome is having a low level of iron stored in your body? Or did that fatigue, weak legs, and crying easily, can be a sign of low potassium? If you want to know more about minerals and the body’s signs of deficiency, we now offer an online class called The Magic of Minerals that you can watch and learn just right in your own home.
LEA: So, back to the topic at hand. Amy, with all of your extensive research for your book, we've talked about pre-break that we know that medications are really not the solution to the answer for Alzheimer's. And so, with your research with your book, what did you find out what about diet and brain health?
AMY: I mean, where do I even start?
DAR: Well, just go into explaining more in detail, looking at the brain chemistry, what's affecting that brain chemistry that's causing Alzheimer's to occur? Basically, start there.
AMY: Right. So, Alzheimer's disease, I like to call it a metabolic problem.
LEA: Yes. Just like other metabolic problems that we can have.
AMY: Right. Like metabolic syndrome, like any of these sorts of newfangled problems that are popping up.
DAR: Our listeners would think of metabolic problem as being type 2 diabetes that they could relate to. So, you're kind of talking in terms of that same category of conditions.
AMY: So, it's really fascinating because they actually call Alzheimer's disease Type 3 diabetes. Sometimes they also call it diabetes of the brain or brain insulin resistance. And those three phrases are all over the medical literature on this disease. I mean the scientific papers are flooded with that phrase: type 3 diabetes, brain insulin resistance. So, if anyone out there listening is affected by this condition themselves or has a family member who’s affected, if that's the first time that you’re hearing that, shame on your neurologist, shame on your doctor, because this isn't new. This has been in the medical literature for decades.
So, right off the bat, when we hear type 3 diabetes, we know right away there’s at least some connection to glucose and insulin. We may not know exactly why, but something is going on with blood glucose and insulin regulation. And Alzheimer’s disease really is a metabolic problem and by metabolic, I mean it has to do with the way the brain gets energy. It's almost as if your brain is tired. Now, think about what happens when you get tired. You get clumsy, you make mistakes you don't normally make. And so what do we think happens to the brain when the brain doesn't have enough energy? The same thing. We start to make mistakes we don't normally make, we get forgetful, our personality changes. But, the thing is, this doesn't happen overnight. Nobody wakes up all of a sudden one day with severe Alzheimer’s. This is something that worsens over the course of years and, for some people, decades. And it's really unfortunate because by the time somebody is showing signs, this disease process has been in place for so long and I think when you're younger, your brain is more robust and it's compensating for this energy deficit. So, as I said, it has to do with the way the brain gets energy. It's almost as if it's a fuel crisis. It's an energy shortage in the brain. And at first your brain is able to compensate. So, even though this problem is occurring, you don't know because your body and your brain are making up for it. But eventually, when it goes uncorrected for a long enough, it reaches a tipping point where you're not able to compensate. That's when you start showing the memory loss and the cognitive problem. But, by the time those are apparent to you and to the people around you, you're already kind of in a severe state because you've already crossed that threshold and I think that may be part of why this disease is so difficult to treat and so difficult to reverse, because by the time you even know there is a problem, it’s already been going on for so long.
DAR: I think one of the things, Amy, you mentioned is the fact that neurologists and people have not been talking about it. I think it's the same thing with type 2 diabetes. I mean doctors talk about it, but to get people to actually change and to realize that it is a problem with what they're eating, they're eating too much sugar and too many processed carbohydrates. It's like how to convince people to cut back on that and have them understand that the next step is it’s going to start affecting their brain. The first is it affects other parts of their body. It's so interesting to get people to realize the importance of this.
LEA: Yes. The long-term effects of their now eating habits.
DAR: So, I can understand why doctors are constantly looking for a medication because that's how people think in our country. They don't think food first. Isn't that interesting?
AMY: Yeah, I mean it's partly how we think, but I think it's also different from something like an infectious agent, some type of bacteria or some sort of virus where we think of food poisoning where you get sick immediately. You have an immediate reaction. But something like type 2 diabetes or Alzheimer’s or metabolic syndrome, these are things that build over time the long term cellular damage. If you ate a donut and immediately got sick, you would have instant feedback from your body, but yet you don’t get sick until 20-30 years down the line. It’s much more difficult to connect your symptoms with the diet that you've been eating all that time.
