Sometimes it seems that every health crisis we face stems from our diets.
Problems once attributed primarily to genetics, or random chance, are showing increasingly strong correlations to the diets we follow. We’ve known for some time that diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers are strongly correlated with certain dietary practices (primarily refined carbohydrate and meat consumption), but now we’re finding more and more evidence that this reaches previously unconnected physical maladies ranging from dental cavities to hemorrhoids to male pattern baldness.
And now we’re seeing a new slew of studies connecting Alzheimer’s disease to diet. Doctors are finding a strong correlation between diabetes, or pre-diabetes (marked by insulin resistance) and Alzheimer’s, and that certain diabetes medications may actually help with Alzheimer’s as well.
At this point, this should come as little surprise. It’s becoming increasingly clear that our bodies struggle wildly to adapt to the modern American diet. And, though Alzheimer’s is thought to be a disease of the mind, there are real physical manifestations and causes in the brain.
I won’t go into the precise biological mechanics here of the possible connection between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s, in part because we’re far from fully understanding it. (As with nearly every other physical ailment, we still aren’t 100% certain what causes Alzheimer’s or what wide variety of factors may come into play.) You can find some information here.
But I wanted to spread the word about this connection because people still remain skeptical that our modern diets are doing great harm to our bodies. In particular I worry about people who seem to be able to eat whatever they want without gaining weight, and so assume that they’re eating healthfully since they don’t see any obvious manifestations of what their diets are doing to their bodies. Weight gain may go hand in hand with many of our modern diseases, but it certainly doesn’t go hand in hand with all of them. Even if your body stays skinny, you need to watch your diet. Alzheimer’s doesn’t care what your waistline looks like, but it does care what you’re putting into your body.