(NaturalNews) The fear of losing the ability to think, remember and reason strikes fear in the minds of millions of aging adults around the world. Cognitive impairment leads to a decline in quality of life and is often the first sign of the most insidious form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have been slowly uncovering many of the mysteries of cognitive decline in an attempt to find a way to prevent or even treat this condition before it takes control of the mind and can advance to wreak havoc in the life of the individual, caregivers and family members.
A number of recent studies have demonstrated that lifestyle factors can have a strong influence in the development and progression of cognitive decline. Diet, chemicals used around the house and in cosmetics as well as environmental pollutants have been implicated in promoting cognitive dysfunction as they alter brain chemistry and electrical signaling in the brain.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic, publishing the result of a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease explain how people 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger is also present with a diet heavy in sugar. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates disrupt brain chemistry and spike risk of cognitive decline
This study reinforces the evidence accumulated to date that demonstrates the importance of eliminating processed and refined sugars and carbohydrates to achieve optimal health. Lead study author, Dr. Rosebud Roberts commented "We think it's important that you eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, because each of these nutrients has an important role in the body."
To conduct the study, researchers accumulated data on 940 people aged 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year, and demonstrated no signs of cognitive impairment. After four years of follow-up evaluations, 200 participants were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.
Participants with the highest reported intake of carbohydrates were 1.9 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment as compared to those with the lowest consumption. Similarly, individuals with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times as likely to have cognitive decline compared to the lowest consumption group. Group participants with the highest fat intake were 42 percent less likely to face cognitive impairment, and those who had the highest intake of protein had a reduced risk of 21 percent.
When total fat and protein intake were factored, those with the highest carbohydrate intake were 3.6 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment. Dr. Roberts concluded "A high carbohydrate intake could be bad for you because carbohydrates impact your glucose and insulin metabolism... sugar fuels the brain -- so moderate intake is good. However, high levels of sugar may actually prevent the brain from using the sugar -- similar to what we see with type 2 diabetes." The results of this and many prior studies confirm that drastically limiting or eliminating refined carbohydrates and sugars significantly lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
About the author: John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.