Dementia and Sugar Cravings
August 22 2020
Dementia and Sugar Cravings: How Sweet Treats May Be Destroying Your Brain
Many people have heard of different types of diets, with each one making a more outlandish claim than the last. Perhaps you have read of some of these in the aisles of convenience markets or grocery stores, with glamorous models on the front and large text proclaiming tremendous differences in weeks. Sadly, this is not the case.
However, a recent Harvard study has found that reducing the sugar in your diet can directly lead to reducing your blood sugar levels, which lowers your chance of developing dementia. Obviously, your age and the genetics you have been born with are uncontrollable factors, but what are some things that you can change? Continue reading to find out how to make yourself less susceptible to developing dementia, and if sugar can make dementia more likely or worse.
Does Sugar Make Dementia Worse?
A study that was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that even without having the pre-existing condition of diabetes, sugar and dementia are still directly correlated and that a blood sugar level above normal (numbers vary, due to your unique activity level and weight, among other things) can contribute to an elevated risk of contracting dementia.
Sugar and Alzheimer’s can go hand-in-hand. Thus, not having diabetes does not protect you from developing dementia easier when enjoying an increased intake of sugar. Therefore, it is extremely important to monitor the amount of sugar you are eating daily, especially for readers who have had a history in their genetic family of dementia, or have struggled with eating/health problems related to sugar in the past, including sugar cravings, which can lead to elevated blood pressure and an abnormal blood sugar level.
How can I reduce the amount of sugar I consume daily with dementia?
Reducing sugar intake is a relatively straightforward thing, but it is more difficult than often expected. There is sugar in nearly everything we consume, from our morning coffee to our toothpaste. Consequently, staying mindful of what you are eating and drinking throughout the day, every day, is the key way to minimize the amount of sugar you are consuming.
An easy way to avoid large quantities of sugar is to read the labels on food and drink you purchase. For example, if you enjoy coffee in the morning (as 64% of Americans do), read the Daily Value and Nutrition Info labels on the products you purchase to make that coffee. Perhaps there are low-sugar, or “Diet” alternatives to your favorite foods and beverages. This will also help combat sugar cravings, which are big factors in dementia, and so you will be feeling better every day, but also defending your body from things it does not need.
Another way to limit the sugar you consume every day is to switch out what you eat for dessert every night. Obviously, some nights it will be impossible to not enjoy pie, or cakes, or ice cream, etc., but there are many times when fruit could be an alternate option for deserts. For example, perhaps on the weekends, you treat yourself to sugary delights like pies, while on weekdays, fruits are the go-to dessert.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
While above you learned about how non-diabetics are also susceptible to contracting dementia, there are certain other problems that those with diabetes must grapple with if they wish to protect themselves from dementia. However, you are not alone. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control),over 100 million Americans now suffer from a form of diabetes. This means that there are many supports available to you, such as monetary assistance or tools online to find the help you need.
Insulin resistance is one of the major ailments that affect diabetics in America, and over half the population is believed to be insulin resistant in 2020. Insulin resistance is also one of the major high blood sugar causes. When your blood sugar levels are abnormal to your unique numbers, there is more sugar in your bloodstream.
This means that, when the hormone insulin attempts to pull sugar from your bloodstream and into your muscles to give you energy, it is pulling more sugar than is required from your blood and attempting to store it in your cells. As they are programmed to do, your cells will protect themselves from this and become insulin resistant. Insulin is created by your pancreas, which will respond to the ineffectiveness of the insulin by creating and releasing into your body MORE insulin, which only makes the problem worse, and causes your body to further reject insulin.
You might wonder why do dementia patients still eat sugar. This is because their body is trapped in a dangerous cycle. As more insulin is released into your body, your cells will attempt to fight it by resisting the insulin more and more. And as you continue to consume foods with high sugar and carbohydrate counts, you are only abetting the cycle.
This causes an increasingly high blood sugar and thus makes you more vulnerable to dementia. This is one way that sugar and Alzheimer’s are linked and makes it more likely that you or a loved one can develop it. Insulin resistance is a serious issue, but it can be treated and prevented. If you suspect yourself or a family member of being on the path to insulin resistance, contact your doctor and arrange for a medical appointment to ensure that you are keeping yourself and your family members safe.
Can Glucose “Drown” the Brain?
Glucose is what sugar becomes once it has been digested by your body, and it is your body’s primary source of energy. Your brain also requires a certain level of glucose to continue functioning, as all organs in your body do. However, contrary to all other cells in your body, the cells in your brain have evolved to not require insulin to absorb and transform sugar. The brain cells take the sugar directly from your bloodstream and transport it to your brain. Although, this creates a problem.
Now that there is sugar in the brain, insulin must be used to rework this sugar into energy your brain can use to think, operate, and monitor highly important bodily functions such as breathing and blinking. If you have been living the lifestyle described above, which causes insulin resistance, then your brain will constantly have a high level of insulin in it, and a high level of sugar. The abnormally large concentration of insulin in your brain is attempting to stop your brain from using sugar and is working to transform it into energy.