DAR: Exactly. If you kind of go back now, you kind of talked about the brain not getting fuel, no energy, because there's something called insulin resistance in the brain. Kind of go back, Amy, and explain why the glucose or the sugar is not getting into the brain to feed the brain and give it the energy.
AMY: Right. So, when we said that Alzheimer’s is like a fuel shortage, an energy crisis in the brain, where that really comes from is that under normal circumstances of people eating a regular type diet, glucose is the primary premier fuel for the brain. And the problem in Alzheimer’s, it’s multifactorial. There’s a lot of things going on. But the major, major factor in the Alzheimer’s brain is that neurons in the brain cells in affected areas of the brain have lost the ability to metabolize glucose and that's sort of like where starving for energy comes from. They’ve basically lost the ability to burn any fuel. And the brain is an extremely energy-hungry organ. Even when you're lying on the couch and you feel like you're not thinking and you feel like your brain is turning to mush, your brain actually uses a ton of energy all the time. At any given time, your brain is using about 20 to 25 percent of all the energy in your body. Any disruption in the fuel supply, either in the supply of fuel to the cells, or in their ability to use excess fuel, there's going to be major negative implications on cognition and on brain function and memory and that's exactly what we see in Alzheimer’s disease. And everyone asks, “Well, why is this happening? If that’s the problem that these cells can't use glucose, why?” That’s kind of a million-dollar question. They haven't even really identified why, but one of the reasons could be that the metabolism of glucose, when it's excessive, is damaging. I dislike the word toxic, so I don't use that, but it can be damaging. It causes a lot of damage at the cellular level. And I think, once your brain gets to a point where, for so many years we've been on these very high carb diets with not sleeping enough, not getting enough activity, all the different things that affect how the body uses glucose and insulin, once you get to a point where so much cellular damage has accrued, I think the brain is actually doing itself a favor by preventing itself from using any more of the glucose. It's actually turning off the glucose spigot and saying, “I don't want this glucose anymore. I'm already so sick and so damaged.” So, I think that's why and some of the pathology that we see in Alzheimer’s disease seems to reflect that this may actually be a protective measure and a defensive step. And we're just sort of looking at this disease from the wrong angle.
LEA: It’s drowning in glucose, basically.
DAR: It's kind of interesting, Amy, I think that people don't realize that when they're out there having a big plate of pancakes for breakfast, that actually glucose sugar that they're flooding their body with. And there are so many of those situations, where people are eating excess amounts of glucose or sugar, and they don't even realize it. That's the kind of the sad part of it.
LEA: We often educate about on this show the other hidden sugars and things.
DAR: Yes, or if they're sitting down and they're having a big bowl of cereal, they're still getting a lot of glucose in it. It's so hidden in all of our foods these days that it's kind of shocking when people start realizing that.
LEA: We’ll have to continue this discussion after this break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. During the holidays, we had many clients take our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. As you listen to some of the class members’ comments and the challenges that they made, think about how you did over the holidays. Here are some of the things that they did say to stay on plan during the holidays. Number one, one of the participants said, “I planned and took snacks so I didn't get hungry.”
DAR: And here's one that I thought was kind of interesting. One of the clients said, “I packed and took snacks to the wild game. I didn't order chips and a coke.”
LEA: Right. Another client said, “I kicked my Arby's addiction and it feels so good.”
DAR: Here's another one. “I started cooking real food with my new Instant Pot.”
LEA: That would be a good Christmas gift. Yes. “I went to bed early so I got eight hours of sleep and I didn't have cravings the next day.” We are pleased to say that by focusing and eating not real food, these people managed to feel great and at the same time they were able to lose weight during the holiday season, which is unbelievable. We'll be right back.
DAR: Welcome back to the Dishing Up Nutrition. Some of you may be wondering how are those Nutrition 4 Weight Loss clients able to stay on their healthy eating plan during the holidays. That's a really good question. Well, some of the things that they did is that different class members challenged each other and they were able to stay on plan.
LEA: Accountability is very helpful.
