Last week it was dental plaque, now it is blood glucose. It seems we are in the midst of an all-out boomer dementia panic. WebMD has the latest:
“Elevated blood sugar levels, even among people who don’t have diabetes, are associated with an increased risk for dementia, a new study shows.
“The effect was very subtle, however, suggesting that higher blood sugar levels may be more of a nudge toward memory loss than a shove.”If I had diabetes and I read this study, my reaction would be relief,” said Dr. Richard O’Brien, chair of neurology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, who was not involved in the research. “The effect was small.”
“The risk increases tied to rising blood sugar (or blood glucose) levels ranged from 10 percent to 40 percent. O’Brien pointed out that other risks appear to have much greater impacts. Having a parent with dementia, for example, roughly doubles or triples a person’s risk for developing the disease. O’Brien recently conducted a different study that looked at a similar, but slightly different question: whether or not blood glucose levels were linked to brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease. That study, published online July 29 in JAMA Neurology, concluded there was no connection. But O’Brien’s study had fewer participants than the current investigation, which means it may not have been large enough to detect the slight differences between people who did and did not have signs of Alzheimer’s. And because his study was solely focused on Alzheimer’s disease, it couldn’t rule out the possibility that higher blood sugar levels might be contributing to other kinds of dementia, particularly when it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the brain. Continue reading “Blood sugar and dementia”
Addicted to sugar? Sure, people joke about it all the time.
But then again, what is addiction?
A story on NPR today takes the topic seriously, as excerpted here: “Fresh research adds weight to the notion that certain foods (think empty carbs like bagels and sweet treats) can lead to more intense hunger and overeating. Fast-digesting carbohydrates can stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Prior studies have shown that highly desirable foods, perhaps a cheesecake or pie, can trigger pleasure centers in the brain. But what’s new about this research is that it shows that even when people are unaware of what they’re eating, the intake of fast-digesting carbs can activate parts of the brain associated with pleasure, reward and addiction.To evaluate this, Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity prevention center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and his colleagues conducted brain scans in 12 overweight men after they consumed two different kinds of test milkshakes.Both milkshakes had the same number of calories and similar ingredients, but one contained more fast-digesting carbs and the other was made of slower-digesting carbohydrates. The concept here is that so-called high-glycemic index foods such as sugar and highly processed breads move through the body faster than low-glycemic index foods such as fruit and whole grains. Continue reading “And now, carb addiction”
The 21st century cupcake is a thing of wonder: a modest base of sponge groaning under an indulgently thick layer of frosted sugar or buttercream.
Now Salon.com asserts that “It’s made to look like a miniature children’s birthday cake – and, indeed, birthdays are the perfect excuse to scurry down to the local boutique bakery for a big box of them. The retro charm of cupcakes helps suppress any anxieties you might have about sugar and fat. Your mother made them! Or so the advertising suggests. Perhaps your own mother didn’t actually bake cupcakes, but the cutesy pastel-colored icing implies that one bite will take you back to your childhood. This can’t possibly be junk food, can it?
“Now let’s consider another ubiquitous presence in modern life: The iPhone, which started out as a self-conscious statement of coolness but which, thanks to Apple’s marketing genius, has now become as commonplace as a set of car keys. Millions of people own iPhones, making use of hundreds of thousands of apps, whose functions range from GPS-assisted mapping to compulsively time-wasting computer games. Your iPhone does everything you could require of a mobile phone and more, so you really don’t need the upgraded model that Apple has just released … do you? Continue reading “A nation of addicts”
Among the least likely viral megahits on YouTube is a 90-minute lecture by the food scold and pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”
“Public reception of Lustig’s new book, Fat Chance, will likely be just as divided,” reports todays Salon.com. “The book repeats and expands on the main point of contention in the sugar wars: whether our bodies treat all calories the same. The old guard says yes: A calorie is a calorie; steak or soda, doesn’t matter. Eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Continue reading “Sugar is the new tobacco”