Due to sugar cravings and other unhealthy eating habits, your brain is practically surrounded by sugar but is unable to utilize this as it cannot convert this sugar into energy (glucose). If the cells in your brain cannot get the energy they need from the glucose, they will die out, which leads to brain damage and, consequently, dementia. Sadly, your brain and the cells that make it up are surrounded by sugar, but they just cannot get the energy they need due to the insulin resistance that has been developed over the years. This is the unfortunate link between Alzheimer’s and sugar cravings.
How Can I Prevent Insulin Resistance in Dementia?
Insulin resistance, although it may sound (and it is) scary, can actually be easily prevented. Both daily physical activity and changing up your eating habits drastically reverse the effects of insulin resistance, which will help your body revert to a natural state and lower your blood sugar levels to the appropriate amount. A recent National Institutes of Health-funded research project, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), revealed that for people who are at an elevated risk of contracting diabetes, losing just 5 to 7 percent of their initial starting weight leads to a reduced chance of developing the disease at all.
Thus, by taking small steps such as walking a couple of miles every day, or by reducing the amount of sugary food and beverages you consume, you are able to help reduce the chance of developing dementia and diabetes, all while feeling healthier, more confident, and more comfortable in your own skin. The first step to combating sugar-induced dementia must be to evaluate your lifestyle and find where you can afford to reduce sugar intake and start battling sugar cravings to reduce your chances of dementia.
6 Tips To Reduce Sugar Cravings and Consumption
Reducing sugar intake and controlling the cravings sounds like a herculean task. These tips might help you control your sugar cravings and limit your consumption. It will be daunting at first, but with time and persistence, it gets easier. Remind yourself that even good behaviors need some time for your body to adapt. So, how to reduce sugar intake gradually?
Use Artificial Sweeteners
1 Reducing calories by substituting sugar with low- or no-calorie sweeteners has been shown to be beneficial; however, the long-term health effects of using these artificial sweeteners are often debated.
Despite the lower caloric intake, some have speculated that dieters may experience weight gain as a side consequence. Artificial sweeteners may foster eating habits that boost desires for sweets as well as food in general. So use it carefully.
Get Enough Sleep
2 Having a regular sleep schedule is essential for optimal health. It will not only help you curb your sugar cravings but will also keep you going throughout the day.
Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and remove any distractions from your bedroom. Consider relocating your TV to another room and keeping your phone charged in a different location.
Don’t Skimp Out on Good Food
3 To make sure you’re receiving enough micronutrients, keep a meal diary or see a trained nutritionist. Consider checking your vitamin and mineral intake to see if you have a magnesium shortage that might be causing your food cravings.
Consumption of sugar increases your desire for it. Consider the sugar content of the foods you purchase. Eggs, plain Greek yogurt, or unsweetened oatmeal are all good sources of protein and fiber for breakfast.
If you’re consuming a lot of sugary beverages—like soda, sports drinks, and sugary coffee drinks—try to cut down gradually. You may satisfy your sweet need by munching on some fresh fruit first. Mint tea or sugar-free gum may also be helpful in reducing the need to snack.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
4 When you reduce sugar intake, you may experience an increase in your desire for sweets at first. Keep a supply of healthy, easy-to-eat fruit (such as fresh or frozen berries, bananas, sliced melons, or citrus fruits) on hand for a quick burst of sweetness.
Consume Carbohydrates in Moderation
5 According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, we should get 45 to 65 percent of our calories from carbs each day. At 2,000 calories per day, you should eat at least 1,300 grams of carbs, or 900–1,300 calories, each day in order to achieve the recommendation.
Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy, should make up the majority of your carbohydrate intake. As an alternative to meals rich in added sugar, try sweeter vegetables and grains like oats, maize, or sweet potatoes.
Have a Support System
6 It would be difficult to curb your sugar cravings if you are continuously surrounded by sweets. When it’s time for a change at work, home, or school, don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance if you need it.
Prepared to Start Living Healthier?
If you are ready to begin becoming a healthier person, be sure to have the right professionals by your side. All-American Home Care is prepared to offer assistance with all matters concerning this serious topic. With over 5 years of experience and a participant in the New York State’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), we are a professional company and continuously aspire towards achieving our goal of educating all Americans on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and eating wisely.
All-American Home Care is the premier choice for inexperienced Americans looking for ways to defend themselves and their families against the perils of dementia and work towards staying as healthy as they possibly can.
Founded in 2015 by a terrific duo experienced in-home care aide and budgeting, All-American Home Care has always strived to aid all Americans with the burdens poor health education can bring, especially to those who are not in good health, due to poor education and failings by the government. We are a reliable source of information throughout all stages of your journey to living a healthy lifestyle.
Contact us today if you are prepared to start working towards living your life with zero health worries once again.