DAR: And being part of a group. So, what was the result of their healthy eating? They had fewer aches and pains. That's great. They had a better memory and they had fewer cravings. They had better moods and they lost some weight. If you want any or all of these results, check out our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss plan. you can call 651-699-3438 and you can ask any question you want or you can go to weightandwellness.com and you can sign up there or you can get more information. And actually, we have a special going on that's called Go Real in 2018 and it's all about eating real food, getting real support, and getting real results, and you get to save 50 dollars off of the plan. And you get 12 classes. Plus, you get two, one-hour individual consultations with nutritionists like Lea on the line right now today. So, it's a great deal. It is a really great deal and you get healthy and you lose weight. And that's the best. So, should we go back to our topic?
LEA: Yes. Before break we were talking about the connection between Alzheimer's disease and an overabundance of glucose. I really like what you had mentioned earlier, Amy, about the new classification of Alzheimer's as Type 3 diabetes. I think that right there paints that picture. So, what we want to get into next is what is going on, what is happening on a cellular level when somebody has established this insulin resistance of the brain?
AMY: It's a great question and we don't know everything. Certainly, there's a lot of unanswered questions. But, what we do know so far is that one of the major risk factors for Alzheimer’s is chronically elevated insulin, what we call chronic hypertensive anemia. Your blood insulin is too high too often. And I want to emphasize that because when we say type 3 diabetes or, in fact, some of the people at the greatest risk for Alzheimer’s are type 2 diabetics who are using insulin. So, when we say type 3 diabetes, people might be thinking, “Well, my grandpa has Alzheimer's, but he's not diabetic.” or “My wife has Alzheimer's, but she doesn't have diabetes.” We're not always talking about the blood glucose, we're talking about the insulin. Because there are millions, without exaggeration, millions of people walking around who have a perfectly normal fasting blood sugar, even a perfectly normal hemoglobin a1C, which I'm sure your audience knows that’s a longer-term average measurement of their blood sugar. Like a three- to four-month measurement. And those could be totally normal. But the reason those things are normal is because sky-high insulin is keeping them in check. And in so many chronic modern conditions, not just Alzheimer’s, but gout, hypertension, PCOS, BPH, all kinds of other problems are actually being driven by chronically high insulin, whether or not your glucose is high. So, that is why this is being missed a lot. This is why I think we could catch Alzheimer’s in much, much younger people if we would start measuring insulin.
LEA: Why aren’t we doing that?
AMY: Well, I just think it's just not recognized how important, how powerful insulin is. Everyone just thinks insulin is a blood sugar hormone. Well, helping to regulate blood sugar is one of many things insulin does. And it's actually one of the least important, when you look at everything else insulin does. So, it's just not known. It's not a standard part of routine blood work the way a fasting blood sugar is.
DAR: I think one of the things, Amy, that after we heard you speak and also after reading your book and seeing how important it is, it's like Lea and I both said this morning before we went on air, we’re asking our clients to have the insulin tests taken. Getting their doctors involved with that right away.
LEA: Right. Because the classic profile you described like clear insulin resistance, the abdominal fat, the conditions that are associated with high insulin, high blood sugars, but they're normal. And it's like, well this doesn't really quite make sense. That seems to me to be the missing link of something that needs to be addressed.
DAR: And I think one of the other things that you said, and I know this was in your book, which was also sort of a surprise to me. After about 40 years of this you think you know everything, but you don't.
LEA: There’s new research coming out all the time, Dar.
DAR: Actually, people that are type 2 diabetics that are on insulin, I have a brother who is right there, and yes, it starts to affect their memory more than if they weren’t on insulin, which is interesting. It's an over overabundance of insulin in the brain.
AMY: Yeah, but the really interesting thing about the insulin is that in Alzheimer’s disease, what seems to happen is in the periphery, which is the part of your body that's not your central nervous system, not your brain. And the central nervous system has too much insulin and the brain itself has too little. For some reason, that insulin is not getting into the brain. And a lot of the brain does not require insulin to use glucose properly, but some of it does. And besides just using the glucose, insulin has other signaling effects in the brain so that if you don't have enough insulin in the brain, this will affect your cognition or your memory. And they saw studies where they actually administer insulin to all kinds of patients via a nasal spray. So, it’s basically getting directly into the brain and central nervous system and they have improved cognition. So, when we get a little bit more insulin into their brain, they improve a bit, and it’s the same thing with type 2 diabetes. The answer isn't to give them more insulin. The answer is to help their body and brain become resensitized to all the information that's already there.
LEA: So, we know this is well established and we know that this is part of the factor. So, how can we fuel these brain cells if they're not using glucose properly. What else can our brain cells use for energy?
AMY: This is such a huge point. I mean this is really the crux of everything. If Alzheimer’s disease is essentially a fuel shortage in the brain, and it's a specific fuel shortage of glucose, the cells have lost the ability to use glucose. Wouldn't it be great if there was some type of alternative fuel, like if the brain were a hybrid car and it could run on some other type of energy, then that would solve some of the problem. I mean, there's still going to be a lot of other things to be addressed, but that's striking right at the heart of the issue. And the beautiful thing, the fascinating thing about this illness, is that even though the struggling, starving neurons have lost that ability to metabolize glucose, they can still use ketones. There's this sort of back door, alternative energy source that can still nourish the cells. Now, somebody of very older age with very severe disease, if they've been declining for a number of years, it's going to be more difficult to get their brain kind of back on track. The older you are and the more severe the disease, the more difficult it's going to be for those brain cells to take up even the ketones, but they will still take them up and use them and, of course, the younger someone is and the less advanced the disease, the better effect it’ll have.
DAR: I want to pose a question before we go on break. Number one, people have never heard of ketones. We need to know what are ketones and how do you make ketones? So how do you turn your brain back on?
LEA: Sounds really great. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We understand memory problems as Alzheimer's disease are a devastating problem. There are few things people fear more than cancer, with the possibility exception of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. We know that food and lifestyle habits can make a difference. Nutrition therapy is so much more than weight loss. Amy Berger’s book, The Alzheimer's Antidote clearly shows us that we need to know what the right foods are to fuel our brain. Give us a call at 6516993438 and set up an appointment with one of our nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness to learn more.
DAR: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have any memory problems I encourage you to pick up Amy Berger’s book The Alzheimer's Antidote. Amy also writes a blog. And you can find that at www.tuitnutrition.com. So, next week, tune in to hear Cassie and Marcie discuss the body signs of common mineral deficiencies. If you like our podcast, please write a review on iTunes so more and more people have the opportunity to receive all this really good valuable information.
LEA: I like what you said there about how if you have any memory problems as we're trying to hit home in this show today is that the importance is prevention. Prevention is worth a thousand cures. So, if we can get people to start to change their diet before their problems set in, trust me I'm hitting those fats very hard to keep my brain healthy. It's important for all of us.
DAR: So, Amy, ketones, what are they?
AMY: Right. So, ketones are molecules that are produced when, either you're on a very low carbohydrate diet or your insulin levels are very low. There's some other ways to produce them too, but that's the main way. When we remove the vast majority of carbohydrate from our diet, the body is forced to transition to run on some other kind of fuel. And the fuel that will transition to run on is fat. And ketones are produced as a byproduct of a fat-based metabolism. And just to clarify really quickly, if anyone out there listening is a type 1 diabetic or has heard about ketoacidosis or ketones being dangerous, that's a different situation than the nutritional ketosis that we're talking about, the safe, beneficial dietary ketosis.
DAR:So, I like to put things in a very practical perspective. Rather than having a bowl of oatmeal or a bowl of Cheerios or one of those cereals in the morning for breakfast, you would probably say have a couple of three eggs, maybe some bacon for the fat, probably cook the eggs in butter, have maybe a little bit of spinach cooked in bacon fat. That's kind of what you're looking at versus the cereal.
AMY: Right. We don't we don't want to jack up that insulin. We don't want to jack up that glucose. So, you want to eat in such a way to keep the carbohydrate low enough that your body continues to run on fat and produces the ketones that are such a great fuel for the brain.
DAR: So, when you talk about the body running on fat, what are you talking about? Are you talking about a teaspoon, a tablespoon, two tablespoons per meal or snack or what are you thinking?
AMY: Good question. There's not really a set exact amount that any one must eat. When I say running on fat, it's not just the fat in our food. It's our own stored body fat, which is why very low carb diets are so great for obesity, because you will just turn to fat as fuel. So, definitely more than two tablespoons if it's throughout the day. Not at one particular meal. It's more a matter of keeping the carbs low than it is gorging on fat. But there's certainly no need to fear fat. Like you said, cook your eggs in bacon fat or coconut oil is even better. Coconut oil has these special fats that are more easily converted into these important ketones. But olive oil, good quality lard, or tallow from pastured animals, I know that might be crazy to some people, but I'm sure some of your audience knows that these traditional healthy fats that humans have eaten for thousands of years are just not the ills that they tried to convince us they are.
