The latest news: Eating junk food could lead to Alzheimer’s.
A recent New York Times article by Mark Bittman (author of the popular book, Food Matters) warns us about the dangers of a donut and fries diet. While I doubt that anyone would advocate a junk food-based diet, new research indicates there may be a connection between Alzheimer’s and Type 3 diabetes, the latter of which is heavily influenced by a poor diet.
A quick review per Bittman’s piece: Type 1 diabetes is the kind you’re born with; Type 2 diabetes is acquired — and used to be called “adult onset” until kids started acquiring it — the result of what Bittman says is “a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.”
So how does Type 3 diabetes connect to Alzheimer’s? Bittman offers this cause-and-effect explanation:
“Diabetes causes complications too numerous to mention, but they include heart disease, which remains our No. 1 killer. And when the cells in your brain become insulin-resistant, you start to lose memory and become disoriented. You even might lose aspects of your personality. In short, it appears, you develop Alzheimer’s.”
I’m not a doctor or scientist, but this theory definitely makes sense.
He also makes it clear that diabetes doesn’t cause Alzheimer’s but they share a common root (i.e. over consumption of foods that are high in sugar or nitrates and interfere with insulin production).
Will this connection provide the wake-up call that much of our country needs when it comes to eating right and taking better care of our bodies? It’s hard to say. What I do know is this: no matter how you acquire Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s a terrible disease with far-reaching impact and astronomical costs, both financial and personal. If dropping the bag of chips or kicking the McDonald’s habit would help us avoid it, we should definitely do it — for our sake and for the sake of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.