Sugar Craving and Dementia

I had just finished speaking to an audience about how our diet promotes many diseases, including dementia. I had stayed at the speaker’s podium after most of the listeners had left when a dear friend, who had been waiting patiently until everyone left, told me about something she wanted to keep secret. To preserve her privacy, I will call her ‘Jane’.

She told me she was so addicted to sugar that she had joined a group formed to treat people with sugar addiction. And she had been attending meeting of this group for years.  And she had been hiding her addiction from her friends for these years.

This news did not shock me as many people share her addiction; it’s why sugar is so hard to take out of the diet. I share her addiction to sugar: It was only my obvious obesity that forced me so many years ago to completely eliminate it from my diet. (helping me to lose 100 pounds – I often marvel that there are many slim people who weigh about a hundred pounds – I have lost a slim person worth of fat by avoiding sugar!!!).

I still, at times, open the refrigerator and look in and I know what I am searching for. Sugar!! I look, even though I know there is no sugar there because I have already eliminated all sugar-sweetened foods and beverages from my home. I think my sugar craving is a sign of addiction.

The sugar I am avoiding is fructose or fruit sugar, naturally present in many natural foods in small amounts that we easily tolerate. Glucose, a sugar better tolerated by the body, gives little sweetness to foods or beverages and is not our concern. Our concern arises because farmers have bred large amounts of fructose into many fruits and food manufacturers have purified it and added it to treats because of fructose’s ability to sweeten these fruits and treats. We react to this higher concentration of fructose because most of us have genes that poorly tolerate this increased concentration (See Retaining the Mind). This poor tolerance gives fructose, in table sugar, honey and other sweets, the power to hurt us badly. In excess, it acts like a poison and promotes common illnesses such as obesity, stroke, myocardial infarction and dementia.

Now, back to my discussion with Jane: I regretted that she kept her addiction secret. Many people, including me, suffer this addiction. Her experience could have helped  us sugar-addicted take the brave step she took to control this unhealthy sugar addiction. Maybe her story will help you face your addiction.

You should find value in one other aspect of my discussion with Jane. I will tell you about it in my next blog, ‘Brain Fog and Dementia’.

Ordinary people are beating Alzheimers

The incidence of Alzheimers disease and other dementias may be subsiding. This decrease is a shock: Why is the incidence of dementia falling? I believe it is because the average American is smart.

I believe average  Americans  appreciates that MSG and refined sugar  cause dementia and they are avoid them, delaying or preventing dementia. An article by Kenneth M. Langa, MD described a welcome trend. Funded by the National Institute On Aging (NIH), and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, November 2016, titled “Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012”.  Dr. Langa’s study found that the number of Americans suffering dementia decreased dramatically between 2000 and 2012.

Another suggestion that ordinary people are successfully fighting dementia: In the St.Paul Dispatch, September 2017,  David Pitt noted “An odd trend in wheat country: not enough wheat.” He notes that consumers want more healthy high-protein foods. The protein of wheat has much glutamic acid, the amino acid that makes MSG. Consumers are choosing a lower MSG food and avoiding wheat. This must help dementia decline. It will decline further as doctors learn more about nutrition. They should.  Much food research shows that a good diet helps prevent and treat many diseases. With more knowledge about good nutrition, and more pursuit of a good diet, dementia will fade.

I respect my patients; they taught me much. I believe that their thirst for knowledge and commitment to healthy living is the reason for the fading of dementia. High time this dread disease is placed in the trash bin.