LEA: Yes, and you do a really great job in your book of kind of highlighting the specifics of all that of what we should be eating for keeping our blood sugars low, insulin low, promoting ketones. It's a really helpful reference.
DAR: But, it's interesting, Amy, what you just said is olive oil and maybe butter or lard. But you didn't say anything about soybean oil or vegetable oil or canola oil.
AMY: Right. So, those types of facts not the greatest choices. Just biochemically they're not very stable. They can become damaged. And the way that those oils are manufactured is that the sights and aromas, like the signs that would tip you off to the fact that the oils are damaged are actually removed during the manufacturing process. They're bleached, they're deodorized, they’re refined. They’re damaged. But you don't know because the foul odor that would tip you off or the cloudiness that would tip you off are gone. I'm not as militant as some people. I don't think you have to avoid those entirely. Because it is almost impossible unless you make every scrap of your own food from scratch. It's virtually impossible to completely avoid those. I think just keeping them very, very low. And it’s very easy to do when you go on a low carb diet because by default you'll be eliminating a lot of the packaged, processed foods that contain the soybean oil, corn oil, and the cottonseed oil. And just don't buy a jug of vegetable oil to cook with. Cook with the more stable fats. And if every now and then you get a little bit of those oils from some salad dressing or if you go out to dine at a restaurant, it’s really not that bad. You just you don't want to make them the predominant fats in your diet.
DAR:So, Amy as we talk about this when we think about our listeners, is there something that you have found working with clients that they always ask you as far as changing their diet or what they see when they do?
AMY: Well, the interesting thing about the brain, specifically when they do a low carb diet is that the most commonly reported quote unquote side effects is that people have sharper thinking. The brain fog disappears, the cob web gets cleared out of the brain. People feel like they just have sharper thinking, a better ability to focus, better attention. And those are in people who are relatively healthy, so imagine what could happen to somebody who's actually very impaired with their cognition. How much of a difference might they notice? And I don't want to over promise. I want to be clear, this type of research is in its infancy, but based on the mechanisms that work, based on the biochemistry and all of what's going on in this condition, I really believe that this stands the greatest chance of being a nutritional intervention when there are otherwise no effective strategies for this. And we talked about medication earlier and I forgot to mention that not only are most of the medications that are currently marketed ineffective. There was actually at least one, maybe more, but at least one that didn't come to market at all because when they were doing the clinical trials, the people on the medication were doing so much worse than the people on the placebo. So, this condition is really difficult to treat. And so, certainly a low carb diet, a ketogenic diet, it's not a magic bullet. This isn't going to change overnight. But, this is absolutely worth trying.
LEA: And if somebody was to give us a try that has some sort of degeneration, memory loss, or Alzheimer's, how long should somebody try to give this a go before they say yes or no for them if this is the diet that would work for them.
AMY: That's a very good question and I think it varies. It's probably going to vary, again depending on how old somebody is and how severe the disease is, how advanced it is. The younger somebody is and the less severe, the quicker they're going to notice a difference. And I think it's not going to happen overnight. You do have to be in it for the long haul. So, some people may notice a difference within weeks, but some people, it could take three months, four months. But certainly, I think you would start seeing little pinpricks of improvement, maybe enough of a change for you to think that there is some type of effect going on.
DAR: And by trying it they have absolutely nothing to lose. It's all real food and it’s healthy.
AMY: You have nothing to lose. And it's not just diet. We don't really get into everything else. But in my book, I do talk about the other lifestyle factors. If you change the diet and nothing's really happening, there's a lot of medications that our seniors are on that have an effect on the brain that you may want to explore, whether those medications are appropriate or not. And getting good sleep, there's other things that work. So, the diet alone may not be completely effective for everybody, but it is the most important and most powerful place to start.
DAR: Amy, thanks so much for being on the show for us.
AMY: Thanks for having me. It was great to talk to you.
DAR: It's a great book. It's The Alzheimer's Antidote by Amy Berger. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through real food. Yes. it's simple but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing.