Five years ago, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, written by Dr. David Perlmutter, was published, shedding light on the dangers of sugar, carbs, and gluten in terms of brain health, functionality, and disease immunity. The findings were both welcomed and challenged. Many readers struggled with the concept that eating more fat could benefit brain health, weight loss, and blood sugar regulation.
After the book was published, Grain Brain’s recipe for improved health seemed to gain traction as readers reported improved effects upon skin disorders, headaches, and weight loss. Now, the original findings seem to have become widely accepted. These include the following:
Gluten can even affect those who don’t suffer from celiac disease. The concept of non-celiac gluten sensitivity has been recently backed by the American Medical Association.
Sugar and high-glycemic index foods have a significant impact on a person’s health. A 2018 report in The Lancet that surveyed 18 countries on 5 continents found that the risk of death due to high carb consumption increased by 28% yet decreased by 23% among people who consumed higher amounts of fat. Another report in Diabetalogia revealed a link between A1c, a marker of average blood sugar, and dementia.
Perlmutter says that dementia, aka Alzheimer's, is a preventable disease, and although there is no treatment at the moment, there are ways to avoid its onset by making conscious food choices. The MD, who believes Alzheimer’s is America’s fastest growing epidemic, refers to the disease as type 3 diabetes given its link to diet and lifestyle considerations like the absence of exercise and sugar consumption.
On CBS This Morning this week, Perlmutter said he believed that the choices we make when we’re younger will affect our brain function as we get older. He also believes the effects are irreversible. He added that it was important to increase our aerobic exercise, as well as eating foods like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Grain Brain has been recently revised and includes additional support for the original findings, contending that reduced sugar intake and higher fat consumption are the paths to enhanced health, disease prevention, and a functional and disease-resistant brain.