High Protein Diet Linked to Dementia Risk

HealthStories

proteinHow much can you bench? Well, if you’re sticking with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, your biceps might be bigger than your brain. A new study suggests that a high-protein diet can shrink the brain and put you at greater risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
__ An international research team studied the impact of four different types of diets on mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s. The mice were fed either high-protein/low-carb–, high-carb/low-fat–, high-fat/low-carb– or balanced diets. The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Neurodegeneration, found that mice on a high-protein menu similar to the popular Atkin’s Diet had a brain weight 5% lower than their carb-eating counterparts.
__ The study also found that the diet affected the hippocampal region of the brain, which is responsible for long-term memory and an area largely affected by Alzheimer’s.
__ This is not the first study to connect diet with the risk for dementia. A February article in Archives of Neurology found that subjects who ate a Mediterranean-style diet, which includes a variety of fish, legumes and vegetables, were less likely to develop dementia. The Mediterranean diet is traditionally heavy on monosaturated fats, such as olive oil, and light on meat, dairy and saturated fat. The Mediterranean diet has lots of omega-3 fatty acids—that trendy health-tip-of-the-minute that’s added to everything from fruit juice to granola bars. Research suggests that omega-3s support brain and heart health—one reason the Mediterranean diet could help prevent dementia.
__ The findings contend that a long-term restrictive diet may keep you buff, but could harm your overall health. You might want to consider skipping that protein shake and eating a side of wheat toast with your bacon and eggs. bw

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