Sucrose, Fructose and Dementia: Evidence of a Connection

| |

by Nils Osmar. December 22, 2022 Medical Disclaimer

Most people eat high carbohydrate diets, which include a large amount of sucrose, fruit and fruit juice, grains, rice, and bread products. The sugars are sometimes hidden with other labels in processed foods.

Recent evidence which I’ve cited below suggests that the carbohydrates in these diets may be related to the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This raises the possibility that avoiding sugar, or greatly lowering our intake of it, may be a way of protecting our brains and either postponing or preventing dementia.

Fruit juice, often touted as a “healthy” beverage, is loaded with fructose, and studies suggest that it can be as damaging as high fructose corn syrup to brain health.

Fructose studies

In a study called “Increased Fructose Intake as a Risk Factor For Dementia”, the authors wrote:

 Results from animal studies show that diets with higher fructose content result in rapid insulin resistance, compensatory hyperinsulinaemia and memory impairment.

Rats exposed to a diet with high-fat/refined carbohydrate diets (40% of kilocalories from fat and 40% of kilocalories from sucrose) are found to have poorer memory and impairment in the signaling pathways (p-CREB) involved in neuronal plasticity in the hippocampal areas, when compared with rats on a low-fat/complex carbohydrate diet.

A high-fat/refined carbohydrate diet even for a short duration (ie, 2 months) was also found to be associated with reduced hippocampal levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and impaired spatial learning…

Sugar and Alzheimer’s

From a Science Alert article called We Just Got More Evidence For The Strange Link Between Sugar And Alzheimer’s:

While researchers continue to explore what those mechanisms could be, it’s becoming clearer that none of us, diabetic or otherwise, should assume diets high in sugar are necessarily harmless to both body and mind.

According to an Atlantic article called “The Startling Link between Sugar and Alzheimer’s”:

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline….

The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.”

So what to do?

If you want to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s, and protect your loved ones from having to spend a large chunk of their lives caring for someone with dementia, the evidence suggests that it might be helpful to minimize your consumption of sugars of all kinds, and/or find other ways to lower your blood glucose. For example:

  • Stop cooking with table sugar (sucrose)
  • Stop eating products made with table sugar
  • Stop drinking fruit juice
  • Minimize your consumption of fruit 
  • Switch to eating low-sugar, high fiber berries such as blackberries and wild blueberries which are low in sugar and high in anthocyanins.
  • Simply drinking more water has also been found to lower blood sugar levels (see below).

Foods and supplements that lower blood glucose

Some people might also want to consider taking meds and supplements that lower blood glucose. Supplements that have been found to lower blood glucose, perhaps more than the medication metformin, include berberine, Ceylon cinnamon, milk thistle, and the sweetener allulose.

But making simple dietary changes may also help (and may turn out to be as important as, or even more important than, taking supplements). One habit that lowers blood glucose, if you do it consistently, is to make sure you’re staying hydrated — by drinking more water, not fruit juice! See my article on this website “Is Your Blood Sugar High? Try Drinking More Water.”

Drinks such as celery juice and green vegetables juices which are low in carbs (and don’t contain any fruit) are another good choice.

Another beverage (besides water) that appears to be beneficial, according to some studies, is aloe vera. One of my favorite juices is Lakewood Organic Inner Leaf Pure Aloe Vera Gel. (I order it by the case on Amazon.)

Aloe vera and blood sugar

From an article called “Supplements That Lower Blood Sugar“:

Interest in aloe vera as a treatment for blood sugar… has long been on researchers’ radar, with a study back in 1996 looking at the effectiveness of aloe vera juice. The authors examined the impact of taking one tablespoon of the juice twice a day for at least two weeks in people with diabetes. They found that triglyceride levels in the treated group fell…

A 2016 review of eight clinical trials found that oral aloe vera improved glycemic control in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. However, there still is a lack of high-quality, randomized, controlled trials to support the beneficial effects of this supplement. Similarly, another review pointed to aloe vera being particularly helpful at lowering blood sugar levels for individuals with prediabetes.

What I’m doing

  • I avoid fruit juice.
  • I do eat some fruit, including apples, satsumas and grapefruit, but I keep my consumption low, i.e., one or two servings a day.
  • I avoid grains for the most part. (I do eat a little rice, but refrigerate it overnight first to turn it into a resistant starch.)
  • I drink lots of water, coffee and tea (unsweetened or sweetened with allulose)
  • I drink Suja organic celery juice and Suja Uber Greens, both of which are fruit-free.
  • I buy inner leaf aloe vera gel by the case and drink it regularly
  • I cook with Micro Ingredients Organic Ceylon Cinnamon powder
  • I take berberine along with milk thistle, which improves its absorption.
  • When I take supplements such as niacin which are known to raise blood sugar, I take some chromium or berberine along with it.

Learn more:

Post image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *